The Six Million Dollar Man (TV Movie 1973) Poster

(1973 TV Movie)

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Even at the beginning, he was the man (sha-la-la-la-la-laaaa).
Victor Field26 May 2003
The TV movie that led to "The Six Million Dollar Man" becoming one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, and being fondly remembered by many who were the right age at the time (not least me - I still remember playing with my Steve Austin doll), is strikingly different from what would come. Admittedly the series was hardly a laugh riot, but the source was even straighter, with nothing to indicate that Col. Austin would eventually acquire a bionic girlfriend (and dog) and meet the likes of Bigfoot, a double, and alien killer machines. (We won't mention that "Sweet Jaime" song.)

Not only does Henri Simoun's teleplay furnish our hero with some actual doubt over how much of a human being he is now, but the relationship between him and his superior officer is less chummy - no benevolent Oscar Goldman of the OSI here, instead the OSO's colder Spencer (Darren McGavin, easily taking the acting honours). Plus, when Steve is eventually sent into the field, it's surprisingly straightforward - the movie emphasises drama over derring-do (note the lack of DANANANANANANA sound effects). This isn't always for the best; the actual crash isn't as effective as it could have been, and 30 years on some elements have dated somewhat - who'd be so casual about a nuclear-powered motor today? - but if ultimately it's not as much fun as the series, it's also a bit more thoughtful.

Footnotes: This movie was edited into two parts and shown on the series as "The Moon And The Desert." More importantly, no one here calls him "a man barely alive," let alone says "We can rebuild him" or "We have the technology."
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Cyborg... The Story of Steve Austin
urick28 January 2003
This is the first pilot of a five seasons series. The overall production values are satisfying enough to make the audience believe of that technological advancement miracle possible. This film is dry, raw, authentic, realistic, semi-documentary, existential and even depressing compared to the optimistic patriotic series thanks to the three actors' performance: Lee Majors, Martin Balsam and Darren McGavin. From the start, the character of Austin is defined: a rebel, a maverick, a dreamer, an individualistic test pilot who is a devotee of his past journey on the moon and doesn't follow the rules by the book -- he is late at his official appointment and replies sarcastically to a commanding officer -- Wells comments his attitude in this term: "Steve, you have a positive genius for antagonizing the wrong people". His best friend is, of course, Dr. Rudy Wells, a humanist, an innovator scientist-surgeon whose main concern is Austin's will to cope with his disability -- the name Wells may be a reference to utopist sci-fi writer H.G. Wells. The first waking up of Austin in Colorado's Research Center as an one-eyed, one-armed legless man, who tries to commit suicide during the night, is shocking, morbid and nightmarish -- it reminds me the bleakness of Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got his Gun". Austin is a self-conscious pragmatic man who wants to know the prize of his recovery: ruthless vulture ("I am not concerned by feelings"), cynical ("Accidents happen all the time. We just start from scrap"), mean ("Actually, we would prefer a robot -- 'robot' means a slave-worker in Czech --. A robot has no emotional need and responses. You're the optimun compromised"), crippled -- notice that he is also slightly disabled and walks with a stick -- O.S.O. head (scientifical department chief of the C.I.A.) Oliver Spencer sends him to his own death in the desert of Arabia on a suicidal mission where he receives another near fatal treatment. Spencer even asks Wells if he can let Austin in an indefinite artificial sleep until he needs him again. Austin refuses to be manipulated like a guinea pig, a "raw material" and reacts harshly: he slaps Spencer, turns down the hand of female Official Mrs. McKay and tells Spencer a curse before his forced electro sleep. The music of Gil Mellé is outstanding by creating the mood of technology, war and the character's psyche -- Austin is horrified by the view of his future artificial limbs, calls his friend Wells "Dr. Frankenstein, I presume?" after the bionic operation, he is uncomfortable with the ambiguity of the nurse's love impulse and feels monstrous owing to the woman's frightened behavior ("What are you?") after the rescue of her jeopardized son. The blend of experimental, distorted, atonal electronic style and a 1970's jazz helps the pace. Everything you want to know about Steve Austin lies in this rough pilot. Many episodes of the following series uses footages from that one and especially designer Jack Cole's main title. This is the work of Richard Irving who manages to produce and direct a clever adaptation of Martin Caidin's book. The film has an anti-government slant of that era via the Austin and Wells characters -- Austin's feeling about Spencer ("You're more of a robot than I am now") and Wells figure it out about Spencer's working plan for Austin in the Service: "Espionage, sabotage, assassination!" -- and, above all, the moral dilemma that is asked by the author of such advancement in the hands of the Power. There are subsequent themes tackled throughout the leading character: the loneliness and desperation, the inability to communicate, the fear of being abnormal and an outcast forever.
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A damn fine film adaptation!
ZMBKLR15 April 2002
A very well done adaptation of Caidin's fine book, it has some interesting differences from the later show. Oscar Goldman, as played by Darrin McGavin is way more heartless and is intent on getting the governments worth out of Steve. Steve is much more mentally distressed and early on, suicidal after being maimed. It played more for adults, with an espionage theme (as did the second 90 minutes installment, Wine Women and War, with perenial bad guy Eric Braeden). It's very close to the book, but eliminates the female Israeli assigned to help Steve. It's very watchable even today and I wouldn't be surprised to see a big budget version get made.
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mikex523 April 2002
This was truly a great series to watch growing up. Who wouldn't want super strength and super speed? I remember in the movie or maybe it was one of the early shows where there was a guy in a rural area (farm maybe?) who looks out over a flat field and sees a man tearing up the road. In the early days, Steve ran pretty fast, as opposed to the slow motion used later.

