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2001: A Space Odyssey Script

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Average user rating
   (9.08 out of 10)

  Stanley Kubrick
  Arhur C. Clarke


Script Date : February 1989

Read "2001: A Space Odyssey" Script

User Comments for 2001: A Space Odyssey

Kenneth (7 out of 10 )
It will be great if the writer could identify which version of the movie this screenplay is based on. In the rental copy that I watched (and actually, in a downloaded DivX version), HAL says different things before he is shut off. Namely, he does not repeat as much personal information or recite PI. Perhaps this screenplay is the original script? Clarification will be appreciated.

Limey (9 out of 10 )
Like many great works of art that represent a triumph of style over substance, 2001 is virtually bloody unwatchable but is, nonetheless, a must-see. This haunted me in so many ways the first time I saw it and the scene where the space shuttles spin before docking in space, set to Strauss, is both mesmerising and iconic. At times the movie, and, indeed Kubrick, can be a little cold and clinical. But perhaps that is the closest portrayal of life in space. Without doubt a great masterpiece of cinematography. Though I must admit, it can at times be an arduous chore.

Kevin (10 out of 10 )
Settle down Limey! You're out of control with the verbiage on this movie. How about... "It's an excellent movie, I give it a 9" "Big thumbs up!". Limey, you're cold and clinical not the movie! I say it's an excellent movie, I give it a 10 because I actually watched it when I was 10 and was so amazed. Incredible!

Limey (9 out of 10 )
Aaw shucks Kevin, my nine out of ten wasnít enough for you? Heaven forbid I should have a mixed opinion about a film. Like I said, 2001 is a masterpiece but it isnít easy viewing. I stand by that and Iím not sure why youíve got such a bee in your bonnet. Try another barely watchable work of genius - Blue by Derek Jarman Ė and then talk to me about movies being greatÖfull stop! Against just a blue screen, the hour and 17 minute long film features collage snippets of sound and Jarmanís meditations on his fast approaching death. It is achingly poignant and moving. But it is also completely numbing and I would bloody defy you to watch it a second time. Iím not really sure what your point was but it was rather condescending of you.

sam (10 out of 10 )
My son, who is three and a half has fallen IN LOVE with 2001! He wants to watch it everyday and he seems to get a lot of the nuances that many people miss ("it's back to the beginning!" he shouted the first time through, when the star child emerged). I find it hard to imagine somebody calling this movie "unwatchable" as it's one of the most beautiful and watchable films ever made.

Limey (9 out of 10 )
Nine out of ten, people, nine out of ten! Kubrick was a photographer and this clearly shows. There is real beauty in almost every frame and as art it is a sensation. As a movie it is slow, pensive, and lost in its own thoughts. It means whatever you want it to mean (in other words it may mean nothing) and its characters are blank and robotic - perfect for an artistic representation but uninvolving for a moviegoer who expects a beginning, middle and end. Nine out of ten for a stunning work of art and somewhat less for 2001: The Movie.

anonymous (4 out of 10 )
Totally overrated. Makes you think that something great is going to happen in the end but all it does is confuse the hell out of you.

guy (10 out of 10 )
One thing I hate about people who hate this movie is that they ADORE "A Clockwork Orange" and find 2001 simply boring. Now Stanley Kubrick wasn't stupid, but people who find 2001 boring are stupid simply because they are not interested in our meaning on this planet, in other words, they aren't open minded. But it is easy to be open minded in clockwork because the subject is so down to earth and attacks emotions we aren't used to feeling, whereas 2001 is so not down to earth because of the space theme but still attacks emotions we aren't used to feeling. 2001 only has 40 minutes of dialogue and has a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes so it's easy to get bored, but it's a visual trip and people have got to understand that every scene/shot has a meaning, a meaning to our existence and our evolution as a human beings. Watch it ten times if you have to but don't wait for an explanation for everything, you've got to make your own story in your head.

guy (10 out of 10 )
For "anonymous" that gave this movie 4 out of 10. Go back far in your memory when you were just a little sperm chillin in your dads testis. Now when you were in there is the same thing as the ending of 2001. You were very very small and for you the human body represented a HUGE UNIVERSE! Like the ending of the movie, he is born very very small and the universe is HUGE for him and when the time is right, he will escape the universe (just like you escaped your mothers body) and enter a world that we will never know of.

