Short Circuit (1986) Poster



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  • Frank is Stephanie's selfish and abusive former boyfriend. Stephanie broke up with Frank because he spent all her money on a big red car and attempted to kidnap her pet dog Beasley and falsely claimed he came to take Beasley to the vets because the dog was sick so he could extort more money from her. But, Frank returned to her house so he could take Number 5 back to Nova so he could get rewarded which caused Number 5 to freak out. Number 5 destroyed Frank's car. Frank shot at Number 5 and attempted to smash him to pieces with his rifle, but, Stephanie stopped him and Number 5 blew his shoes and his cap in half and shot his belt buck with his laser causing Frank's pants to fall down and Frank threatened to call Nova and the police and proclaimed that it was really over between him and Stephanie and fled. Edit

  • The fifth SAINT (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) robot in a series of military prototypes built by Nova Robotics Laboratories is struck by a lightning-induced power surge, gains sentience, and escapes. With the help of animal lover and snack shack owner Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy), who at first believes him to be an extraterrestrial, the robot (who refers to himself as "Johnny 5") learns to speak and to read at a rapid pace to satisfy his demand for "input". Certain that 5 is truly alive, Stephanie helps him to escape capture by his inventors Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg) and Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens), Nova's President Dr. Howard Marner (Austin Pendleton) and security chief Captain Skroeder (G.W. Bailey), and the U.S. Army. Edit

  • Short Circuit was filmed from a screenplay by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. It was followed by Short Circuit 2 (1988) (1988). A remake of Short Circuit, also titled Short Circuit, is currently in development with no release date yet set. Edit

  • While it may have been the intention of the filmmakers to depict Beasley as missing his left front leg, thus accentuating Stephanie's love for stray animals, that leg can be seen prominently on Stephanie's shoulder when Beasley jumps off the roof into her arms. Edit

  • All five SAINT robots are seen at the beginning of the movie during the presentation ceremony. #1 accompanied Newton and Ben when they went looking for Stephanie and #5. Robots #1, #2, and #3 were later sent by NOVA to disarm and capture #5, but #5 wound up turning them into the Three Stooges. #4 is not seen again in the movie. Most viewers assume that Skroeder simply chose to leave #4 behind at the facility, either because he figured that they didn't need four robots to bring in #5 or because he wanted to have one prototype left if something went wrong with the others. Edit

  • NOVA and the Army, armed with M16 rifles and 40mm grenade launchers, descend on Newton, Stephanie, and #5. Newton and Stephanie agree to come out of the van but plead with them not to harm #5. Suddenly, the back of the van opens up and #5 begins running away. The military open fires on him, blasting him to bits as Stephanie and Newton watch with horror. Even Marner, who wanted #5 captured in one piece, is angered by the destruction of years of research and fires Skroeder. The remains of #5 are returned to NOVA, and Stephanie and Newton sadly drive away together in the NOVA van. Having quit his job with NOVA, Newton mentions moving to Montana where his dad has left him 40 acres. "Great idea!", says a familiar voice from the back of the van. Turns out that #5 made a duplicate of himself from spare parts in the van and used it as a decoy. In the final scene, Johnny 5 drives the van while Newton and Stephanie discuss moving themselves, Johnny 5, and all of Stephanie's animals to Montana. Edit

  • Special Effects expert Eric Allard designed, built and often operated Johnny 5, which is technically not a robot but a remotely operated vehicle. Edit



The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • Newton Crosbie is a robotics scientist working for Nova Robotics and he designed, programmed and built Number 5 and the other robots with friend and co-worker Ben Jahrvi. Crosby disapproved of his boss Dr. Howard Marner using his robots for violent military use. Crosbie disbelieved Stephanie's claim that Number 5 had become sentient and believed Number 5 was malfunctioning due to being struck by lightning. After Number 5 kidnapped him, Crosby decided to test Number 5 to see if Stephanie's claim is true, he told a joke and Number 5 laughed and it convinced Crosby that Number 5 is sentient and that Stephane told the truth. After the cynical chief of security Captain Skroeder disobeyed a direct order from Dr. Marner and had Number 5 destroyed. Crosbie quit and drove away with Stephanie and Crosbie was surprised when it was revealed Number 5 wasn't destroyed and was hiding in the truck and Crosbie worked out that Number 5 built a duplicate of himself and used it as a decoy. Edit

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