5.8/10
9,484
67 user 49 critic

Futureworld (1976)

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2:57 | Trailer
Upon uncovering the dirty secret of futuristic theme-park Futureworld, an ex-employee is killed after he tips off two other reporters who decide to do an undercover investigation.

Director:

Richard T. Heffron
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3,617 ( 294)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Fonda ... Chuck Browning
Blythe Danner ... Tracy 'Socks' Ballard
Arthur Hill ... Duffy
Yul Brynner ... The Gunslinger
John P. Ryan ... Dr. Schneider (as John Ryan)
Stuart Margolin ... Harry
Allen Ludden ... Game Show Host
Robert Cornthwaite ... Mr. Reed
Angela Greene ... Mrs. Reed
Darrell Larson ... Eric
Nancy Bell Nancy Bell ... Erica
Burt Conroy Burt Conroy ... Mr. Karnovski
Dorothy Konrad Dorothy Konrad ... Mrs. Karnovski
John Fujioka ... Mr. Takaguchi
Dana Lee ... Mr. Takaguchi's Aide
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Storyline

Two reporters, Tracy and Chuck, get a message from a third one who discovered something about "Futureworld" and was killed before he could tell anyone about it. They visit Futureworld to find out what he knew. Written by Wolfgang Klimt <wolfii@leo.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where "Westworld" Stopped, "Futureworld" Begins! Offering fantasy, sensuality and adventure complete satisfaction guaranteed. Entry Fee: $1,200 Per Day. Exit Fee: Your Life! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Chuck Browning and Tracy Ballard leave the large Delos meeting, they walk through the lobby of the 2 Houston Center building and take the escalator down toward the tunnel level. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film when Blythe Danner and Peter Fonda walk down the red stairs and are confronted by John Ryan you can clearly see the marks on the steps where the actors should stand. See more »

Quotes

Harry: Clark, give me another gin.
See more »

Alternate Versions

For its initial television broadcast, an alternate version of the scene towards the end where Chuck Browning extends his middle finger to Dr. Schneider was shot. Instead of extending his middle finger, Browning performs a sanitized "Italian elbow gesture", where the right hand is placed in the elbow crook of the left arm, then the left arm is raised (fist clenched) in a smooth and continuous motion. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cyprien (2009) See more »

User Reviews

 
A fine sequel to Westworld
22 March 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

Series note: As Futureworld is a "later chapter" to the story begun in Michael Crichton's Westworld, it is imperative that you watch Westworld before this film.

Set a number of years after the events of Westworld (1973), Futureworld concerns two competitive reporters, Chuck Browning (Peter Fonda) and Tracy Ballard (Blythe Danner), who have been invited to cover the reopening of Delos, the "virtual reality" amusement park that went haywire in Westworld. Browning broke the story about the previous mishap, and he's particularly skeptical about the revamped park. Of course, being a sci-fi/thriller film, much of his skepticism is justified.

Director Richard T. Heffron did a lot of work for television both before and after he directed Futureworld, so it is not surprising that the film often has more of a made-for-television "atmosphere" than its predecessor. Delos has been revamped so that there are new lands--including Spa World (similar to today's actual "destination spas") and of course, Future World, where guests take a simulated rocket flight to a simulated space station where they engage in recreational activities such as simulated space walks and non-simulated hobnobbing at the bar. Westworld has become a ghost town (and it seemed to me that this dilapidated state should have been capitalized on as "Ghost World"--that's where I would have chosen to spend my high-priced vacation--but Heffron and his scripters didn't bother). The production design is a bit slicker than it was in Westworld, even if the locations aren't as pleasant (there is no desert--I'm a big fan of deserts). It also looks a bit higher budget, but the impact isn't greater because of the made-for-television feel.

Still, Heffron often transcends that limitation, and there are occasional sequences, such as Ballard's dream, which Browning and a handful of technicians vicariously enjoy (it partially involves a nudity-free sex fantasy) from a remote monitor, that are unusual in their surrealism. Much of the dream is as a silent film, and it features a nice cameo from Yul Brynner, who was the chief villain in Westworld. There are also a number of impressive "industrial" sets--full of piping, cables, large machinery and such, in which Heffron sets a number of exciting action sequences, one remarkably prescient of the climax chase in Total Recall (1990).

Because of the film's intimate connection with Westworld, it's helpful to make a number of comparisons between the two that help explain how Futureworld holds its own (almost, I only rated it a point lower) to its infamous brother.

Both films are largely satirical (in a more formal, less humor-oriented sense of that term), a caricature of many different facets of society, from amusement/recreation to folly, and in the case of Futureworld, more ominous machinations. Delos is a satire of Disney World and similar theme parks, where we can spend leisure time playing roles, fantasizing that we're someone else, in some other time.

Whereas Westworld presented its satire of Disney-like escapism on a more surface level, Futureworld is concerned with the reality under the public façade. Westworld presented a few moments of the behind the scenes reality--technicians attending to computers, maintaining robots, fretting about anomalies--but the bulk of Futureworld consists of Browning and Ballard on a figurative journey to the bowels of Hades, where they'll eventually attempt to "unmask" the devil and destroy his perpetration of hedonistic illusion.

As it should sound, Futureworld is much more sinister in some ways. Not that Westworld wasn't wonderfully disturbing, but the dilemma in that film arose through relative innocence, with man attempting to better himself and his environment, only discovering too late that his manipulations were backfiring. In Futureworld, the innocence is gone. The Frankenstein-like, God-emulating manipulation of the world has been realized, and through conceit, the powers that be behind Delos figure they can improve not only upon nature, but the artificial control of nature that failed in Westworld, especially utilizing the services of behind the scenes technicians who are now almost exclusively robots.

The villainous motivation behind of all this, which extends far beyond Delos, has an attractive grayness. The aim is still to improve the world, but at a cost of human life. But is it? Supposedly, human life is being replaced at the same rate, the replacements ostensibly being identical biologically, except that they have a different set of beliefs. Although the exact mechanism of all of this is a bit vague (as it needs to be--any attempt at a scientific explanation would probably be less plausible then just saying " . . . and then a miracle occurs"), the plot points fueled by the idea broach a number of very interesting philosophical questions.

If you haven't seen the film yet, some of what I'm saying will seem itself a bit vague, but I'm purposefully presenting it that way to avoid "giving the film away", while still enabling comments on it. Rest assured that the plot is fairly transparent and easy to follow --this is a good script, and Heffron did a fine job directing it so that it brings up serious issues at the same time it provides more than a fair amount of suspense and touches of humor.

A lot of the film succeeds because of good performances from Fonda, Danner and a few others. Fonda and Danner have to effectively play a couple different roles, sometimes making a clear distinction, sometimes purposefully blurring the same, which they accomplish with skill. They also have to undergo a couple somewhat bizarre transformations that aren't explained very well, such as one from rivals to lovers, but somehow they manage to make even that convincing.

This is a fine sequel to Westworld. It isn't essential viewing, but Westworld certainly is, and if you've experienced that film, you may as well see what happens next.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Futureworld See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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