The Andromeda Strain (1971) Poster

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A Sci-Fi with a capital "S".
haggar22 May 2004
I have always been attracted by science, since my early childhood. I remember seeing this movie and being fascinated by the science and technology on display in it. Today, as a MSC EE, I can see that the science in "Andromeda Strain" is accurate. In fact, it's the most accurate of all Sci-Fi movies I have ever seen (and I have seen the great majority of Sci-Fi cinema).

That's one reason I love this movie.

But there are other, probably subjective reasosn for my adulation of "Andromeda Strain": believable people and believable situations (no "last microsecond decision/action/occurance", no over-the-top behaviour, just human quirkyness, no one-man-does-it-all but teamwork and birth of ideas) and the avoidance of the cliche of only-1-will-survive. So, yes, I liked the script a lot.

I also thought the actors were good and the setting was brilliant. I am not put off by dated computer technology: the film clearly illustrates the computing capabilities at the beginning of the '70, and I find something educative and strangely reassuring in that.

I give it 10/10, and am sad that nobody produced a Sci-Fi as scientificly accurate ever since.
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Near Perfect
henry-girling20 March 2003
Robert Wise is an under rated director but in his body of work are such gems as 'The Body Snatcher', 'The Set-Up', 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', 'Odds Against Tomorrow', 'The Haunting', 'West Side Story', 'I Want to Live!' and on its own terms, 'The Sound of Music'. He managed to make genre films more interesting and watchable than other more celebrated directors.

'The Andromeda Strain' is an engrossing film from beginning to end. It is science fiction, alien virus comes to earth type thing, but has more depth than just that. The scientists, played very well by Arthur Hill, David Wayne, Kate Reid and James Olson, are fallible and have real emotions. Yet in them is a longing to know, to discover, to solve. Most popular cinema celebrate the fist or the gun but part of the excitement of this film is the use of the intellect to tackle the problem. Brains and not brawn is key.

The early scenes in the town of Piedmont are fascinating. Nothing dramatic, only small details adding up to a large tragedy. Restrained film making is not common but in this case it is really effective. After these scenes the film moves on as fear and wonder grip the scientists to a satisfying conclusion.

The electronic music is just right, the sets are atmospheric, the hard ware plausible and the photography simple and effective. A mention should be made of Paula Kelly as a nurse, an excellent actor and shamefully under used in films. (She is great in 'Sweet Charity' too.)In a supporting role she gives an intelligent, spirited performance.

A near perfect film. Hopefully no one will re-make it.
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The finest example of how to make science-fiction movies
danila_123 December 2002
The Andromeda Strain is virtually perfect. And it doesn't need the special effects of Alien to succeed in telling the similar story of alien life and our contact with it. The movie is captivating right from the starting credits that introduce us to story. Of course, the director had a brilliant novel of Michael Crichton, but he also did his best to bring this novel to the screen sacrificing neither the main idea, nor the minor details. Actually, all the details that mark every scientific thriller by Crichton are there in the film. The Andromeda Strain doesn't have any dinosaurs, it only has a small virus, but overall it is a much better film than any of the Jurassic Parks. And it succeeds in telling us a great story about science much better than some modern CGI-filled movies like Invisible Man.

Finally, the acting is flawless, the actors are great, sets are excellent. If you want to see a great sci-fi movie, choose this one and you want be disappointed.
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You alread know how it ends
Joe Eeee13 December 1999
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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Love this film
mentalist28 September 2004
I really love this film, and its funny because most people Complain about its slow pace, but I believe that this is one of the reasons that the film is so good, and pace does build up towards the end.

I understand that this film isn't for everybody, but I am a Michael Crichton fan, and I enjoy the way he introduces his sci-fi characters into his novels.

I agree with other user comments that this film was way before its time, and disagree with others who don't seem to be able to differentiate between the music and the sounds in the film.

The film has so many qualities, and is a must see for any sci-fi fan.

