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Short Circuit (1986)

PG | | Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi | 9 May 1986 (USA)
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Number 5 of a group of experimental robots in a lab is electrocuted, suddenly becomes intelligent, and escapes.

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Stephanie Speck
... Newton Crosby
... Ben Jabituya
... Howard Marner
... Skroeder
... Frank
... Number 5 (voice)
Marvin J. McIntyre ... Duke
John Garber ... Otis
Penny Santon ... Mrs. Cepeda
Vernon Weddle ... General Washburne
... Senator Mills
... Howard Marner's Aide
Fred Slyter ... Norman
Billy Ray Sharkey ... Zack
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Storyline

Number 5, one of a group of experimental military robots, undergoes a sudden transformation after being struck by lightning. He develops self-awareness, consciousness, and a fear of the reprogramming that awaits him back at the factory. With the help of a young woman, Number 5 tries to evade capture and convince his creator that he has truly become alive. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something wonderful has happened... Number Five is alive! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cortocircuito  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$40,697,761
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the movie, you see a close-up of flowers on a green field, and then the tanks roll over them. This resembled James Cameron's style. See more »

Goofs

The robots' lasers are powerful enough to destroy tank armor, yet a 2-inch-thick granite stone is enough to block the beam when Number 5 uses it for protection. This is because the other robots were instructed to capture Number 5, not to destroy him, so they wouldn't use their lasers at full strength. They can indeed control the power of their lasers, as Number 5 demonstrates while shooting Frank's clothes without hurting him. See more »

Quotes

Newton Crosby: Can you believe it's been five years since I've driven?
Ben Jabituya: I would say ten.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are played out over a montage of scenes from the movie, including a pair of scenes that failed to make the final cut. One involves an encounter between Number 5 and a toy robot, the other involves a scene in a scrap yard where a scrapped car that Number 5 is currently sitting in is crushed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Community: The Art of Discourse (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Come And Follow Me
(Number 5's Theme from "Short Circuit")
Written by David Shire, Will Jennings and Max Carl
Performed by Max Carl and Marcella Detroit (as Marcy Levy)
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
So cutesy but so good!!
12 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

I haven't seen Short Circuit for some time now, but it is such a huge milestone in my childhood that I have to say something about it. Maturer audiences will have a hard time overlooking some of the childish nuances of the movie, but it is such a fun and entertaining family film that all of those things can be easily forgiven. It reminds me of other wonderful family films like Flight of the Navigator and The Goonies, that I used to watch over and over when I was a kid. I feel like I've lost something when I can't think of a single movie now that I love so much that I will watch it a few times a week. Maybe I just am more aware of the time involved in watching the same movie over and over today than I used to be.

Johnny 5 is a robot designed for military use until one day it's struck by lightning and, apparently, comes to life. This is a pretty tired formula, something man-made suddenly displaying life-like qualities and wanting to be recognized as a real boy, but it's accompanied by some clever messages about the advancement of technology, particularly technology designed to replace humans, which has always been seen as a bit of a dangerous idea, criticized brilliantly by everyone from Charlie Chaplin to James Cameron.

Johnny 5's adventures involve his efforts to avoid capture by the people who made him ("NOVA! No!!"), while at the same time trying to prove to the world that he's a living entity now. They could not make a movie like this today. Sadly, CGI has forever replaced the need to create a physical robot like the one that plays Johnny 5 in this movie, so any Short Circuit that was made today would just be some soul-less digital effect cavorting across the screen, instantly forgettable. But here, he's really there, and he's heavy and clumsy and metallic, but so memorable as a movie character that I've recently read that the actual robot prop was sold for something like $500,000. Now THAT is a fan!

Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy have a cute chemistry on screen that is satisfactorily simple. They are both cookie-cutter caricatures, Sheedy the lonely Stephanie, who drives an ice-cream truck for a living, and Guttenberg plays a scientist named Newton, who works for the evil NOVA but who only needs a cute ice-cream lady and a charming robot to change his evil ways.

Sound like fun? No? Well, it is, trust me. The film has definitely dated, but I'll take special effects that look dated 20 years later over expensive CGI that never looked real in the first place any day. A lot of films claim to be fun for all ages, but Short Circuit is one of the few that really is. It's too bad that movies like this seem to be gone forever now….


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