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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)
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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:

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

This was one of three collaborations between Writer and Producer Steve Shagan and Director John G. Avildsen. The first was Save the Tiger (1973), the second was W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), and the third and final movie was this one. None of the movies were successes at the box-office. 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: [to Sgt. Yosuta] Check the car.
Sgt. Yosuta: Lieutenant Caine, I gotta talk to you. You know, we're supposed to be working this case together, so let's get some ground rules straight-up front. I have a name and I'd like you to use it-understood?
Barney Caine: You're absolutely right. I should have said, "Check the cars, Louis", or, "Would you be good enough to check the cars, Sergeant Yosuta?" but it's Sunday and I'm not with my son and it bothers me, so you'll forgive my sudden lack of charm, okay?
Sgt. Yosuta: Okay.
Barney Caine: Good. Now check ...
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
"I don't envy you your profession, Mr. Caine. It must be one long tragic view of life."
14 August 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

LAPD detective George C. Scott investigates the murder of an old friend. More and more murders happen as the investigation leads him into a conspiracy plot involving a formula for synthetic fuel created by Nazi scientists in World War II.

Overlong thriller with dull stretches. Main selling point being that it's the only movie to costar heavy hitters George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, coincidentally the only two actors to refuse their Best Actor Oscars. Brando only appears in three scenes. For some reason he insisted on making himself up to look ridiculous with fake teeth, a comb-over, and something stuck up his nose. Beside that, he does fine and so does Scott. Nothing special in the career of either man but not the stinker some make it out to be. The plot involving the formula conspiracy is interesting. It's not a terrible film. It goes on too long and the fact that everybody Scott talks to seems to be murdered almost immediately afterward is pretty funny. But it's watchable.


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