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Outland (1981)

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In the distant future, a federal marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the workers or authorities when he finds himself marked for murder.


Peter Hyams


Peter Hyams
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Connery ... Marshal William T. O'Niel
Peter Boyle ... Mark B. Sheppard
Frances Sternhagen ... Dr. Lazarus
James Sikking ... Sergeant Montone (as James B. Sikking)
Kika Markham ... Carol G. O'Niel
Clarke Peters ... Officer Ballard
Steven Berkoff ... Sagan
John Ratzenberger ... Tarlow
Nicholas Barnes Nicholas Barnes ... Paul O'Niel
Manning Redwood ... Officer Lowell
Pat Starr Pat Starr ... Mrs. Flo Spector
Hal Galili ... Officer Nelson
Angus MacInnes ... Hughes
Stuart Milligan ... Walters
Eugene Lipinski ... Cane


Marshal W.T. O'Niel is assigned to a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. During his tenure, miners are dying, usually by violent suicide. When the marshal investigates, he discovers the one thing all the deaths have in common is a lethal amphetamine-type drug, which allows the miners to work continuously for several days at a time until they become "burned out" and die after months of use. O'Niel follows the trail of the dealers, which leads to the man overseeing the colony. Now O'Niel must watch his back at every turn, as those who seek to protect their income begin targeting him. Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Even in space, the ultimate enemy is man. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

22 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atmósfera cero See more »


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,059,638, 25 May 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (MegaSound encoding) (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (MegaSound encoding) (70 mm prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Writer-director Peter Hyams handled the cinematography for most of this movie. Stephen Goldblatt was misleadingly hired by Hyams, who only wanted him to stand aside and do nothing, and to use him as a scapegoat for the production company in case anything went wrong while using the IntroVision process. According to Goldblatt, he was furious at being lied to and wouldn't have taken the job if he'd known Hyams' intentions at the outset. He stayed on in order to learn how to use IntroVision, and because as a young cinematographer with a sole prior feature credit, quitting a movie could have ruined his career. It is the only one of his movies whose wrap party he skipped. See more »


The shuttle carrying the two hit men arrives 42 minutes early on its 70-hour trip from the space station. Since the laws of physics couldn't have been broken, this means that someone made a huge error in calculating the orbit of the shuttle (all objects in this case are in orbit of Jupiter), but by blind luck still managed to intersect with Io anyhow. If the shuttle HAD arrived on time, Io would have been in a totally different position, as it moves at 17.3 km per second due to its low orbit around Jupiter. The only way to arrive early would be to expend a lot more energy, which would mean lost money for Con-Am. (Even then. the exact time of arrival would still be known - it's just physics.) See more »


Sheppard: Let me tell you what you're dealing with here. I run a franchise. The company hires me to dig as much ore as possible out of this hellhole. There's a guy like me on every mining operation, all over the system. My hookers are clean; some of 'em are good-looking. My booze isn't watered. The workers are happy. When the workers are happy, they dig more ore - they get paid more bonus money. When they dig more ore, the company's happy! When the company's happy, I'm happy!
Marshal William T. O'Niel: Sounds wonderful.
Sheppard: Nothing ...
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Referenced in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Sean Connery as a real hero is impressive , his sheer presence results to be attractive as well as breathtaking
13 November 2017 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This thrilling picture tells the story of Marshall William T. O'Niel (Sean Connery as the ultimate and overwhelming hero figure) at a far planet standing against impossible odds , he is married to Carol (Kika Markham) and has a little boy promising to leave his risked job and settle down for a peaceful existence . In this distant future , the police marshal is stationed at the remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io , there happens weird events when miners begin suffering from confuse visions and rare breakdowns , as well surprising outbreaks and spells of insanity . The marshal starts an investigation that threatens the colony's survival . Marshal William T. O'Niel uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy run by Mark Sheppard (Peter Boyle) , as the latter has sworn revenge against William . The security marshal gets no support from the populace when he later finds himself marked for killing and nobody is willing to help him . A team of bounty killers and will arrive in moon base at high noon . A doctor , Dr. Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen) , ultimately risks death to give him a hand .

A particular rendition of ¨High noon¨ set in outer space on a volcanic moon of Jupiter , stars Sean Connery alone versus a planet-wide drug ring . In fact , this one is no more or less than a Western in space , replacing Gary Cooper by Sean Connery . This enjoyable Sci-Fi is plenty of suspense as the dreaded noon hour approaches and the protagonist realizes he must stand alone , but asking his base fellows for help , nobody is willing to help him . An agreeable Science Fiction movie full of emotional thrills , action and suspense , though the science is rather poor . It is a highly mysterious thriller , filled with non-stop action , including a spectacular denouement in its final part . The narration is adjusted in real time , from the beginning to arrival of the enemy aircraft , at a final showdown and it is approximately developed in ninety minutes as the many on-screen ticks clocks will check . It might make a catching double feature along with ¨High noon¨ . Connery is perfect as the flawed hero who faces off professional killers . He gives first-rate acting as a tough agent who takes on vicious hired killers , facing alone after being abandoned to his fate by the gutless population . Suppport cast is pretty well , giving brief but decent acting , such as : James B. Sikking , Steven Berkoff , Clarke Peters , John Ratzenberger , Angus MacInnes , Eugene Lipinski and Peter Boyle is just right as a heinous villain . And special mention for Frances Sternhagen as the veteran doctor who helps Connery , she steals the show , thanks to her sympathetic and valiant performance .

The motion picture contains an excellent cinematography by cameraman Stephen Goldblatt . Rousing and suspenseful musical score by the great Jerry Goldsmith , performed by London symphony orchestra . The yarn was compellingly directed by Peter Hyams . Peter is an uneven filmmaker who has directed all kinds of genres with successes and flops , such as Adventure : ¨Musketeer¨ ; Terror : ¨The relic¨, ¨End of days¨ ; Action : ¨The Presidio¨, ¨Sudden death¨, ¨Timecop¨ , ¨Narrow margin¨ ; Sci-fi : ¨2010 , the year we make contact¨ , ¨Capricorn one¨, ¨Sound and thunder ¨; Drama : ¨The star chamber¨, ¨Our time¨ ; and Comedy : Running scared¨, ¨Stay tuned¨

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