The movie was set up very well. A man has an internal battle going on when he loses both his legs, his right arm and his left eye. He didn't want to become a machine. Then, later as he is getting used to the idea of being "bionic," he sees an accident and goes to rescue a little girl who is trapped inside. As he rips the door off, and reaches for the pinned girl, something in the car tears a part of his arm. After rescuing the girl, the mother see the arm and screams. So much for being the hero. I wished they would have kept that conflict going a little while longer. Not overplay it...Just keep it going. But, they weren't sure the show would be picked up, so they resolved the conflict...
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Cyborg (Original Version)
RikerDonegal2 February 2009
Even it didn't introduction one of the most iconic fictional characters of all time this would stand up as a great movie. However, since it does introduce Steve Austin (one of TV's best-ever characters and greatest superheroes), this raises it up to be something truly special. Watching it is something akin to a spiritual experience. Trying to write an impartial review is next to impossible, since I love every second of this thing with passion. But I'll have a go.

Tight pace. The opening minutes show two men in parallel: a pilot called Steve Austin who is about to test a new type of plane, and very serious government official who is proposing a new type of soldier/spy to a room of very stuffy and self-important people. As we move into the second quarter of the movie, Austin has been mutilated in a crash and is being kept alive by machines. His suffering is succinctly brought across in several short/ingenious scenes. The mid-section of the movie shows us the new Austin: rebuilt by science and trying to master his new limbs. By the time we enter the final quarter of the movie, Steve is fully in control of his new body parts and we see him start to use them: first to save a boy in a traffic accident, and then on his first mission.

Lee Majors. In one of the great marriages between character and actor, Majors takes the reins of Austin and makes him his own. Right from the first moment he saunters into shot Steve Austin is a likable hero: a very real, very human superhero. There are corny moments (like Steve addressing the entire flight crew by first name and seeming to know all about them) but Majors sells everything in the script. And adds to it. Two minutes into the movie, 50% of the guys watching will want to invite Austin for a few beers on the town and the other half will wish they were Austin. When the action gets dramatic (Austin trying to end his pathetic life, or - later - examining his own right arm) Majors is 100% committed to the role and he's make you feel everything Steve does.

Cleverness. The movie is clever, and subtle, in ways that the (wonderful) TV series never tried to be. The man who orders the rebuilding of Austin walks with a cane. He is also heartless and - because of this - is more of a robot than Austin will ever be. The storytelling is wonderfully subtle in other ways, too. As Austin is told of his accident, the camera cuts away and we see/hear the reaction of the heart monitor. The sound, I suppose, of a breaking heart. And, later in the story, as Austin is on the verge of giving that heart to the pretty young nurse that has fallen in love with him, the story takes another unexpected turn: Austin orders her off the case and she overhears. We expect that she will run away in tears. Instead, she confronts Austin and calmly states her case. She doesn't behave like a 'tv character', she behaves like a real woman. It's the character's best scene. Finally, the mission that Steve goes on is not quite what it appears to be. Clever scripting makes everything, and everyone, shades of grey and makes the entire story more enjoyable.

