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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.

Director:

John Badham
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3,701 ( 527)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ally Sheedy ... Stephanie Speck
Steve Guttenberg ... Newton Crosby
Fisher Stevens ... Ben Jabituya
Austin Pendleton ... Howard Marner
G.W. Bailey ... Skroeder
Brian McNamara ... Frank
Tim Blaney ... Number 5 (voice)
Marvin J. McIntyre Marvin J. McIntyre ... Duke
John Garber John Garber ... Otis
Penny Santon Penny Santon ... Mrs. Cepeda
Vernon Weddle Vernon Weddle ... General Washburne
Barbara Tarbuck ... Senator Mills
Tom Lawrence ... Howard Marner's Aide
Fred Slyter Fred Slyter ... Norman
Billy Ray Sharkey 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:

Life is not a malfunction. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cortocircuito See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$40,697,761
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fisher Stevens plays a character called Ben Jabituya, who has an exaggerated Indian accent and mannerisms. However, he is not Indian. When asked where he is from, he responds Bakersfield, and that his ancestors are from Pittsburgh. See more »

Goofs

When Number 5 is first hit by the little trash robot the number on the side of the trash can is 3765. In subsequent shots it is 3250. See more »

Quotes

Ben Jabituya: I am sporting a tremendous woody.
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 T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996) 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.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
So cutesy but so good!!
12 April 2008 | by Michael DeZubiriaSee 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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