Evan (10 out of 10 )
Limey is right. If you want to see a movie that entertains you, this is not it. But if you want to see a movie that makes you think, you have to see this. The problem is that most people donít want to think when they watch movies, and I can understand that. I mean, even I have to admit that this movie is boring as hell. But you have to get past that.

Noam (10 out of 10 )
Kevin, are you insane? I thoroughly agree with Limey! This ain't a film you watch and enjoy and that's all. Barry Lyndon maybe or Full Metal Jacket, but not 2001! It's not a traditional film, It's a kind of videoart or something, an inspired combination of images and music (except for Ligeti: I hate him!). As a film it is tiresome. I give it 10, though. Why? Because I'm into philosophy and I've got used to heavy-going works that nonetheless have important things to say. If you consider it a kind of video-philosophy, say a "So spoke Zarathustra: The film", then I can agree it's a masterpiece.

Nick (8 out of 10 )
I agree with Limey. It's a great film, a splendid work of art, it makes you think but it's a bit of a plod as piece of entertainment. The 'freakout' scene at the end before he appears in the white room, now that's arduous. Every visual effect filter in the box, which, let's face it, at the time, was quite limited. It's like watching a screen saver- you could cut it down, but then, the whole movie's like that. You could cut it down, but you'd be missing one of the film's central themes. It's supposed to be slow. I still say, while it's not a break-neck 110% full-on rollercoaster like some more recent action flicks, it's a landmark film that has earned its place in the top 100. Array.

Curtin (9 out of 10 )
Flawed, but fascinating. If anything, 70mm wasn't big enough for the story . Kenneth, the date on the script is 1965. As the film finally came out in 68, it's obviously an early draft (well, slightly early). Arthur see Clarke co-wrote this whilst simultaneously writing the novellisation, and you can pretty much tell that from the huge amounts of narration.

Jerry Vegas (10 out of 10 )
I would like to say that you all seem like educated, intelligent, articulate people so I donít want this to come off as condescending. I would just like to ask you a question. Donít you think itís sad that we live in a world where movies have to explode or move quickly to be great? I have watched this movie more than any move I own and I enjoy it each time, just as I would enjoy looking at a beautiful painting or photograph. Itís one of my favorite films. In fact, I would like it much better if the directors of today would put as much thought into their films as Kubrick did instead of the brave new world type of films that encourage us to sit back and let the pretty colors make us dizzy! Now Iím not such a pretentious snob that I canít enjoy movies like Night of the Living Dead or something similar but come on! This is considered one of the greatest movies ever made for a reason. Oh, and if you donít like a movie, donít give it such a high rating.

david (10 out of 10 )
Stanley Kubrick was a genius beyond compare. The film is pure genius. Every element of the film is exact. The timing, duration and pace. It is a masterpiece by a master. Silence is an instrument in music. Void is an instrument in painting. Time is an instrument in film. I find it amusing, those feeble minds that have the courage to admit they're bored, find the movie too long, or confess they do not understand. It's sad in a way. To me these people are just admitting that they're low intelligence and low culture. Getting on a chat board and trying to dismiss a classic like 2001 is about as, for lack of a better word, RETARDED as it comes. Go rent American Pie or Little Man and quit trying to be a critic. Of course, I'm stupid for being here typing this, because those who get the film, get it. Those who don't, don't. And there isn't much you can do about it.

Dallas (10 out of 10 )
I thought it was watchable - maybe you need to understand art to like it. If you want to be entertained, go watch something mindless like 300.

Midland Student (9 out of 10 )
I have not seen it yet, but 300 was awesome. Even if it was mindless. You guys have so much faith in this movie, I hope it's as good as you say it is.

Limey (9 out of 10 )
David, almost every rating on this board is 9 or 10/10 and you have launched a tirade against us all for disliking it. Tell me if I missed something? Everyone on here, with the exception of 'anonymous', has spoken of their great admiration for this film. My own admiration for this great cinematic work is tempered by the fact that I found it very hard going indeed. That said, I've watched it half a dozen times in order to try and fathom its depths. Anyone who pretends that art is always easy is kidding themselves. And those of us who've admitted that we were bored but still able to recognise this as a fine piece of art, have shown what candid and self-effacing people we are- not at alll 'feeble minded', as you say. The film affected me deeply but the viewing experience was one of perseverance. It's big and beautiful but plodding. At the time of its release, a New York Times critic described is as: "somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring". I couldn't put it any better than that. Would you prefer everyone simply towed the line and voiced the same cut and dried opinions. I fear that life, like art, is somewhat more complicated!

