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)
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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:

In a world starved for energy, no secret is more valuable. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Beatrice Straight and Craig T. Nelson appeared in Poltergeist (1982). See more »

Goofs

When Barney and Lisa travel by train through Switzerland, the train, as seen from the outside, changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Barney Caine: Doctor, Mr. Reimeck told us that you had been captured by the Russians.
Dr. Abraham Esau, Director Reich Energy: The Mongolians came into the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. They swarmed into my office still wearing their white winter uniforms in May. They kept flushing my toilet over and over. Can you believe? The German nation defeated by men who have never seen a toilet.
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Connections

Referenced in The Big Box: The Body Shop (2010) See more »

User Reviews

 
" Want to know why fuel is so high, don't ask me, I'm only a customer "
21 September 2012 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

Steve Shagan wrote this novel long before the film emerged and became a prophetic warning to the world. After reading the story, I concluded the book is much more informative and a hell of a lot more more interesting. Still, the power of George C. Scott makes for a good understanding of the world's fuel problems and the greedy men who neatly arrange for it's sale and distribution. John G. Avidsen directed this film and although he used the star power of Marlon Brando to attract a large audience, he fail to capitalized on the combination of his leading men. The story as found in the novel begins with the murder of a retired LAPD police officer and assigned to Lt. Barney Caine (George C. Scott). Although evidence suggests the dead Officer died from Cocaine, Caine suspects it was blatant murder. With a gut feeling and growing suspicion of multiple involvement by others, Caine travels to Europe to learn who was behind the killings in America. This eventually leads to Adam Steiffel (Marlon Brando) a very rich and powerful Oil Executive based in the US who explains where and how the world works. A Plethora of Hollywood stars including John Gielgud, Marshall Thompson and Wolfgang Preiss, makes for a solid movie, but one wonders why Brando is only given minimal screen exposure. Still, with name recognition alone this will become a Classic George C. Scott milestone. ****


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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Formula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$842,985, 21 December 1980

Gross USA:

$8,894,289

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,894,289
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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