Film, Science fiction
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Despite faults (chiefly a dispersal of its energies), a wonderfully enjoyable fantasy about a futuristic holiday resort offering robot worlds of exotic sex, romance or violence amid the licence of ancient Rome, the gallantries of a medieval chateau, or the gunslinging frontier town. Best and most fully realised of these worlds is the Western, with Brynner (brilliant) as the robot gunman required to die, bloodily, every time a greenhorn tourist challenges him to the draw. Until, that is, the robots begin to malfunction - or rebel: only the computers that designed them know exactly how they work - and the Brynner machine sets out, now part mad killer and part Frankenstein monster, in quest of revenge. Great stuff.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Crichton
Screenwriter: Michael Crichton
Cast: Yul Brynner
Richard Benjamin
James Brolin
Norman Bartold
Alan Oppenheimer
Victoria Shaw

Average User Rating

4 / 5

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In anticipation of the new blockbuster TV show from Jonathan ‘writer-of-the-Dark-Knight-trilogy’ Nolan, I was intrigued to see the original 1973 film on the TV. Knowing little about it other than its central theme of robots & cowboys meant I had no real expectations but it has to be said, I thought this was a great movie and far superior to the new spin off. 

At 88 minutes, its running time is refreshingly brief and, unlike each episode of the current HBO snooze fest, it left me wanting more. Given that the basic premise follows wealthy people on vacation in a theme park where anything goes and robots are there purely to be used & abused, it might sound odd to say but it has a real charm to it that you’ll find in many of the ‘70’s blockbusters i.e. ‘The Towering Inferno’. 

Special effects are real and handmade and lovingly crafted while the cast who cannot hide behind an explosion of whizz-bangs as is often the case nowadays are all extremely watchable, especially Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as the holiday-makers forced to do battle against some rather ticked off androids. As the rogue robot gunslinger, Yul Brynner is superb and it’s easy to see the homage paid to both his character and the whole storyline from recent directors such as James Cameron.

This is a film that successfully blends together sci-fi, Western & thriller genres; it’s not slick but it is scarily relevant perhaps now more than ever given the advances in robotics currently underway. You have no idea who will survive or what the outcome will be and it absolutely begs the question of whether or not you would participate in an attraction like this? As Jeff Goldblum pointed out in ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘when the Pirates of the Caribbean ride breaks down at Disney, the pirates don’t eat the tourists’ and there’s definitely a sense of that here – just because you have the ability to create something, doesn’t mean you actually should, a thought made all the more provocative when you consider how utterly dependant we are on the technology that runs our world.

Whether you’re enjoying the television reboot or not, this is definitely worth checking out if you have any interest in classic movies, if you like seeing where the inspiration for a lot of what you see on the big screen today comes from or if you have a curious fascination with where the future might just end up taking us.


One of my all time favourite films. Long before disphoric scenarios were the in thing. Yule Brenner is incredibly chilling as the robot gone wrong. It is a great lead into the new HBO series of the same name. This sort of story line about artificial intelligence developing a virus and becoming unstable is one of my fav! Grab your favourite blanket and some popcorn and check it out!