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Great hardcore sci-fi. Crichton's best
mstomaso3 July 2005
The 1970s were a time before some of the "intelligentsia" of American culture began to abandon rationality and reject science on pseudo-ethical grounds. Unsurprisingly, then, 1970s sci-fi is often better informed by science than the sci-fi of later decades, and it is also often more thoughtful and intelligently written. The Andromeda Strain is one of the best hardcore sci fi epics from a decade which brought us such genre classics as 2001, Solyaris, Silent Running, and the original Rollerball. Unlike most of these films, however, Andromeda Strain does not strain believability beyond its bounds, nor does it indulge in metaphysical tangentializing or philosophical moralizing.

Developed from what I consider to be Michael Crichton's best book, the Andromeda Strain takes its cue directly from the hard realism of that book, along with its documentary style and scientific background research. Though aspects of the plot defy biological probability, if not law, almost the entire film is plausible. Also borrowed from Crichton's writing is the general point the film attempts to make - one which is present in nearly all of Crichton's work - that along with technological advance comes risk. Fortunately, however, this story does not reach the near-paranoid levels of technophobia which sometimes appear in later works.

A great ensemble cast full of not easily recognized character actors represent a team of scientists called together to contain and manage a deadly virus-like organism which has arrived on a crashed space research probe. The virus has already wiped out an entire town, and now the scientists must work at a breakneck, sleepless, pace to determine what the organism is, how it spreads and grows, and how it can be killed or contained. Their only major clues, it seems, are an old man and a baby who survived the initial outbreak. To avoid spoilers, I will avoid any further details regarding the plot.

The only aspect of the film which really seems dated is the strange electronic soundtrack, which, at times, seems more derivative of 1950s sci-fi than more modern stuff. Suffice to say that this is one of the best uses of the 'as-it-happens' documentary film-making style. The entire film is delivered in a very refreshingly straightforward manner, with believable dialog, actors that look like real people, and a pace that builds constantly from start to finish.

Highly recommended.
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well what a surprise this is!
gerritjankoster18 January 2004
I saw this movie quite a while ago, but it made a cracking impression on me. Really if you like 60/70 sci-fi movies this is definitely the movie youve been searching for. Brilliant camerawork ,acting, scenary. And the story is so *****in good. Its too bad they dont make these anymore nowadays.

Believe me if i tell you that im a very critical moviefanatic but this movie is really the best sci-fi movie after A space Odyssey 2001.

9+ / 10 GREAT!!!!

Well on second hand 10 / 10
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Spleen19 May 2000
Easily - EASILY - the best film Michael Crichton has had anything to do with. (That is, of the ones I've seen. For the record, the rest are: `Westworld', `The First Great Train Robbery', `Disclosure', `Jurassic Park', `Twister', and `Congo', although I've never made it to the end of `Congo'.) Does this say something about Crichton's career, or the state of film-making, or neither? Can't say.

Whatever - this is pretty darned good science fiction. Sure, it has the vices we've come to expect: scientists with a tendency to act like the crew of the Enterprise, and central protagonists who begin the film by swimming through treacle and end it by leaping tall buildings in a single bound. As for the former problem, well, it's not so bad here as it usually is. As for the latter, well, it's easy to forgive, because we're put through a very tense ride before our heroes crawl out of the treacle - even afterwards. They don't make films this tense these days. Or at least, this particular film would have been less tense if it had been made these days. I don't think a modern director would have resisted the temptation to goof off at some point.

THAT'S part of the charm. The film's idea of how scientists behave is rather a silly one, but at least the scientists aren't forced to act GOOFY in order to show that scientists are really human, after all - as if there was any need to show this. And I'll say this: whatever the scientists were like, the SCIENCE is much more intelligent than a modern public has any right to expect. So far as I could tell (not that I'm an expert in anything) it only stretches into fantasy when it needs to. Wise gives us information, and plenty of it - not techno-babble.