Limey (9 out of 10 )
P.S: Thanks to Evan, Noam and Nick for backing me up about this. I shall nail my colours to the mast on this issue while awarding the film yet another nine.

Squid (9 out of 10 )
I'm thirteen years of age, the time of greatest attention shortage. I gave this a 9, simply because it is not perfect, but so close. No film is perfect, or ever will be. Yet I enjoyed 2001 thoroughly. I mainly think some of these viewers are giving the film critical reviews because their expectations of the film are way off. They expect it to be some sort of action based thrill ride. But when watching this film, I suppose you should look at it as a painting. Something that should be observed, and studied. I realize I am talking to very few of you, because most gave it a 9 or 10. But to those who are doubtful, you need to realize the difference between most mind numbing films today and this. What I found odd about most of these reviews is that the script was rarely talked about. What I got from Kenneth's short review helped me realize an interesting subject. I give my 'props' to Stanley Kubrick who managed to convert this script to film. Although he probably had an idea in his head already. This script is read almost like a book, besides the conversation. Although I thought it was oddly written, but more entertaining.

lastman (10 out of 10 )
Sometimes when one watches films from the past, they are sometimes spoilt with the cgi effects of today. As 2001 goes its a masterpiece for its time, I saw it when it first came out and I was amazed at the visual, story wise it stills stands as a great achievment in film as compared to other films of the same era.

jamie (7 out of 10 )
For what it's worth, I have a screenplay in hand dated July 6, 1965; it does not end in the lengthy narration as this one does; instead Bowman is in a non-descript hotel room, pulls back a drape, sees infinity, etc.

Keith (9 out of 10 )
Again, it seems a lot of people are confused about the difference between a screenplay and a movie. To have the first draft for a movie of this magnitude to compare to the final directors cut is a treasure. Thus the screenplay IS a 9, yet what Kubrick did with it is a 10+ movie. So Limey was right, and if Jamie can post the 1965 draft versus this 1989 pre-Kubrick script (more 7 or 10?) that would be really valuable..

Kieran (8 out of 10 )
What screenplay is this? In the version I've seen, HAL dies out saying something (in short) like "Dave, stop Dave. I'm afraid, my mind is going, I can feel it" etc. and then sings the song ... The version I've seen seems completely different to this screenplay!

matt s (10 out of 10 )
If you read the book it is much less confusing. In fact the book is incredibly straightforward - almost a cliff's notes version of the movie. For that reason it's kind of a let down. It explains exactly what the meaning of the black obelisks is intended to be. The movie is perfect however.

Alfie (8 out of 10 )
A fascinating film, a fascinating book, and a fascinating script. Kubrick and Clarke worked simultaneously on all three; Clarke once said of the film versus book argument that the book should have been titled "By Clarke and Kubrick" and the film vice-versa, but of course they aren't and most people still tend to separate them when they are really one large entity, each one with different information. The script here, a '65 draft, is a weird amalgamation of the book and film as we know them (in reality it is in fact more or less the seed that sprouted both), containing the quiet cold of the film and the document-like information of the book. You can see how they hammer the point home in the script, for example, the question about Clavius is repeated three times. This is probably because they weren't sure which repetition they liked, specifically, and left all three in for later decision. As a film, 2001 is practically hostile towards the average viewer. Very little information is given; even when they directly tell you parts of the plot the presentation is perplexing (when the TV flicks on towards the end no explanation is given as to why [it was either an automatic response or a final plea by HAL]). But as a piece of art, as something other than a science fiction thriller drama film, 2001 is nearly flawless. If you know what is going on (sometimes I wish I didn't), it moves much faster and fits together much cleaner than if you don't, and then the film is almost nonsensical. Of course, this is why it pulled such a lackluster response from critics: they had absolutely no idea what to make of it. I have the feeling that if the narrator (who is entirely out of place even in this draft) and all of the exposition had been left in, the film would have been far more popular upon its first release, but I don't think it would have been a real Kubrick film (that term carries quite a lot of weight, doesn't it?), not quite, and I don't think it would be the same cultural icon it is today.

