5.6/10
2,211
33 user 17 critic

The Formula (1980)

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The synthetic fuel production formula, invented by the Nazis at the end of World War II, is sought after by some who aim to sell it, and by others who wish to destroy it.

Director:

John G. Avildsen

Writers:

Steve Shagan (novel), Steve Shagan (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George C. Scott ... Barney Caine
Marlon Brando ... Adam Steiffel
Marthe Keller ... Lisa
John Gielgud ... Dr. Esau
G.D. Spradlin ... Clements
Beatrice Straight ... Kay Neeley
Richard Lynch ... Kladen / Tedesco
John Van Dreelen ... Hans Lehman
Robin Clarke Robin Clarke ... Major Neeley
Ike Eisenmann ... Tony
Marshall Thompson ... Geologist #1
Dieter Schidor Dieter Schidor ... Assassin
Werner Kreindl Werner Kreindl ... Schellenberg
Jan Niklas ... Gestapo Captain
Wolfgang Preiss ... Franz Tauber
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Storyline

A detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in World War II to make fuel from synthetic products, thereby eliminating the necessity for oil, and oil companies. A major oil company finds out about it and tries to destroy the formula, and anyone who knows about it.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Big Oil. Big Money. Big Mystery. Everyone's out to make a killing. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La fórmula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$842,985, 21 December 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,894,289, 31 December 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George C. Scott and Marlon Brando played chess together during breaks throughout the shooting. In his Playboy interview of December 1980 (Volume 27, Issue 12, pages 81 through 138), Scott told Lawrence Grobel, who had conducted the famous interview with Brando for Playboy a year earlier, that Brando was not that good a chess player. Many years later, Christiane Kubrick would level the same charge against Scott, who was beaten regularly by her late husband, Stanley Kubrick, on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) between set-ups. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of The Formula, a Nazi General is given the task of driving a truck to the Swiss border. In the next scene the truck has been captured by the US Army. The scene is shot in the snow. This is supposed to take place in the first week of May 1945. There is nowhere that would be covered in snow between Berlin and the Swiss border in May, even if he went the long way i.e. via Austria. See more »

Quotes

Barney Caine: What about dinner, Hans?
Hans Lehman, Prefect of Police Berlin: Impossible. Two terrorists escaped from Moabit Prison. You know, you have been fortunate in America so far. You haven't experienced organized terrorism.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I actually liked this movie
19 July 2005 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The reviews for this movie have been rather consistently poor--both when it was released and on IMDb. For some reason, I actually liked this film--maybe I have bad taste, but I found it to be a very pleasant surprise! Maybe some of my positive regard for this is because I like George C. Scott so much and because I like paranoid and depressing movies (and this one has all these elements). In fact, I am guessing that the depressing nature of the film is much of the reason why others dislike it (there are a lot of murders in the movie). But I liked it for the odd plot--about the evil oil producers trying to suppress a secret for a cheaper fuel through murders and payoffs. But, if you do decide to watch this film, please try to remember that it's only a film. This is not a piece of non-fiction!

UPDATE--8/08. I re-watched this film (something I rarely do) and was surprised how dull I found it a second time. While I still liked the paranoid plot involving a worldwide oil conspiracy, this time I noticed that the film was a bit too talky and the plot a bit too convoluted. Plus, and I know Brando fans will hate me for saying this, but his acting seemed a tad over-done. Still, it's a decent film even if I did knock my original score from 8 to 6.


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