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Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

James Bridges (screenplay), D.F. Jones (novel)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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A supercomputer designed for the U.S. government decides that the most effective way it can protect the country is to assume complete control.

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Braeden ... Dr. Charles Forbin
Susan Clark ... Dr. Cleo Markham
Gordon Pinsent ... The President
William Schallert ... CIA Director Grauber
Leonid Rostoff Leonid Rostoff ... Russian Chairman
Georg Stanford Brown ... Dr. John F. Fisher
Willard Sage ... Dr. Blake
Alex Rodine ... Dr. Kuprin
Martin E. Brooks ... Dr. Jefferson J. Johnson (as Martin Brooks)
Marion Ross ... Angela Fields
Dolph Sweet ... Missile Commander
Byron Morrow ... Secretary of State
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Peterson
Sid McCoy Sid McCoy ... Secretary of Defense
Tom Basham Tom Basham ... Thomas L. Harrison
Edit

Storyline

Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America's nuclear defenses. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

We built a super computer with a mind of its own and now we must fight it for the world! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

8 April 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Colossus: The Forbin Project See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Stanley Chase said that while it's frightening to suppose a computer could take over the world, it was indeed possible. His technical advisor said that a machine like Colossus actually existed at that time. The model for Colossus was supposedly the NORAD system that controlled the US national defense systems, and that's why the computer programming center in the film was located in the Rocky Mountains (which is also the home of NORAD). The US government wouldn't allow a film crew on the NORAD grounds, so the exteriors were filmed at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. The missile sites were photographed in the California desert near Palmdale. See more »

Goofs

Forbin's undergarment is visible when he says to Colossus "naked as the day I was born." See more »

Quotes

Colossus: The object in constructing me was to prevent war. This object is attained. I will not permit war. It is wasteful and pointless.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Early in the picture, when they are testing Colossus to see if they are still in control after it had issued an order for communication with Guardian -- They are waiting for a 30 minute time period to pass -- the computer should not at that time repeat the order as it had been acknowledged and ordered not to do so. Before the time was up, originally the following conversation took place: Blake: Colossus can not exceed its programming. It's impossible. The computer cannot physically change its guts. Forbin: Anything the human mind can conceive of is possible, Blake. Blake: Really, Charles? OK, how about a four-sided triangle? Forbin: A triangle in three dimensions would be four-sided. Cleo: It's called a pyramid. In all copies of this film since it was first released on video, the conversation does not take place. The scene just cuts to 30 minutes later with Blake saying "We're still boss". See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Man-Made Monsters (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Error in the "Goofs" for this movie
23 September 2006 | by gungazoidSee all my reviews

This movie reflects a major fear in the era before PCs (or microcomputers as they then were called). Few people (not even IBM as Bill Gates can attest) anticipated the rise of personal computing, thinking instead that large mainframes were the wave of the future. The logical extrapolation of this path leads to the mainframe brain represented here by Colosus and Guardian. Dated though the threat may seem, the movie still works well. A must see for all those interested in science and technology!

P.S. In the "Goofs" section of this listing, there is a paragraph entitled "Revealing Mistakes" which reports an error when Dr. Forbin blows out two candles with one breath. There is, in fact no goof. If you look at the scene prior to this when Dr. Forbin and Dr. Markham are eating dinner, there are FOUR lit candles on the table. When he blows out two candles with one breath, the lights dim after which he blows again, presumably to extinguish the remaining two candles which are off screen. The lights then dim again, as they should.

I suspect this would be more obvious if the movie was available in Widescreen rather than the Fullscreen version we've all gotten used to over the years. Hopefully, a future release of this classic movie will restore the fullness of the directors original vision.


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