I've heard people snicker at the thirty-year-old look of the film, but I think they're nuts. The art direction is wonderful. In a way it does the same thing as the original Star Trek: it creates a coherent, claustrophobic world by force of sheer simplicity. But to see `The Andromeda Strain' is to see it done WELL.
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Excellent, and ahead of its time.
ptmail22 September 2004
From the day I first saw this movie back when it first came out, it has stuck in my mind for over 30 odd years. Kind of makes you think about how many of the same facilities the government has and has had in operation doing the same functions. New military toys, area 51 and on and on.

A very well made movie that has etched itself into my mind. keeps you thinking and watching the movie keeps you glued to your seat.

I would advice anyone that has not viewed this movie to give it a shot. These same type of facilities are all over the world, the question is how many are really as secure as they were designed to be.

Just like in the movie there always could be some unknown or alien substances that cannot be contained, or might just feed on the materials used to restrain them.
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They wouldn't make it today
rmax3048237 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
It reminds me a bit of "The Forbin Project" in that it presents us with a puzzle that needs solving by intellectual means, and with a problem that has momentous overtones. They wouldn't make it today. Look at the cast. Arthur HILL? Kate REID? They'd need DeCaprio and Roberts at least. And "angstrom units"? And not a single gun or punch in the mouth? And the bomb doesn't EXPLODE? No, no, no -- all wrong.

Well, the movie IS dated, true, but not in ways that count. I can handle the fact that clerks still use typewriters instead of PCs. I can live with the awe that is supposed to be instilled in us when we watch somebody use the mechanical hands. And the references to "love ins", and "SDS", and "protest marches," and the notion that the collection of deadly organisms from space may have been deliberately carried out by the DOD. (I forget who objected to that implication but I don't find it the least implausible, not anymore.)

The story proceeds logically, step by step, through the introduction of the characters (with Kate Reid providing some welcome Thelma-Ritter-type comic relief), the introduction of the organism (if that's the proper word), and the identification of its nature. Never for a moment does the script lapse into mumbo-jumbo. We're never lost. We always know who's doing what, and why.

And in the age of ebola, AIDS, and SARS, I think we can forget about the fact that some of the technology is dated, because the issue certainly isn't.

On the other hand, I wish the end had never come, because the movie completely implodes during its last ten minutes or so, by deus ex machina. I mean, here these guys are, working like hell to solve a problem, and when they're just about to do it, the problem goes away by itself and is completely forgotten. Instead we have a conventional chase scene. Can James Olsen stop the nuclear device from detonating, while alarm bells ring and a recorded voice counts down the minutes and seconds, and automatic lasers are shooting at him? Are you kidding? The Wildfire station may not be destroyed but the heretofor well-constructed story is.

Still, this is worth seeing, for a number of different reasons. One of the main ones is that they so rarely make 'em like this anymore.
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Treading a thin line between science fiction and science fact
virek21315 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Based on Michael Crichton's first novel, THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, released in 1971, is a long but constantly intriguing science fiction drama whose concerns verge very close to science fact.

The movie concerns a satellite that crashes back to Earth, carrying with it an unknown but deadly organism. All but two (a drunk, and an infant) of the sixty-eight residents of the tiny town of Piedmont, New Mexico have been killed by the organism. It is up to a team of scientists working at an underground lab in the Nevada desert known as Wildfire to study and, if possible, eliminate the bug.

Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, and Kate Reid are the quartet of scientists who are given the task to learn more about this space organism. At Wildfire, they have all the equipment they could possibly need, including a nuclear device that is set to go off should the lab become contaminated. They learn, however, that the bug, code-named Andromeda, actually works like a reactor, changing matter into energy and vice versa. This means that the nuclear device meant to destroy it would only enhance it and spread it all over so that the human race will never be rid of it.

The nightmare they feared comes true, as Wildfire becomes contaminated. With only a five-minute delay between activation and self-destruction, Olson is given the task to get to a shutoff switch. He struggles but manages to prevent the unthinkable...with eight seconds to spare.

