Year: 1972

Production: Vanadas / Universal

Director: George Roy Hill

Starring: Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Sharon Gans, Valerie Perrine

Screenwriter: Stephen Geller

Based on Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut

104 minutes. Color

A middle-class, middle-aged American (Sacks), dissatisfied with his job, marriage and life in general, starts to experience sudden shifts in time, mainly back to when he was a PoW in the German city of Dresden before its fire-bombing on a massive scale by the Allies. He later experiences forward shifts in time to when he has become a prisoner of the alien Tralfamadorians, who keep him in a zoo on their planet and provide him with a half-naked Hollywood starlet for company. The novel's absurdist disjunctions between the real horrors of war and the minor horrors of suburban life are arguably satirical, and certainly agonized, though arbitrary; here, with quite extraordinary vulgarity, they become merely flippant, especially in the context of the Tralfamadore sequences, where what is black in the book is merely whimsical in the movie, which nevertheless won a Hugo.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Related Links:
Classic Science Fiction Reviews at

Back to the List