Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

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Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) Poster

Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.




  • Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
  • Susan Clark in Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
  • Eric Braeden in Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
  • Eric Braeden and William Schallert in Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Joseph Sargent


James Bridges (screenplay), D.F. Jones (novel)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

5 July 2008 | mercuryix-1
| Forgotten High-Class Cautionary Tale
It's interesting reading the comments of those who dislike this movie; they either call it "dated" and so disregard it, or "ludicrous" in that it could never happen; that way they don't have to take the concept seriously and so aren't threatened by it.

Well, History is dated. That's why it's history. And we learn history supposedly so that we won't repeat the mistakes of the past (I wonder if that's ever worked?).

Science Fiction, if done well, is like watching future history. Star Wars begins with "Long, Long Ago..." and yet the world it presented was thousands of years ahead of ours. Science Fiction's best use is often in producing cautionary tales so that "We Don't Go There", or at least make us think before we do. Yes, the idea of a computer taking over the world through control of nuclear technology is ludicrous; very ludicrous. Until it happens. Then it is already too late. That's the point of science fiction and other cautionary tales.

So Collosus is about a dated computer that becomes sentient and starts asserting ruthless control for what it sees as the "betterment of mankind". What does it matter if the technology is dated? Our technology will seem hopelessly dated 100 years from now. This movie is very much like Terry Gilliam's dark movie, "Brazil", in a strange way. Gilliam has said his movie was a cautionary tale, that the only escape from the world is in your imagination. Both movies make the same point: that if a certain process (government, or technological) is allowed to continue without safeguards, we will reach a point where there is no escape. The time of quaint tales of Robin Hood and other rebels has passed: No "rebel band" is going to stop it, no revolution is going to succeed, because the stranglehold granted by modern weapons is so pervasive we can't fight it without dying. So instead of relying on comicbook fantasies of "fighting the Power", we should make sure we never get to the point of no return. In this movie's case, the fatal error was trusting in technology to run itself, without understanding it or taking precautions to install safeguards of overriding its commands and shutting it down if necessary.

In our country, if our government suddenly decided to become a dictatorship, there would be no revolution or rebellion. Our little handguns and rifles aren't going to match cluster bombs, missiles and chemical weapons. We're at the mercy of our leaders, and the chance for rebellion by force in countries around the world (such as Zimbabwe) has past.

The cautionary tale that Collosus tells is very old, and considered dated and clichéd by many. And because of that, its lesson is lost on those too "clever" to learn from it. Let's hope these people too clever to learn from dated clichés don't come into positions governing things like Collosus.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


Colossus was the name of the machine designed under the guidance of Tommy Flowers at Bletchley Park from1943 to 1945 .This was used to break a German 'Lorenz' Cipher code..this valve based machine(over 2,000 of them) is often referred to as The Worlds First 'electronic' much D.F. Jones the writer of book that inspired this film knew about it has been debated for some time.


Dr. Forbin: I think your mother was right. I think Frankenstein ought to be required-reading for all scientists.


When Missile Commander explains the American and Russian disabling of nuclear warheads in the situation room, he uses a pointer to indicate areas on the map. But when he says, "...and are now working in the Ukraine, in this area," he's putting down the pointer, and has his back to the map.

Alternate Versions

Early in the picture, when they are testing Colossus to see if they are still in control after it had issued an order for communication with Guardian -- They are waiting for a 30 minute time period to pass -- the computer should not at that time repeat the order as it had been acknowledged and ordered not to do so. Before the time was up, originally the following conversation took place: Blake: Colossus can not exceed its programming. It's impossible. The computer cannot physically change its guts. Forbin: Anything the human mind can conceive of is possible, Blake. Blake: Really, Charles? OK, how about a four-sided triangle? Forbin: A triangle in three dimensions would be four-sided. Cleo: It's called a pyramid. In all copies of this film since it was first released on video, the conversation does not take place. The scene just cuts to 30 minutes later with Blake saying "We're still boss".


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


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