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The Andromeda Strain (1971)

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A group of scientists investigate a deadly new alien virus before it can spread.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Michael Crichton (novel), Nelson Gidding (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Hill ... Dr. Jeremy Stone
David Wayne ... Dr. Charles Dutton
James Olson ... Dr. Mark Hall
Kate Reid ... Dr. Ruth Leavitt
Paula Kelly ... Karen Anson
George Mitchell ... Jackson
Ramon Bieri ... Major Manchek
Kermit Murdock ... Dr. Robertson
Richard O'Brien Richard O'Brien ... Grimes
Peter Hobbs ... General Sparks
Eric Christmas ... Senator from Vermont
Mark Jenkins Mark Jenkins ... Lt. Shawn (Piedmont team)
Peter Helm ... Sgt. Crane (Piedmont team)
Joe Di Reda Joe Di Reda ... Wildfire Computer Sgt. Burk (as Joe DiReda)
Carl Reindel Carl Reindel ... Lt. Comroe
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Storyline

When virtually all of the residents of Piedmont, New Mexico, are found dead after the return to Earth of a space satellite, the head of the US Air Force's Project Scoop declares an emergency. Many years prior to this incident, a group of eminent scientists led by Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill) advocated for the construction of a secure laboratory facility that would serve as a base in the event an alien biological life form was returned to Earth from a space mission. Stone and his team - Drs. Dutton, Leavitt and Hall (David Wayne, Kate Reid, and James Olson, respectively)- go to the facility, known as Wildfire, and try to first isolate the life form while determining why two people from Piedmont (an old wino and a six-month-old baby) survived. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Rated G...But May Be Too INTENSE For Younger Children See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Andromeda - Tödlicher Staub aus dem All See more »

Filming Locations:

Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In September, 1972, Universal was exhibiting this on a double bill with Airport (1970) under the tag line "Together On One Great Family Program". See more »

Goofs

Dr. Dutton passes Andromeda from one rat to another to prove it spreads by air. This test is pointless, since they already proved airborne transmission using the first rat and the monkey. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Ruth Leavitt: Why'd they pick Hall? He's no scientist. Who needs an overpriced MD?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits read: "ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This film concerns the four-day history of a major American scientific crisis. We received the generous help of many people attached to Project Scoop at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Wildfire Laboratory in Flatrock, Nevada. They encouraged us to tell the story accurately and in detail." "The documents presented here are soon to be made public. They do not in any way jeopardize the national security." See more »

Alternate Versions

The VHS version deletes a few scenes of the "searching the town" scene, including a shot of a topless young woman lying in bed. See more »

Connections

Version of The Andromeda Strain (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

You alread know how it ends
13 December 1999 | by Joe EeeeSee all my reviews

And yet, you just can't help yourself. Under Robert Wise's direction, this tale of microbiological Armageddon unfolds with such perfectly metered suspense that by the 100th viewing, you STILL find yourself glued to your couch. You HAVE to see how it turns out, even though you already know.

Although the film is well over 20 years old, and the computer equipment at the Wildfire laboratory shows its age, this is a perfect change-of-pace film for any movie monster fan. Heck, you've probably already let your kids see the bloody carnage in "Jurassic Park" anyway.

Instead of the usual radioactive mutated towering apparition that flattens cities and topples skyscrapers, the monster in "The Andromeda Strain" is so tiny, it takes powerful electron microscopes to see it. The average movie monster can only cause damage wherever he can stomp, smash or exhale a blast of fiery breath. Andromeda has the potential to be carried to every corner of the world by the winds, where it could conceivably wipe out all life. Try to top THAT, Godzilla!

The real star of the film is Wildfire itself. A government facility located (we thought) safely away from populated areas, it bristles with everything a microbiologist needs to avert a biological disaster. . .or does it?

Seeking an unprecedented realism, director Robert Wise insisted that everything on the set be real, from the computer terminals (with their quaint light pens) all the way to the electron microscopes. The Wildfire set is every microbiologist's dream come true and it's populated by a quartet of actors!

Since the presence of a big-name star might blunt the impact of this high-tech visual feast, Wise carefully assembled a cast of fine actors who just don't happen to be household names. Without rehashing the characterizations, we'll just say that Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson and Kate Reid couldn't possibly have been more perfect for their roles. With a less competent cast, "The Andromeda Strain" could have degenerated into a parody of itself. This is gritty work, saving the world from biological annihilation. It takes real ACTORS, not just pretty-boy movie stars!

Go ahead. Be scared out of your wits by something so tiny, you can't even see it. I dare you to try and get up before it's over.


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