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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

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608 ( 15)
Top Rated Movies #89 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Daniel Richter ...
...
...
...
Sean Sullivan ...
Douglas Rain ...
HAL 9000 (voice)
Frank Miller ...
Bill Weston ...
...
Aries-1B Lunar Shuttle Captain (as Edward Bishop)
Glenn Beck ...
Alan Gifford ...
...
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Storyline

"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be. Written by Larry Cousins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Let the Awe and Mystery of a Journey Unlike Any Other Begin See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

How the Solar System Was Won  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$56,715,371 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical release) | (initial release)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (70 mm prints)| (2001 re-release)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film leaves it mysterious, early script drafts made clear that HAL's breakdown is triggered by authorities on Earth who order him to withhold information from the astronauts about the purpose of the mission (this is also explained in 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)). Frederick Ordway, Stanley Kubrick's science advisor and technical consultant, stated that in an earlier script Poole tells HAL there is "... something about this mission that we weren't told. Something the rest of the crew knows and that you know. We would like to know whether this is true", to which HAL responds: "I'm sorry, Frank, but I don't think I can answer that question without knowing everything that all of you know." HAL then falsely predicts a failure of the hardware maintaining radio contact with Earth (the source of HAL's difficult orders) during the broadcast of Frank Poole's birthday greetings from his parents.

The final script removed this explanation, but it is hinted at when HAL asks David Bowman if Bowman is bothered by the "oddities" and "tight security" surrounding the mission. After Bowman concludes that HAL is dutifully drawing up the "crew psychology report", the computer makes his false prediction of hardware failure. Another hint occurs at the moment of HAL's deactivation when a video reveals the purpose of the mission.

In an interview with Joseph Gelmis in 1969, Kubrick stated that HAL "had an acute emotional crisis because he could not accept evidence of his own fallibility". See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Floyd has finished flipping through photographs on his way to the TMA-1 moon base, during the cut where he says "Deliberately buried," he is holding a different photograph from the one he is holding in the preceding and succeeding shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Aries-1B stewardess: Here you are, sir, main level please.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Thus Spake Zarathustra" is the only musical piece in the film whose conductor and orchestra are not mentioned in the closing credits. For all other pieces, the orchestra which plays it, and the conductor who leads it, are given screen credit. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rugrats: Tommy's First Birthday (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Atmospheres
(1961)
Music by György Ligeti
Performed by Southwest German Radio Orchestra (as the Southwest German Radio Orchestra)
Conductor Ernest Bour
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My brief review of the film
3 January 2005 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

A whimsical, often spectacular view of a future in which advances in technology dominate the world. It is well shot and although slow-moving it is intense and enjoyable throughout. The featuring of classical music to establish atmosphere works brilliantly; it provides a feeling of awe, mystery and intrigue – the same aura that Walt Disney worked in creating 'Fantasia'. The special effects, both sound and visual, are still spellbinding by the standards of today's technology. Aside from the technical pluses of the film, it stands strong as it is one of not many films out there that has something important to say about humankind, and where the human race is heading in terms of our increasing reliance on machines and our unquenchable thirst to discover. Despite an ending that is hard to understand, it is even harder to overlook this film a true cinema classic.


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