Casting. Darren McGavin almost steals the movie from Majors with a truly fascinating portrayal of the man who orders the rebuilding. Martin Balsam and Barbara Anderson round out the cast and each one gets scene after scene of quality material.

Continuity. The three movies that started the SMDM series are an oddity. None of them really fits in with the continuity of the series. (In a nice bit of symmetry, the three movies that ended the series are exactly the same: Part of the franchise, but not quite...) Cyborg has many elements that are exactly the same as the series. The character of Steve Austin is consistent, even if his rank/status within the Air Force is not the same. Rudy Wells, the doctor that saves Steve and makes him bionic is also exactly as you will find him in the television series. It's a different character, yes, but he has the same heart and intelligent. He has the same bond with Steve, too. But there are many elements that are not even close to the TV series. Instead of beloved Oscar Goldman, we get a hard-nosed bastard called Oliver Spencer calling the shots. This guy sees Steve as a weapon. Nothing more. In the episodes that followed, many scripts made it clear that there was a very strong bond/friendship between Steve and his so-called boss. Some episodes made them seem like partners working side-by-side, and most episodes made it clear that they loved one another as only best friends can. It's fascinating to see what direction the show could have taken. Fascinating, but not better. Then there is the lover. She disappears after this and is never mentioned again (though the series does introduce a similar character at one point). We can presume that Nurse Jean got over her infatuation and she and Steve called it quits. There are other things, too. Minor things, mostly, like the name of the OSI being something different. Things that mean, if you want to look at it this way, that the events of this story take place in a parallel universe.

Or something.

I don't care.

It's a superb movie. It captured my imagination when I first saw it, as a child, and it still has a firm grip on my imagination (and my heart) all these years later.
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Super cool show, so many fans
beechgrove29 October 2002
Great show. Fans from the airing of the original show never forget it! Re-airing of the show in countries around the globe garner each time a new flush of fans. There are SO MANY web sites dedicated not only to the show, its lead actors,but the concept of bionics, too. Most discussions about the series occurs at these sites.

'Everyone' is waiting (with baited breath) for a theatrical movie to be made of the original show concept conceived by Martin Caidin, explored in the TV movie / first episode pilot Cy'borg / Moon and the Desert.

Fabulously original sci-fi idea, which is believable and outlandish both at the same time. Part of the show's appeal was the exploration of the human side of 'the machine', and individual identity. It is this element that spans the years, remains current and absorbing to fans, as well as aspects of where science could take us in the future. The show covered so many bases from flying and space, to scientific discoveries, communication technology, paranormal elements, and the action,spy and political thriller genre were also well mined for story ideas. The show appealed to adults and children alike. (Of course another huge appeal factor it has to be acknowledged was the lead actor, Lee Majors!)
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The neverdated story.
Matum18 October 1999
The six million dollar man is one of the greatest series ever. I can't understand why it doesn't have a full troupe of fans like other series, because it unarguably deserves it. Its permanence during its 5 seasons proofs this. I remember watching the episodes during my childhood and being fascinated by this man with extraordinary force! I ask myself who can be emotionless enough not to be amazed by a man who can run at the speed of a car, or jump to/from a 5-story building! For those of you who haven't heard, TSMDM is about an astronaut and test pilot who crashes and has some of his lost limbs rebuilt using bionics: he gets kind of iron/electronic legs, a right arm, and a telescopic eye (which makes him capable of seeing with super zoom and also in the infrared portion of the spectrum). All these replacements contribute to make him "better than he was before: better... stronger... faster."