Brilliantly directed by Robert Wise, whose 1951 film THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is one of the genre's all time greats, THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN is highly entertaining and strikingly intelligent, with a suspenseful climax. The four lead actors, neither of whom were big names, do extremely good work, giving this film a realism not found in many other films of the genre. The Wildfire lab is as accurate and realistic as anything today's production designers could come up with. Furthermore, the technology doesn't seem too terribly dated despite the film's obvious age. This is because of the innovative special effects work of Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY), James Shourt, and Albert Whitlock (THE BIRDS).

Rated 'G', though 'PG' would be more accurate (some scenes are frightening), THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN remains a significant film of the sci-fi genre as it confronts the increasing realities about biological war and contamination. Dated or not, it is a very prescient piece.
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This is one of my favorite movies.
dwezel21 March 2001
First of all, I must confess that I am a Si-Fi nut. I've seen lots of Si-Fi movies and The Andromeda Strain is definately in my top five. The plot is very interesting in that it deals with a microscopic organism from outer space that is brought back to Earth by a satellite. The cast is outstanding, especially Arthur Hill who plays the leader of the research team. One of the great things about the movie is that it moves right along. So many movies seem to lag, especially at the beginning as the characters are being introduced. However, in this movie, even the beginning is exciting. I've watched this movie over and over, and never seem to get tired of it. It's just plain fun.
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One of the Best
ace-10512 May 1999
This movie is an older movie, but it is still great.The plot is very exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat with its twists.The characters aren't perfect and that makes them more real.There have been better sci-fi movies made,but it is quite entertaining to watch on a carefree weekend.
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The DEFINITIVE Sci-Fi Classic!
zabelardo3 June 2007
This is clearly Michael Crichton's finest work. The visionary, forward-thinking of Crichton, is remarkable- as evidenced in this film. Robert Wise' direction is superbly innovative, for its' time even. In addition, Douglas Trumbull's special effects warrants very special recognition, simply because his work was done entirely without the aid of advanced computer graphics(did not exist, in 1971). This is also the very first time I have ever seen computer touch-screen graphics demonstrated! I find this film 100% accurate- in terms of plot, story, technology and characters. The underlying theme of science fiction, meeting science fact- paints a very plausible occurrence in our foreseeable future(and NO- not a single animal was harmed during filming!)

This film was a result of bright minds, teamwork, and the dedicated acting of all actors involved- especially James Olson, and Kate Reid. I have always admired Arthur Hill's performances on television, back in the bygone days, when television was really worth watching.

I consider this film one of the few remaining, "G-rated" drama/thrillers, and highly recommended in every science-fiction fans' DVD collection, along with, "2001-A Space Odyssey," "Star Wars," "Soylent Green," and "Alien".
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A real science fiction movie
guillaumep4 September 2001
If you are a science fiction fan, have a brain and more than six years old (well ok maybe seven), see this movie. It is as simple as that! One of my classics. As a scientist, it's one of the most belivable movie I have ever seen.
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big_bellied_geezer5 January 2001
I have seen this film several times thru the years, both on television and video, and I feel it has done a remarkable job of holding up to it original premise of displaying the scientific process and realistic human interactions between the major players as the story unfolds. It is easy to say the film looks dated, that is inevitable with the passage of time and should not be a point of criticism. The casting is also done with intelligence, the use of good solid actors instead of going for the biggest names/prettiest faces of the time is a courageous choice and one I seldom see done nowdays for a major budget film like this. I also feel the pacing of the story is realistic and good, and it dosen't sell out with a cheap and unbelievable ending either. This is one of the great films that brings up many issues which the intelligent and patient viewer can still find relevance in and ponder upon.
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An actually scientific science fiction
dcorr12327 July 2000
Science fiction is, by definition, fiction based on science. Most movie/TV science fiction usually plays loose with scientific accuracy. Michael Crichton, a Harvard Medical School graduate, does a much better job. There may not be enough "action" for modern audiences but that's because the action is intellectual, not physical. And yes, the personality conflicts and foibles displayed actually are normal among scientific teams.
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Frighteningly absorbing piece of fiction that's fused with fact.
Spikeopath14 March 2008
A satellite from the SCOOP project has crashed into the desert town of Piedmont, the SCOOP project basically entails that the satellite scoops outer space for any alien micro-organisms. After the crash all the residents of Piedmont are killed with the exception of a baby and an old gentleman booze hound. Mankind is on the verge of being destroyed by a leaked alien virus, so a crack team of scientists are gathered in the hope of containing and understanding the virus before the world gets devoid of human life!

