AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Summary View of Movie
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
2001: A Space Odyssey
Director: Stanley Kubrick (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Apr 1968
Duration (in mins):  140-141, 160 or 162
Print this page
Display Movie Detail

Cast: Keir Dullea  (David Bowman)
  Gary Lockwood  (Frank Poole)
  William Sylvester  (Dr. Heywood Floyd)

Summary: At the dawn of mankind, a colony of peaceful vegetarian apes awakens to find a glowing black monolith standing in their midst. After tentatively reaching out to touch the mysterious object, the apes become carnivores, with enough intelligence to employ bones for weapons and tools. Four million years later, in the year 2001, Dr. Heywood Floyd, an American scientist, travels to the moon to investigate a monolith that has been discovered below the lunar surface. Knowing only that the slab emits a deafening sound directed toward the planet Jupiter, the United States sends a huge spaceship, the Discovery , on a 9-month, half billion-mile journey to the distant planet. Aboard are astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole, plus three others in frozen hibernation, and a computer called Hal 9000. During the voyage, Hal predicts the failure of a component on one of the spacecraft's antennae. Bowman leaves the ship in a one-man space pod to replace the crucial part; the prediction proves incorrect, however, and when Poole ventures out to replace the original part, Hal severs his lifeline. Bowman goes to rescue him, but Hal closes the pod entry doors and terminates the life functions of the three hibernating astronauts. Forced to abandon Poole, who is already dead, Bowman reenters the Discovery through the emergency hatch and reduces Hal to manual control by performing a mechanical lobotomy on the computer's logic and memory circuits. Now alone, Bowman continues his flight until he encounters a third monolith among Jupiter's moons. Suddenly hurtled into a new dimension of time and space, he is swept into a maelstrom of swirling colors, erupting landscapes and exploding galaxies. At last coming to rest in a pale green bedroom, Bowman emerges from the nonfunctioning space capsule. A witness to the final stages of his life, the withered Bowman looks up from his deathbed at the giant black monolith standing in the center of the room. As he reaches toward it, he is perhaps reborn, perhaps evolved, perhaps transcended, into a new "child of the universe," a fetus floating above the Earth. 

Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Director: Stanley Kubrick (Dir)
  Derek Cracknell (1st asst dir)
Producer: Stanley Kubrick (Prod)
  Victor Lyndon (Assoc prod)
Writer: Stanley Kubrick (Scr)
  Arthur C. Clarke (Scr)

Subject Major: Astronauts
  Death and dying
  Time travel
Subject Minor: Apes
  Jupiter (Planet)

Display Movie Detail
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.