Recently, when I realized that TSMDM was being showed again in the Sci-fi channel, I wondered myself if that mystic would still penetrate my mind, after 20 years. I've read many opinions that states that any movie was maybe Ok for its time, but bad or old fashioned nowadays. You can not consider art as if it were a technology: art is just timeless GOOD or BAD, and simply fulfills our expectations at certain moments or not, but are us who changes, not the art itself. The Six Million Dollar Man is the Good type, because besides the hero, it has good, interesting, and -most important- credible arguments (a point where "The Bionic Woman" lacks). I like specially the episodes involving robots, perhaps the toughest enemies that Steve Austin has to confront; the ones involving nuclear weapons are among the classics too; and the multipart episodes with The Bionic Woman are a great novel themselves.

The acting is performed by Lee Majors as TSMDM and Richard Anderson as the everlasting Oscar Goldman. Maybe someday one of them enters the IMDB and, why not, they find themselves reading this comment; then the following words are for them: Thank you for stimulating my imagination yesterday and today, thank you for all the fun I feel when watching your adventures, and thank you for adding your little chunk of happiness to my life, contributing to make it better than already is.
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One of the Greatest Series
georgemg4 May 2003
I was always a very scientific boy by nature from a very young age. I studied & understood everything about science. Won awards for it. I loved Star Trek, Space 1999, Battlestar Galactica, Nova, In Search Of, Jacques Cousteau, etc. Anything scientific. This show fit perfectly into this collection. One of the most compelling things I will always remember is the music in the opening credits...that military drum beat march, the crackle of mission control radio communications, the sound of the breakaway from the test plane where you learn what's really going on, the drama & rising tension of the music as the capsule malfunctions and the pilot loses his battle for control, it still gets me all fired up to this day! The opening credits and music to that show is one of the most intense I've ever seen. The other day I saw this TV commercial, it was for a national ISP, where they used a really cheapo thin sounding imitation of the music from the Six Million Dollar Man. To me it was an outrage! It made me so mad because it was so weak, that I had to stop what I was doing and go out onto the Internet and find not just the music but an MPEG video of the actual opening credits with the original music. I proceeded to watch it over an over again for about an hour. It still gives me a thrill and brought back so many memories of my youth! I wound up harassing my poor patient wife for about a half hour with a lecture on how important this show was to my upbringing & psychology. The positive "Can Do" attitude of Oscar Goldman and the OSI, the science and the men who put Steve Austin back together again! The computer schematics of all his mechanical parts. The surgery room and lights. The testing. "Gentleman, we can rebuild him, better than he was before. Better, Stronger, Faster." (!!) These are words to live by! It was like I was 8 years old again! Needless to say, I love this show.
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Wonder If Show inspired any doctors or engineers ?
ELufting19 September 2007
I just watched a show on the History Channel talking about Star trek tech and how it inspired scientists and engineers or got then interested in science. It would be interesting to see The History Channel do The same for TSMDM and show bionic tech and talk to doctors and engineers who were inspired by the show to create real bionic arms legs and eyes or the doctors who treat patients with artificial limbs and eyes and ears. In fact I just remembered an episode when Doctor Rudy Wells created a bionic heart used to transplant into some important world leader who if he died would leave a power vacuum which would lead to disaster
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Has this show been forgotten?
richardjohnmalin28 January 2002
Just flicking through IMDB on a Monday evening, as you do, and have been stirred to write something through what can only be described as the apathy of others.

This show has only got ONE comment. (You're not supposed to comment on the other folk's remarks, but I'm not doing that, I'm writing to complain about the near absence of feedback, and the other writer thought it cool too).

Can anyone reading this please offer their opinion. I attended school in the seventies when this show was originally aired, and have fond memories of it. Later in life I spent many years travelling and working throughout the world and in the classic scene of many different nationalities coming together in the evening over a bottle of wine, few beers etc this show was one of the highlights of conversation. Surely people must remember back with glee the exploits of Steve Austin and his bionic implants. There was a time when a whole peer group (myself included) wanted to train as astronauts just to come a cropper at some point in order to be dragged out of the smouldering wreckage so we may be rebuilt in the new, improved style. That's what seventies youngsters dreamt of; embodying new technology in a personal and pretty literal way. I remember the start:- Steve Austin, a man barely alive. We can rebuild him.




