"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
– David Bowman (Keir Dullea)

"Still the grandest of all science-fiction movies."


Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Exclusive Tribute: by Anthony Frewin, Assistant to Stanley Kubrick, 1965-69 and 1980-99

Credits: 2001 Complete Cast and Crew Credits Published for the First Time

Fast Facts:

  • 2001 began life as the short story The Sentinel, written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1950.
  • Clarke and Kubrick, who had been introduced by a mutual friend, began collaborating on a screenplay about man and extraterrestrials. Clarke suggested they base it on that story, which detailed a surveying expedition finding an alien artifact buried on the moon.
  • Clarke later wrote a novel based on the screenplay for 2001, which was released in July 1968, three months after the film’s debut.
  • After seeing a documentary entitled To the Moon and Beyond at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Kubrick hired one of its special effects technicians, Douglas Trumbull, to work on 2001.
  • Although released in Cinerama, 2001 was not shot with three cameras but with one camera on 70mm film with a special anamorphic lens to widen the image.
  • Dr. Haywood Floyd’s daughter, seen on the videophone asking for a "bush baby," was played by Kubrick’s five-year-old daughter Vivian.
  • The HAL-9000 computer originally was named Athena and was supposed to have a female voice.
  • British actor Nigel Davenport and American actor Martin Balsam both recorded HAL’s dialogue before Kubrick eventually settled on Douglas Rain as the computer’s calm, rational voice.
  • The name HAL is an amalgam of "heuristic" and "algorithmic," the two main processes of learning.
  • With the exception of two baby chimpanzees, all of the apes in the beginning of the film were played by mimes, dancers and actors in costumes.
  • All of the "Dawn of Man" scenes, except for "Moonwatcher" demolishing the tapir skeleton with a bone, were shot on an indoor set using an elaborate front projection system created especially for the film.
  • The main Discovery set was built by aircraft manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong inside a 12-meter by two-meter drum designed to rotate at five km per hour. It cost $750,000.
  • Composer Alex North, who worked with Kubrick on Spartacus, wrote and recorded 40 minutes of original music that carried the film from the beginning up to the moon expedition. However, Kubrick later decided to use prerecorded classical music for the film.
  • Kubrick cut 19 minutes from the film’s original 158-minute running time after its New York premiere, mostly to speed up the pacing.
  • The film cost $10.5 million, a large sum at the time, but grossed over $21 million in its initial release, making it one of the studio’s biggest hits.
  • Kubrick earned Academy Award® nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, and won his only Oscar® for Best Special Visual Effects. The film also received a nomination for Best Art Direction.


2001: A Space Odyssey is a countdown to tomorrow, a road map to human destiny, a quest for the infinite. It is a dazzling, Academy Award®-winning visual achievement, a compelling drama of man vs. machine, a stunning meld of music and motion. It may be the masterwork of director Stanley Kubrick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur C. Clarke)…and it will likely excite, inspire and enthrall for generations.

To begin his voyage into the future, Kubrick visits our prehistoric ape-ancestry past, then leaps millenia (via one of the most mind-blowing jump cuts ever conceived) into colonized space, and ultimately whisks astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) into uncharted realms of space, perhaps even into immortality. "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." Let the awe and mystery of a journey unlike any other begin.



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