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The Terminal Man (1974)

Hoping to cure his violent seizures, a man agrees to a series of experimental microcomputers inserted into his brain but inadvertently discovers that violence now triggers a pleasurable response his brain.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Harry Benson
... Dr. Janet Ross
... Dr. John Ellis
... Dr. Arthur McPherson
... Dr. Robert Morris
William Hansen ... Dr. Ezra Manon
... Angela Black
... Det. Capt. Anders
... Ralph Friedman
... Gerhard
... Richards
Gene Borkan ... Benson's Guard
... Benson's Guard
... Questioner No. 1
Dee Carroll ... Night Nurse


As the result of a head injury, brilliant computer scientist Harry Benson begins to experience violent seizures. In an attempt to control the seizures, Benson undergoes a new surgical procedure in which a microcomputer is inserted into his brain. The procedure is not entirely successful. Written by Bruce Janson <bruce@cs.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Harry Benson is a brilliant computer scientist. For three minutes a day, he is violently homicidal.


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aivoryöstö  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film never had a UK cinema release. See more »


[after Benson's operation]
1st man behind door: I'm not kiddin' ya. Eddie watched the whole thing.
2nd man behind door: He did?
1st man behind door: Yeah
1st man behind door: that boy won't give *us* no more trouble.
See more »


Featured in Cinemacabre TV Trailers (1993) See more »


Goldberg Variation No. 25
by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach)
Played by Glenn Gould
Courtesy Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A Classic Crichton Story A Window To A Medical Future
14 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

"The Terminal Man" is a classic Michael Crichton story. The science fiction is based in reality. For the time, the novel represented the cutting edge of our understanding of the brain and its pain and pleasure pathways. It seems hard to believe, but in 1974 little was known about the mechanism of addiction and substances like endorphins. The concept of harnessing them was a dream. Today, they are entering lay speech and find their way into everything from diets and meditation to sports.

As a physician with a talent for using current research to feed his imagination, Crichton constructs unique novels. 1971's "Andromeda Strain" was the first big success, and studied our concept of life and biologic evolution. "The Terminal Man" asked the question of what would happen when main gains control of himself. How will he use that power? Will it change him? Will it work?

In character with many of his novels, the scientific detail is impossible to big to the screen. A film can only run so long. Many Crichton fans will always prefer his books to the movie. However, this under appreciated film brings the story to life. It is relatively free of the soliloquies of background data that are seen in many science fiction films. The viewer learns threw the eyes of the patient. The main story line still comes across well, and the viewer experiences the emotions and dilemmas of the patient.

The irony here is that a science has now proven the film's premise correct. Animal studies confirm the side effects vividly depicted in the film. As we enter the new millennium, severe pain and cancer patients use the techniques envisioned by Michael Crichton. "The Terminal Man" is an example if fiction becoming fact, and film previewing our future.

If one likes science and science fiction, it is a good film to pick. The drama of the patients predicament will also entertain drama fans. This was made in 1971, so if you are a great CGI and action fan you may be disappointed. So use your imagination.

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