It's a pity other people can't remember a little and perhaps write a bit more. Please get in touch.
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I remember this
razorbladeetches25 April 2006
Although I haven't seen this show in years, I do have very fond memories of it. I recall it came on every Sunday night either before or after the new Hardy Boys show and I was pretty much addicted to it. It's a part of my past ... like it or not! Just like Superfriends, Sid and Marty Kroft, Big Wheels and my old neighborhood friends. I would have to admit it would be a most difficult thing for me to objectively review this show. That's the problem with nostalgia -one tends to idealize the past. I have my own perception of the show and I don't know how it would stack up to reality. I like to think of the show as something that I liked but left behind long ago. Not that I wouldn't be up to watching a few episodes now but it just wouldn't be the same.
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Bionic Beginnings
AaronCapenBanner19 May 2015
First TV movie pilot that introduced Lee Majors as Steve Austin, a former astronaut who had walked on the moon, but now is test piloting an experimental aircraft that unfortunately crashes, badly injuring Steve near death, but with the skill of brilliant surgeon Dr. Rudy Wells(played by Martin Balsam) and funding by secretive government representative Oliver Spencer(played by Darren McGavin) rebuild Austin with bionic limbs and sight, increasing his strength and survivability immensely, making him an ideal government operative, if he can only emotionally adjust to his new condition... Good setup to the eventual series has a smart, thoughtful script and good direction by Richard Irving. Pity this realistic style wasn't continued though...
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An Iconic Television show
keithdemonde30 April 2014
I was 7 years old when i first saw "The Moon and the Desert" and i gotta tell you, i was marveling at all those fictional physical capabilities Col. Steve Austin were able to perform. I watch the series to the very last season and very last episode. I'm a fan of pilot episodes and "Made for Television" movies which of course is mainly produced as a test run for the possibilities of a series. My friends and i would play Steve Austin running slowly sown the block and we would add on "Barney" The Seven Million Dollar Man just in case we wanted to have fight scenes. But my greatest joy was on Christmas Day 1976 and what i saw under the Christmas tree was my very own Six Million Dollar man "action figure" with the red jumpsuit and the small magnifying hole in the back of the head Ha Ha I'm watching "The Moon and the Desert" right now on CoziTV 4/30/2014 and i'm somewhat focusing on actress Barbara Anderson solely because i'm noticing how beautiful she is, beautiful lips,eyes and hair Wow! Too bad she walked away from permanent work in Hollywood after 1975 because she may have been an excellent candidate for the role of Jaime Sommers of Bionic Woman fame. Seasons 1,2, & 3 are the best for me wasn;t crazy about Lee Majors growing a moustache. A very Iconic character with a very Iconic actor.
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Pilot is much more serious than I remember as a kid
jdcoates7 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
As a child of the 70s I love the show. I just recently watched the first two episodes, which was the pilot movie. I was surprised at how serious the tone of the movie was. For example, after Steve Austin wakes up from the accident he actually tries to kill himself in the hospital as opposed to living a life without an arm, two legs, and one eye.

Also, his Handler is not Richard Anderson as it was in the series but was a mysterious unnamed government Black Ops person, play beautifully by Darren McGavin, Kolchak The Night Stalker Fame. His presence really added a Sinister aspect to the show which I think wandering welcome throughout the series.

Absolutely love the television show still, and the pilot still holds up.
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excellent editing and effects that stands up towards nowadays norms
trashgang12 April 2012
I was brought up in the seventies and by stupid coincidence I found a box of The Six Million Dollar Man. I remember it from my youth but was afraid to pick it up, I had seen so many old series that didn't stand their time. Before I would start with the series of The Six Million Dollar Man I wanted to pick up this flick. This is were it all started with. The original version is still available on VHS but the re-edited version was brought out on DVD under the name 'The Moon And The Desert' and it's exactly what this flick did, going to the moon and rescuing a prisoner in the desert.

The first 45 minutes is were you see how Steve Austin (Lee Majors) got involved in his terrible accident. And this is a must see. Okay, it's based on the book Cyborg by Caidin. But the editing of his accident and going to the moon was edited with real footage of the crash of the Northrop M2-F2. It did work out fine and still works nowadays. Once his accident happened it's decided that Steve needs some robot arm to become a cyborg, even his legs and eye were replaced making him the six million dollar man.

The second half of this flick Steve had to agree with making him some cyborg and starts to life with it which results in being given orders to use his strength.