Taken from the novel by Michael Crichton, this film is a wonderful lesson in tension building as we follow the scientists through a carefully structured sci-fi plot that will eventually become a race against time thriller. What makes The Andromeda Strain stand out against other genre pieces is the astute and believable approach to the subject matter, we are (in the main) in the presence of proper scientists. There's no super hero tricks forthcoming from these people, these are sensible honest intelligent folk using their combined knowledge to hopefully save the planet? A masterstroke from the makers is that they used largely unknown actors for the film, this gives the story an added grounded believable factor, thus a very useful way of drawing the audience into the drama unfolding. The direction from Robert Wise is very clued in for serio narrative drive, the set design for the underground research facility is top notch, and the actors all give stoic and intelligent performances.

However, it's not without a niggle, for after the excellence of the films first two thirds, it's disappointing to find that the final act reverts to type, which somehow seems misplaced given what the viewer has just been through. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine sequence of events that fuels the dramatic slant, but it comes off as just a bit too glossy in light of the preceding structure. Still, The Andromeda Strain is an intelligent, smart, mature, and knowing film that is standing the test of time for being a great piece of science fiction cinema. 8/10
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Sci Fi then, is it reality now?
lawson43334 January 2007
I agree with my other science fiction buddies, this is a very good movie. The story is very believable, but the acting needed tweaked just a little bit. The process in which they hunt for the little bugger is interesting, and probably true to form, at least it looks like they know what their doing. All the while, you can't keep from asking yourself "What are they gonna do if this thing gets loose"? When the old crow first went into duh mode, you knew bad things were gonna happen. While the movie is over 40 years old, and it shows in the cars and aircraft they use, it is still a movie you have to pause to go potty, cause you don't want to miss a minute. In fact, enjoy the old mans attitude, the snips between P.H.D.'s, the secrecy of Wildfire, and don't forget, N.A.S.A. just brought back a probe that did this very thing.
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Shows its Age ??? What ???
triplem334 September 2005
OK. I'm reading these reviews and I keep seeing the same things. Its shows its age. What ? That's like saying the aircraft in a WWII movie show their age. Of course it shows its age - this was the 1970s. Did you expect to see Pentium 4s with DVD Drives? If thats you main criticism then the movie must be good.

It is good. Probably one of the most realistic and suspenseful movies of its kind ever made. Though PURSUIT was pretty good as well. Robert Wise does a very good job of building the story in a leisurely pace that keep you rivetted. I've seen the movie now about a dozen times and it still keeps me interested. Its not one of those movies where you can stop it and watch the remainder the next day. It has to watched in one sitting. I think the casting of ordinary Joes in the leads was very telling. This is a story about science not about characters.

It will be interesting to see what they will do with the remake. Obviously the story is still relevant today - maybe even more so then in the late 60s.
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They don't make movies like this anymore!
Boba_Fett113814 October 2003
These "old" science fiction movies always have a certain special tension and atmosphere like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Capricorn One". Something I sometimes miss in todays movies.

Sure the pace is slow, especially the beginning but that's what helps to build up the tension. It certainly makes the race against time ending even more suspenseful.

The style of the movie can be called unique. Especially the camera work and editing. It's very experimental, almost Brain De Palma like and I like it a lot. It makes the movie's style special and unique and it adds to the atmosphere.