RRRRComposer (10 out of 10 )
This is certainly the greatest film I have ever seen. It comes closer to achieving the level of a symphony (or perhaps a ballet) than any other film I have experienced, and this is not merely because of the eloquent use of classical music throughout, but also the way the story unfolds in several distinct parts, each superficially unrelated, yet undeniably parts of a whole, just as are movements of s symphony. It is a piece of beauty that exists not merely for box-office returns, but also for its own sake. Like a symphony, it requires audiences to think if they want to understand it. Unlike "Hollywood" movies aimed at popcorn audiences, what happens is not spelled out so the average dullard can get it (unlike the ill-advised and utterly mediocre sequel, which is barely worth mentioning). This is a thinking-man's film. "Style over substance," Limey? Please! The unconventional plot unfolds over millions of years so that no one character can be said to be "the main character". Rather, Mankind himself is the main character. And what can I say about the profound ending beyond that climactic conclusion is orgasmic in its intensity and considerably less messy?

J.S. (10 out of 10 )
(yes, it's the original script) This film has to be The Greatest work of art of all-time. The film isn't a film at all. It is so magnificently directed and co-written by Kubrick, that it almost has a fail-safe button. A mixture of astonishing visuals, combined with blank/distant character acting (not bad, but a good thing) and a perfectly crafted descent into the next stage of mankind. When I watch this, I can't even pay attention to the story, because each frame tells it's own in a way. This is, by far, Kubrick's best work. Maybe not on some levels to some people, whereas that might by A Clockwork Orange or The Shining or Barry Lyndon, or maybe even Full Metal Jacket. But, to me, this is his best. And the theme that plays while in the presence of the Monolith is absolutely powerful, eerie, and almost horrific in it's own way. The very thought of the Monolith and HAL kept me up and gave me worse nightmares than the entirety of The Shining, especially that MUSIC!

Captain Cohen (10 out of 10 )
Without doubt EXCELLENT! 2001 is one of the few films I saw as a 10-year old in 1969 that I revisit often with renewed and deeper meaning. "He would think of something".. a haunting, hopeful beautiful end to the film. I have just now added the following train of thought to my understanding of the film/screenplay/book: namely that in Homer's Odyssey, the hero comes home changed by all he has seen - by all that has happened to him - by the deaths of friends - by betrayal - by love - by rejection - by battle - by sight and sound foreign (dare I say "alien") to him. By the way Matt S - I have a picture somewhere of me as a kid on a beach reading the book - I was 10 .. it's 1969 .. I remember reading it after seeing the film. I agree with you that the book is a kind of "Cliff's notes" but you've still got to sit through the whole term's lectures!! I'm not quite sure if I agree the book explains the meaning of the monoliths - we can tell from book and film that when the obelisk[s] are around then 'selection' and 'teaching' occurs - a re-evolution if you like. However we never fully see / know who the builders/designers were. But I seem to recall there's a line in the last page or 2 of the book that states that the "Star-Child" [that which was Dave Bowman] has become one of the Ones who created the Sentinel or Monolith. 40 years on and we're still discussing the magnificence of this work. Heartfelt thanks to Kubrick and Clarke.

Torick (4 out of 10 )
I love Kubrick, while this movie has intrigue, and it is clearly the work of a masterful director, it is BY FAR the most self-indulgent movie I have ever seen. I struggled to sit through the film and have absolutely no intention of watching it ever again.

Dr. The (10 out of 10 )
The reason the characters are cold as ice is that humanity has turned itself over to its own technology, the only thing left that is afraid of death. No feelings at all apparent in these people. They are dull and taking on a dull mission. HAL is excited about the mission, but only owing to human folly. The last time we were starving and dying---couldn't catch food, couldn't protect ourselves--we were saved by monolithic intervention and took a giant evolutionary step forward. This time too. Saved from our own technology. Lucky us. That is all. That's why the humans were so boring. You who find the movie unwatchable are watching your own reflections. Without a doubt a candidate for Best Movie Ever Made. Up there with Citizen Kane.

Dr. The (10 out of 10 )
The book was written after the movie. It was an interpretation of the movie. The movie was not based on the book. The two authors worked together, it's true. But the book is science fiction, the movie is cosmology. Read Kubrick's late sixties Playboy interview on this subject. He would have none of that "extraterrestrial life" thesis.

