An exploration of the careers of four unrelated professionals: a lion tamer, a robotics expert, a topiary gardener, and a naked mole rat specialist.


Errol Morris
11 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Dave Hoover ... Self (Wild Animal Trainer)
George Mendonça ... Self (Topiary Gardener)
Raymond A. Mendez ... Self (Mole-Rat Specialist) (as Ray Mendez)
Rodney Brooks ... Self - Robot Scientist


What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this unconventional documentary directed by Erroll Morris. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (Referring to the robot specialist's strange philosophy of robot design structure, not Erroll Morris's documentary techniques!) interplays, overlaps, and interrelates these four separate and highly specialized documentary subjects in order to in truth study all of humanity, raising questions about the future of mankind. Written by Matthew F. Griffin

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Discussed in Episode 97 of the popular radio program This American Life. The subject was "Death to Wacky" and it originally aired on March 20, 1998. See more »


[Why build robots]
Rodney Brooks, Robot Scientist: I think there's some deeper-seated thing which crosses the sex boundary of understanding life by building something that is lifelike.
See more »


Features The Deadly Mantis (1957) See more »

User Reviews

A fascinating study of the nature of life and intelligence
4 September 1999 | by day vSee all my reviews

Don't believe the folks who say this film is about the thin line between genius and madness. That may be part of it, but it's far from what's important here. The real loot here is FC&OOC's exploration of the "other", and our attempts to understand, shape and control it. Humans have a fascination with the nature of life and intelligence--whether it comes in the form of wild animals, plants in a garden or robots developing in a lab--and the ways we approach these things reveal as much about subject as object. This film does a beautiful job of highlighting the mystery inherent in living and/or intelligent things, evoking the awe we feel when we regard them, and the questions that arise when we attempt to study, cultivate, contain or "tame" them.

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Release Date:

3 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fast, Cheap & Out of Control See more »

Filming Locations:

Portsmouth, Rhode Island, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,665, 5 October 1997

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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