The story is good and is told in such a way that it actually becomes to some extend believable. With the exception of some clichéd moments and the ending. The movie begins slow and mysterious and builds up the tension extremely well, while the ending itself is quite spectacular and fast. This also makes the movie special and worth remembering. Some of the scene's you will never forget. The virus itself (the adromeda strain) is pretty scary and disturbing, mainly because you don't know what it is or what it does and how it can be stopped.

There are also some nice character played by not so well known actors. What's great about the characters is that they all feel very human and not perfect. I like the fact that they don't all like each other and don't always agree.

A classic science fiction/thriller that deserves to be better known.

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What Do We Do in a Biological Crisis? … STOP
claudio_carvalho26 November 2006
When the capsule of the Scoop Mission returns to Earth and lands in the small town of Piedmont, it brings a mutant living being and all the population, except a crying baby and an old man with ulcer, dies with clotted blood. A team of five scientists – the leader Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill), Dr. Charles Dutton (David Wayne), Dr. Mark Hall (James Olson), Dr. Ruth Leavitt (Kate Reid) and Dr. Kirkie – are summoned and gathered together in the top secret Wildfire facility. Fighting against time, they try to understand the reason why the old man and the baby survived and research an antidote to Andromeda, the ultimate biological weapon.

"The Andromeda Strain" was a successful, believable and scary sci-fi in the beginning of the 70's, in the top of the cold war and the American imperialism in Latin American and Vietnam. The suspenseful story is very well directed and acted, using split screens that were common in the 70's. The technology of robotic and mecatronics shown in the research facility is ahead of time. In 1951, Robert Wise made one of the best sci-fi movies I have ever seen, "The Day the Earth Stood Still", with a message of peace. Twenty years later, he gives another example of the importance of peace on Earth. If the viewer pays attention in the end of the movie to the discussion of the scientists about what might be done in a biological crisis, he or she will see the last word of the computer after analyzing the data: "STOP". My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Enigma de Andrômeda" ("The Enigma of Andromeda")
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Engaging and interesting film about a team of scientific investigate a deadly new alien virus from outer space before it can spread with unexpected consequences
ma-cortes10 September 2018
In "The Andromeda Strain," a U.S. military satellite crashes in a small town in New Mexico and unleashes a deadly plague killing all but two survivors . As the military quarantines the area , a team of highly specialized scientists is assembled to find a cure to the pathogen code-named "Andromeda," . The team of scientists formed by Arthur Hill : Dr. Jeremy Stone , David Wayne : Dr. Charles Dutton , James Olson : Dr. Mark Hall and Kate Reid : Dr. Ruth Leavitt , all of them are assembled in a high-tech, underground facility to identify and defeat the "enemy" before it is too late. As the threat must be identified in time to save the population from extermination .

Based on Michael Chricton classic novel , providing thrills and chills with no much sense and slow-moving due to a excessive scientific data . This is based on Michael Chricton novel , compellingly adapted by Robert Wise with a good cast , such as Arthur Hill, James Olsen , Paula Kelly , David Wayne , Kate Reid . It deals with a strange satellite falling back to earth carrying a deadly bacteria , as a crack team experiences strong difficulties as it becomes clear that the satellite has performed its intended function all too well, and has brought back something from space . This Sci-Fi yarn hits hard in the creepy beginning when an U.S. Army satellite falls to earth near Piedmont and population being destroyed , and in the hair-raising climax , as an extremely exciting ending , in fact , it is worthy of a typical action/thriller movie . However , the tension and suspense inherent in the bestselling Chricton novel is talked down by excessive changes from original book and a decent but unknown cast , without popular stars . After a splendidly traditional opening set piece , the message about the risks of scientific research starts to loom ponderously large with banks of super-computers dedicated to investigation as well as inclusion some weird elements and fantastic bacteria or bacillus . As you'll perch on the very edge of the armchair when protagonists fight against time assailed by the Andrómeda Strain and to disarm the self-destruct device before it can trigger itself off . Acceptable support cast such as Paula Kelly , Eric Christmas , George Mitchell , Ramon Bieri , Lance Fuller , Peter Hobbs , Richard Bull , and Crichton makes a cameo appearance in a non-speaking role