Wangari Kiragu (10 out of 10 )
All I can say is that I live in Kenya and here almost nobody knows about Kubrick and old movies and stuff am a social outcast for staying up late at night to watch TCM movies just so I can catch 2001 and other movies. It's a brilliant movie simply brilliant even I who has had the kind of education I could only dream of getting in the states and stuff know that, that Kubrick had enough confidence and guts and talent to pull off a movie like this in 1969 is absolutely out of this world. Even George Lucas said he doesn't think he could've done the same thing. Here in Kenya everything is totally being taken over by technology, I was anti-computers for some time but I can't fight it any more, just like what Kubrick was trying to say in the movie has started to happen 40 years later, like you said Dr The, human beings are slowly turning into Bowman and Poole anyways it's an absolutely brilliant movie.

Rey (10 out of 10 )
Look people, this is just opinion based. It's okay if someone doesn't like it. It's okay if someone does. There is no definitive answer. If someone wants to say they didn't like this movie very much but loved Transformers, then fine. Nobody can say that this film is the greatest ever made, same as no one can say that this is the worst and be 100% correct. It's all opinion based. MY opinion is that this is a beautiful movie that has thought provoking ideas and is altogether very original and fresh and way ahead of it's time. And it is slow, not that it isn't interesting, but I is slow( again, that's an opinion) even Kubrick said it was slow, just because a movie is slow doesn't mean it's bad. And it's okay if someone says they didn't like ti because it was slow, because some people DON'T LIKE SLOW MOVIES. Also people get off your high horses, liking this movie more than life itself doesn't make you any the smarter.

Kevin (10 out of 10 )
From the book. The end of the 1st part. The ape stood there with the bone/club in his hand. "He knew he had all the power in the world. He didn't know what he would do with it. But he knew he would think of something." The end of the 3rd part. The Star Child floated in orbit above the earth. "He knew he had all the power in the world. He didn't know what he would do with it. But he know he would think of something." Clarke shows us that it is the 'capacity for mind'. the ability to think. That makes these two different 'humans'. exactly the same. Oh. There was a big debate about the scene where the ape tosses the bone into the air, and it becomes a satellite. People said it was an orbiting weapons-platform. Kubrick never commented on that. But watch the next few seconds of the film. When modern man is seen for the first time (Dr Floyd asleep in the Pan-Am shuttle). there is a pen, floating in the cabin of the shuttle. Kubrick said it all right there ."The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword". Stanly was an optimist. I tell people that the movie is about 'tools and food'. The motifs recur in almost every scene. Look close. The orbiting Star Child. Is he about to suck his thumb? (Stanley was far too subtle for that).

David (10 out of 10 )
Responding to the top comment by Kenneth, Kubrick was notorious for rewriting scripts more than most screen writers/directors, especially during filming. A great example of this is seen during The Shining, where some scenes were rewritten on a daily basis. So to find any script, including a "final draft" that doesn't show the differences you mentioned is virtually nonexistent.

Darius (10 out of 10 )
Contrary to how most people feel about 2001, I believe that this landmark film is both thought-provoking AND immensely fun to watch. Admittedly the ending can confuse unless you have read the book. Even if you haven't, it pretty much shows that the Monolith caused Dave to suddenly evolve into the next stage of humanity. It takes a pretty dense audience to not figure that out. Some directors can make you think but also make you giddy with enjoyment even as they draw you into intense suspense. Hitchcock and Scorcese come to mind. Let us be grateful for these geniuses. Stop arguing. Watching the movie can only improve you. Most of all have fun.

Darius (10 out of 10 )
The script provided at this site is a bizarre version, very very different from the film we have all seen. What's up with that?

Andrew Hopkinson (7 out of 10 )
This movie is great, but it is extremely cold and clinical, obviously the work of two intelectuals who have no idea how to write emotionally. There is a lot in the film which must have been "gee whiz look at that!" back in 1968, but now we are spoiled with movie effects, so much of the space shots are very long and dull. Even though this is an extremely realistic portrayal of outer space, after Star Wars how can you go back to spending 20 minutes watching ever maneuvers in total silence? However, I will say though that the final stargate sequence holds up to any CGI you will see today, it is absolutely stunning, too bad it takes over 2 hours to get there. As for the script being so different from the movie, this is obviously the script they started with, which probably had many revisions, most notably the removal of the narration, which I think was a good choice. One thing that will never get old is the incredibly haunting music used throughout. Besides the classical Strauss, much of the stuff by Ligeti was fairly recent definitely other wordly sound collages.

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"2001: A Space Odyssey" Script

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