Some pieces were a bit slow but the acting was top notch, Lee Majors surely gives the feeling that he can't go on with his new body but once he's used to the prosthetics the six million dollar man is (re)born.

The score used is a bit out dated and the traditional bionics sound effects are not heard in this film, what they did was the use of slow-motion, another thing that became a trademark for the series.

Just after this flick Barbara Anderson (Joan Kahn) made the horror Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark. Weird to see is that the personalities used here was played by actors never appearing again in the series but what a popular names they were, Martin Balsam (Dr. Rudy Wells) of Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) fame and Darren McGavin (Oliver Spencer) , he is most fondly remembered by cult TV fans as heroic newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak in the classic but short-lived horror TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-75), both sadly died.

This is a must see with some effects still used today, just watch when his arm is injured during a rescue, and long before the Cyborg flicks from the Cannon Group became notorious in the eighties. Recommended for all sci-fi geeks. Even as it had a few mistakes in editing, suddenly 2 moonwalkers while Steve is on his own, and script, his bionic eye wasn't used even as they showed it a lot.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 4/5 Story 4/5 Comedy 0/5
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Prabably better than the series that followed...
MartinHafer19 October 2011
This is the pilot movie for what later became "The Six Million Dollar Man" TV series. In some ways it's quite a bit like the later series, but for the most part I found it quite different and pretty exciting--even when I see it today. I say that because I liked the movie and show when I was a kid--but I had no idea how well either would hold up decades later. Frankly, I am a lot pickier with what I watch now--and I was half expecting to hate it. However, the Martin Caidin story turned out to be pretty engaging.

Now you need to understand up front that this film, like many pilots, is not exactly the show. A different guy plays the good doctor (Martin Balsam) and Steve Austin's boss (Darren McGavin) is VERY different--much more amoral and scheming compared to the relatively nice Richard Anderson from the show as 'Oscar Goldman'. I liked McGavin's character and wished they kept him for the show. The big similarity between the movie and show is that Steve Austin was played by the same guy in both--Lee Majors. Overall, this is a very interesting a well made TV movie. Part of it is that it relied less on action and more on characters. Plus, I liked how you did NOT see and hear the weird 'cyborg' effects--Austin just did cool things without the silly accompanying sounds. Worth seeing and clever.
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based on a real person
sigurdlasa30 August 2006
I was reading the April 30 issue of This is True ( and found out that this TV series was in fact based on the story of Bruce A. Peterson, a NASA test pilot. The opening credits featured his accident while testing a lifting body concept.

His biography is in ( Biographies/Pilots/bd-dfrc-p012.html). Please enter the whole web address as one continuous word (delete the space before Biographies). The comment rules don't allow me to send a very long word.

I remember watching some of the episodes when I was really little. My friends would try to imitate Steve's actions when he ran or jumped, complete with that distinctive 'Bionic' sound.
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Excellent Pilot Movie To a Very Memorable Series
voicemaster7130 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I keep thinking that I may have seen the pilot episode of the Six Million Dollar Man series when it played weekday afternoons when I was real little, but I'm not sure. I do know that as an adult, having seen both the original 90 minute pilot in movie form (my preferred favorite) and the 2 part syndicated version, I have grown to really love this movie. I never could have seen the original air date. I was practically 2 years old when it aired.

The pilot to me, seems like it can't make up its mind about what the official title shall be. I feel the title should be simply enough, the Six Million Dollar Man. Some call it Cyborg named after the Martin Caidin novel that it was based off of. Others have called it both Cyborg: The Six Million Dollar Man. Sounds reasonable to me.

Lee Majors took on the role of Steve Austin while acting on another TV show that wound up being short lived. We see Steve as somewhat of a rebel and after his accident, he's a depressed man who'd rather die than live with one limb or have Bionic ones replace his destroyed ones. I find it rather odd that the word Bionic was not used until the actual weekly series began. I also find it ironic that Steves rank of colonel was ignored, not to mention his walk on the moon not being fully discussed.We see the emotion he goes through after the rescue of the boy which tears into his bionic arm as well as his confrontation with Spencer. I loved his first official adventure in the dessert and how he escapes and kicks some butt bionic style.