Impressive production design , in fact , the Wildfire scientific lab sets were described at the time as "one of the most elaborately detailed interiors ever built" . Weird but adequate Musical score from Gil Melle is highly commendable. Colorful cinematography in Technicolor and Panavision by Richard H Kline . Filmed in 1970, not released until 1971. Being filmed on location in Shafter, Texas, Red Rock Canyon State Park California , Alamogordo, New Mexico and Universal Studios . It was a moderate box office success. Produced on a relatively high budget of $6.5 million, the film grossed $12,376,563 in North America . Financed and released by Universal and well directed by Robert Wise who never lets the action sag .Wise was a good director who made films in all kinds of genres , nowadays , some of them considered classic movies , such as : Musical : West side story , The sound of music ; SciFi: The day the Earth stood , Andromeda strain , Star Trek the motion picture ; Terror : The haunting , The body snatchers, , Audrey Rose , Curse of cat people ; Wartime : Run silent Run deep , The Desert Rats ; Historical : Helen of Troy ; Western : Tribute to a bad man ; Drama : I want to live , The Set-up , among others

Followed by an inferior TV remake, a fair-to-middling rendition , as an eponymous miniseries executive-produced by Ridley and Tony Scott and Frank Darabont, and directed by Michael Salomon . It was originally exhibited as a two-part miniseries , but has also been edited into 4 different parts intended for airing as hour long episodes with commercials . Featuring Benjamin Bratt as Dr. Jeremy Stone , Christa Miller as Dr. Angela Noyce , Daniel Dae Kim as Dr. TsiChou , Viola Davis as Dr. Charlene Barton , Other characters' names and personalities were radically changed from the novel, including making one scientist, played by Ricky Schrodes as Major Bill Keane , a homosexual.
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Tight, gripping, ultra-suspenseful Classic... Blu-ray: Stunning (considering the age) A:9 V:10
lathe-of-heaven17 December 2014
Believe me, not that I'm anybody special, but I don't give out '9's very often. I just now finished watching the new Blu-ray and it is frigg'n AWESOME!

My Dad took me to see this at the theatre when I was about 12 and I remember VERY vividly that I laid awake all that night, absolutely TERRIFIED that some nasty virus was assuredly going to kill us all. I don't remember just how long I was traumatized by this film, but it was a while. Heh, my poor Dad; there was no way that he would have known the impact that this film would have had on his extremely imaginative and impressionable little p\/ssy of a son.

Since then I have seen the film a couple of times, but it has been quite some time since the last time I watched this, but let me tell you, even as an adult now some 40 years later, I can attest to the fact that this is one of THE most effective Science Fiction Thrillers of it's type. Now of course, I can much more fully admire the wonderfully serious and precise way it was put together. I think that this film has probably evoked the most respect for Robert Wise from me so far, even though he has directed MANY excellent films. The structure, pacing, direction, bloody EVERYTHING was perfect. I think that this is probably one of THE very best examples of how when done properly, a film can create the maximum amount of tension, suspense, and an oppressive mood, BUT... without having to resort to graphic violence or anything obvious. The way Wise ratcheted up the unease and tension was nothing less than masterful. And even so... I must admit that at least for me, there was maybe ONE or TWO moments in the film that actually called up feelings of genuine Horror, even though nothing was even close to being overdone or explicit in any way. I WILL say though, without going into too much detail so as to be a Spoiler or anything, but there IS a scene with a monkey that is most disquieting. I DON'T think that they would allow such a scene to be filmed like that now (remember, then they did not have computers to simulate things like they do now) I love animals, but I'm not a PETA activist or anything, and let me tell you that that one scene was really intense. And that is pretty much the bottom line of this film. Robert Wise used EVERY method available, in the most artful way, to elicit the most powerful effect on the audience. But again, WITHOUT resorting to low-denominator crassness. TRUE quality and talented film making at it's very best.

