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The Black Hole (1979)

A research vessel finds a missing ship, commanded by a mysterious scientist, on the edge of a black hole.

Director:

Gary Nelson

Writers:

Jeb Rosebrook (story by), Bob Barbash (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
4,705 ( 533)

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ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maximilian Schell ... Dr. Hans Reinhardt
Anthony Perkins ... Dr. Alex Durant
Robert Forster ... Captain Dan Holland
Joseph Bottoms ... Lieutenant Charles Pizer
Yvette Mimieux ... Dr. Kate McCrae
Ernest Borgnine ... Harry Booth
Tom McLoughlin ... Captain S.T.A.R. (as Tommy McLoughlin)
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Storyline

An Earth exploratory ship, the USS Palomino, discovers a black hole with a lost ship, the USS Cygnus, just outside its event horizon. Deciding to solve the mystery of the Cygnus are: the Palomino's Captain, Dan Holland; his First Officer, Lieutenant Charlie Pizer; journalist Harry Booth; scientist and ESP-sensitive Dr. Kate McCrae, whose father was the Cygnus's First Officer; Dr. Alex Durant, the expedition's civilian leader; and the robot known as V.I.N.CENT. The Palomino attempts a dangerous fly-by of the darkened ship. As they come within close range of it, the buffeting they experience (due to the black hole's gravity) suddenly ceases. They bring more instruments to bear on the derelict, but do not even realize the gravity-free zone is artificial; slipping outside it, they are almost drawn into the black hole, an abyss from which no one can escape. Matters worsen when Reinhardt holds the crew captive, after realizing that they can help him reach his goal. The squad must now figure... Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is an inexorable force in the cosmos, a place where time and space converge. A place beyond man's vision...but not beyond his reach. See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Space Station One See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$35,841,901, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (RCA Photophone Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Barry composed the Overture. See more »

Goofs

As the large screen that pins Reinhardt is swinging wildly immediately before it falls, the message it's displaying is not moving with it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
V.I.N.CENT: [beep] 2130; day 547. Unscheduled course correction due at 2200. Pre-correction check: rotation axis plus three degrees. Nitrous oxide pressure: 4100 rising to 5,000. Quad jet C and D on preselect. Rotor ignition sequence beginning in 3-0. Thruster line reactors on standby.
Captain Dan Holland: V.I.N.CENT, notify me with 15 to go. Alex?
Dr. Alex Durant: Yes, Dan?
Captain Dan Holland: Have you determined a difference in ETAs with and without our correction?
Dr. Alex Durant: Working on it. You know, we shouldn't be needing a correction at this time. ...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

A broadcast of The Black Hole on daytime British television in the mid-eighties omitted the scene of the Angel flying through the arches, instead cutting from Maximillian on the mountain-top in Hell to the shot of the Palamino crew heading for the unidentified planet, having apparently survived. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Toy Hunter: Buck Rodgers Bet (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An unfairly marginalised bit of sci-fi
10 June 2016 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

The Black Hole was one of many films that were released with the intention of cresting the sci-fi wave created by the huge success of Star Wars (1977). More specifically, this was Disney's attempt at the genre and I think it was the studio's first movie that didn't go for a U certificate. The film that it can best be compared to is Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was also released the same year. Both movies sport fantastic special effects and production values, while both also are surprisingly - and pleasingly - slightly left-field in their approach. Neither really fall squarely into the action/adventure bracket that Star Wars so obviously did, they rely more on atmosphere, some psychological aspects and have some enigmatic qualities which seem to indicate the influence of the earlier hard sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space odyssey (1968). For these reasons, I find both these films to be decidedly under-appreciated and interesting. The Star Trek franchise of course went down a different, more comforting route, from the second feature The Wrath of Khan (1982) onwards, while The Black Hole remained a one off that has become more and more obscure as the years go by. So much so that it could reasonably be considered a cult movie on account of its selective appeal.

From the off, this is visually a very interesting film. It has great sets and model work, which make the giant space craft where the majority of the action takes place an evocative setting. The special effects throughout are in general very impressive and still look good today. But the visuals have been constructed for more than mere spectacle as they combine to create a pretty interesting atmosphere on the whole; they ultimately are used also to set up the strange and ambiguous ending which involves visions of Hell and an alternate universe. This kind of oddness stands out these days, as most big budget sci-fi endeavours mostly avoid such ambiguity, but this is definitely a plus point for The Black Hole. Another serious asset is the really effective main theme from John Barry. This is in all honesty one of his best bits of individual music, its sweeping yet mysterious and complements events on screen extremely well.

The story itself is pretty simple and boils down to a deep space crew discovering a mysterious spaceship near a black hole, they board it and events escalate. The story is perhaps oddly presented in some ways as there is material quite obviously aimed at kids, like the cartoonish robots (the main one, V.I.N.C.E.N.T., being voiced excellently by Roddy McDowell) but at the same time there are also some decidedly sinister aspects to this one too. So I guess it had a bit of a split focus in some ways, not that that is a terrible thing but it may have accounted for its marginalised position in the sci-fi cinematic pantheon. But whatever the case, I consider this to be one of the best that 70's science fiction has to offer. It's mysterious and left-of-centre nature mean that it is one of the more interesting entries in the genre to revisit.


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