Now for Dr. Rudy Wells. If I'm not mistaken, the original Dr. Wells was played by the late Martin Balsam who I think was on Archie Bunker's Place. I liked Balsam's version of Rudy. He was not only Steve's doctor, but also his best friend. Barbara Anderson was a very beautiful lady and I recall her as nurse Jean Manners. I find it odd that they replaced her with Carla in the Seven Million Dollar Man episode.

Now for the only criticism. I discovered that Richard Anderson's character, Oscar Goldman, was in the Cyborg novel and that it was Goldman who made the move to have Steve bionically rebuilt, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why they replaced Oscar with the character of Oliver Spencer, played brilliantly by the late Darren McGavin, who would later on do Kolchak the Night Stalker as well as the "Old Man" in A Christmas Story and he was a laugh a minute. McGavin's Oliver Spencer is someone who makes Oscar look like a priest. He is totally cold hearted red tape government man all the way. As much as I like Darren McGavin, I'm glad he moved on after this pilot.

Not much was done to show Steve as a Bionic Man, but when they did, it was impressive enough. I more or less recall the series in its 3-5 seasons where he runs in slow motion and that special sound effect. None of that was here in these early episodes. I also feel the need to comment on the awesome music score by Gil Melle. I highly recommend that you see this pilot movie in order to understand how the Six Million Dolar Man really works. I give it a perfect 10.
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Pilot For Classic Seventies Bionic Man TV Adventure
ShootingShark21 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Steve Austin is a rebellious NASA test-pilot who is critically injured in a horrific crash, losing both legs, his right arm and his left eye in the process. His doctor, with the backing of a mysterious government agent, uses experimental prosthetic surgery to give him new limbs and a new eye, which will give him superhuman strength and sight. The surgery is a success, but what does the government have planned for him ? This pilot TV-movie for one of the most successful US TV series of the seventies is a surprisingly low-key but intriguing story, with a great central idea. The rotten intelligence services want a super-agent, capable of incredible feats of strength and agility, who can infiltrate situations by stealth where a team of operatives could not. Their solution - take a man as good as dead and rebuild him as a cyborg; a bionic man with artificial limbs and senses infinitely more powerful than a normal man. Henri Simoun's script, based on a book by Martin Caidin, is really just a three-character play (Anderson, as a bit of totty, is pretty but unnecessary) between the unwilling roboman (Majors), his doctor (the always-reliable Balsam) and a control agent (McGavin), but it explores the Frankenstein theme with surprising subtlety and the relatively few action scenes are handled well. Also good, in the classic seventies style, is the depiction of government as ruthless strategists with limitless resources and no compassion - they see their creation not as a man, but as their product, which is only worth having if it is an asset to their operations. Perhaps a little too sober and ponderous at times, but a great story nonetheless.
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Going into it green
cwhaskell12 January 2012
I am just watching the pilot and the show for the first time. I have always heard so much about this show I had to give it a shot ...

Wow, this has so much potential. This first episode was interesting and entertaining, and I am glad to have the back story, but what really excited me while watching this was the possible direction they could take this once it goes serial.

The production value was on par with TV shows from the late 60s/early 70s, as was the acting and dialog, but I believe this show will stand apart just because good writers can make something fantastic. I should mention that Lee Majors seems like a great choice for this role, he plays the everyman-tough-guy perfectly.

Rating: 26/40
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The Start of a Great TV Series
garyldibert30 January 2007
It was the start of a series that lasted 5 years. Lee Majors plays the role of Colonel Steve Austin, Barbara Anderson plays the role of Jean Manners, Martin Balsam plays the role of Dr. Rudy Wells, and Darren McGavin as Oliver Spenser. While testing an experimental aircraft the aircraft crashes and Austin is badly injured. Enters Oliver Spenser who works for the ***. Spenser tells Dr Rudy Wells that he can get everything that he needs to put Austin back together again. Therefore, Wells gives Austin a new left eye, a new right arm and two new legs. However, as Austin starts to recover even though he feels faster and stronger he wants to know why he was built back together and who's paying the bill. When it comes time for Austin to start paying his bill, he doesn't care for the person caring that bill. This was the start of the very successful Six Million Dollar man.
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