The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain Information

The Andromeda Strain is a 1971 American science-fiction film, based on the novel The Andromeda Strain published in 1969 by Michael Crichton. The film is about a team of scientists who investigate a deadly organism of extraterrestrial origin that causes rapid, fatal blood clotting. Directed by Robert Wise, the film starred Arthur Hill, James Olson, Kate Reid, and David Wayne. The film follows the book closely. The special effects were designed by Douglas Trumbull.


After a U.S. government satellite crashes near the town of Piedmont, New Mexico, all of the town's inhabitants quickly die. There are only two survivors "? a sixty-two-year-old man and a six-month-old infant. Suspecting that the satellite brought back an alien germ, the military activates an elite scientific team it had previously assembled for just this type of emergency. The team takes the satellite and the survivors to a secret underground laboratory in the Nevada desert, known as the Wildfire Complex. The new life form is assigned the code name Andromeda. While most of the team studies the organism in an attempt to figure out how it works, the team's doctor, Dr. Mark Hall, tries to find a cure by figuring out why the old man and the baby survived. Just as he comes up with the answer, however, Andromeda mutates into a form that degrades synthetic rubber and plastics and thus escapes containment. This triggers an automatic self-destruct mechanism designed to set off a nuclear explosion beneath the complex, intended to incinerate all germs before they can reach the surface. However, the team members studying Andromeda have learned that the alien microbes, having evolved in the harsh environment of outer space, would thrive on the energy of a nuclear explosion and would consequently be able to mutate into a supercolony of an untold number of forms. Having been entrusted with the only key that can shut down the self-destruct sequence before the five-minute countdown is up, Dr. Hall races against the clock and the lab's automated defenses to reach a substation before it is too late.


  • Arthur Hill as Dr. Jeremy Stone
  • David Wayne as Dr. Charles Dutton
  • James Olson as Dr. Mark Hall
  • Kate Reid as Dr. Ruth Leavitt
  • Paula Kelly as Karen Anson (nurse, laboratory technician)
  • George Mitchell as Mr. Peter Jackson (Piedmont)
  • Mark Jenkins as Lt. Shawn (Piedmont Team)
  • Peter Helm as Sgt. Crane (Piedmont Team)
  • Joe Di Reda as Sgt. Burk (Wildfire Computer Technician)
  • Ramon Bieri as Major Arthur Manchek (Scoop Mission Control)
  • Carl Reindel as Lt. Comroe (Scoop Mission Control)
  • Frances Reid as Clara Dutton
  • Peter Hobbs as General Sparks
  • Kermit Murdock as Dr. Robertson (White House Science Advisor)
  • Richard O'Brien as Grimes
  • Eric Christmas as Senator Phillips (Vermont)
  • Ken Swofford as Toby (Technician)
  • John Carter as Capt. Morton (military police)
  • Richard Bull as Air Force Major
  • James W. Gavin as Dempsey (helicopter pilot) (uncredited)
  • Garry Walberg as scientist (uncredited)
  • Victoria Paige Meyerink as Additional Character


The cast of characters in the novel was modified for the film, most notably by changing the male Dr. Peter Leavitt in the novel into a woman, Dr. Ruth Leavitt. Screenwriter Nelson Gidding suggested the change to Wise, who at first was not enthusiastic, as he initially pictured the sex-changed Dr. Leavitt as a largely decorative character reminiscent of Raquel Welch's character in the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage. When Gidding explained his take on Leavitt, Wise resolved the question in an appropriately scientific way by asking the opinion of a number of scientists, who were unanimously enthusiastic about the idea. Eventually Wise came to be very happy with the decision to make Leavitt female, as Kate Reid's Dr. Leavitt turned out to be, in his words, "the most interesting character" in the film. Another minor change was the character of Burton in the novel, who became Charles Dutton in the film; no reason was given for this name change.

A young Michael Crichton makes a cameo appearance in a non-speaking role during the scene where Dr. Hall is told to break scrub because he has to report to Wildfire, the government's secret underground research facility.


Critical response

The opinion of critics is generally mixed, with some critics enjoying the film for its dedication to the original novel and with others disliking it for its drawn-out plot. Overall, the film has earned a 67% "fresh" rating from the film review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews.


The film was nominated for two Academy Awards:

American Film Institute Lists

  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills - Nominated
  • AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores - Nominated
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Science Fiction Film

See also

  • Shafter, Texas where the movie was filmed.
  • The Andromeda Strain (2008 miniseries)

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Andromeda_Strain_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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