Colossus: The Forbin Project

Year: 1969

Production: Universal

Director: Joseph Sargent

Starring: Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert

Screenwriter: James Bridges

Based on Colossus (1966) by D.F. Jones

100 minutes; Color


A supercomputer, Colossus, is designed by Dr Forbin (Braeden) to take control of the US defense network but, once activated, develops ambitions of its own and ignores all commands. Unlike the neurotic HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Colossus is a computer of the old school - emotionless, arrogant and practically omnipotent. It forms an alliance with its Russian equivalent and the film ends with the two computers in charge and likely to stay that way. The subtext is the usual one: better to be human and idiotic, even at the risk of nuclear war, than to surrender our autonomy to machines. The scenes showing Colossus in vast cavern beneath the Rocky Mountains have a powerful admonitory charge. This is a neat, well made film.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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