After seeing so many films, many from around that time period, I feel that this one stands out above most of the other supposed Sci Fi Classics around that time, building a palpable sense of dread and realism. I think it was the sense of realism that made it work so well; and usually I am one of the LAST people to extol 'Realism'. Usually I am scornfully denouncing it in movies, and particularly the people who can't get into a film unless it is totally 'Real' or 'Believable' to them. Usually I spit venom in the direction of their Mothers, Grandmothers, and various other female family members as I smugly look down scornfully on what, I feel in my superiority, is their less than pitiful imaginations.


In THIS film, Wise very shrewdly ramped up the 'Realism' in order to draw us firmly into the situation as it was happening, and it damn well held you there in it's Death Grip until it was done with you. Needless to say, in this case, I will quite humbly make an exception.

As you can likely tell by now, I hold this film in the HIGHEST regard. Although I am usually quite put off by an overly 'Realistic' style when it comes to film making, especially when such 'Realism' eschews any imagination or suspension of disbelief or stretching yourself a little because it has to be OH SO 'Believable', I was fully held in the spell of this near-Documentary approach to a Science Fiction Thriller. And, of course the introduction at the beginning of the movie sets the tone beautifully.

I would say that IF you are the kind of person who appreciates the simplicity of just DAMN good film making, and doesn't need a ton of special effects (although the ones incorporated here were quite ahead of their time and VERY effective) or if you don't require a boatload of sadism and gore, then you should very much enjoy this excellent and powerful Classic film.
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Superior Effort in a Difficult Genre
ScottAmundsen25 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Science fiction is a difficult genre in which to write. Horror is actually easier, as Stephen King has observed, because the writer does not have to actually EXPLAIN what is happening unless (s)he wants to, whereas science fiction practically demands detailed explanations for everything. This makes it not only a difficult form to write in, but it compounds the difficulty when one tries to adapt it to film.

Robert Wise, a very eclectic director whose talents ranged from musicals (WEST SIDE STORY and THE SOUND OF MUSIC) to horror (THE HAUNTING) to the classic science fiction film THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and this little gem from 1971, was perhaps the perfect choice to direct the screen version of Michael Crichton's successful novel. Using character actors instead of big stars, he makes the unknown organism from outer space the star of the show and sets it in a futuristic compound designed by the government for the purposes of studying germ warfare.

The picture begins with two military types cautiously visiting a tiny town in New Mexico where a satellite landed, causing the death of the entire population with the exception of one six-month-old baby and a sixty-seven-year-old man who drinks Sterno, of all things. There's the usual "national security" babble and phone calls to the joint chiefs (the President is mentioned but never seen), and a crack team of scientists is assembled: Dr Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill), Dr Mark Hall (James Olson), Dr Charles Dutton (David Wayne), and Dr Ruth Leavitt (Kate Reid), the only woman on the team and an epileptic whose favorite pastime (aside from smoking) is being a smartass.

I am no scientist, so I can't vouch for the merits of any of the science presented here, but it sounds as though they at least tried for verisimilitude. At any rate, the genre by nature tends to stretch credibility, particularly as here when we are dealing with an organism that may not conform to established earth norms of how matter behaves.

It sounds about as authentic as any film I have ever seen, and the dialogue is crisp, intelligent, and often funny.

I nearly took off a point for overlength, but that really would not be fair: the first hour or so is spent not only setting up the premise, but putting the team through a rigorous course of sterilizing treatments to make them as germ-free as possible before dealing with the alien organism. Whether you buy it or not, this is one of the most fascinating parts of the movie.

Casting character actors instead of names not only allowed for the budget to be spent on what was obviously an expensive set, but it grounds the film in reality. Wayne and Reid are especially good; Ruth Leavitt is one of the funniest characters in a serious movie that I have ever seen: no matter how tired she is, she's always got a wisecrack handy.

The plot is too labyrinthine to go into in any further detail, but I enjoyed every minute of this picture when I first saw it as a boy of eight and it still remains one of my favorites in a difficult and demanding genre.
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