Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, UK)

In Stanley Kubrick's influential and awesome, genre-defying sci-fi masterpiece:

  • the introductory imagery of a heavenly alignment (of the sun and moon) to the thrilling bold chords of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra
  • the opening "Dawn of Man" episode with the man-apes' tableaux scenes and their first confrontation with a mysterious black monolith
  • the marvelously audacious, seamless transition/edit of a deflected, flying skeleton bone-weapon from an ape-man - in slow-motion - turning into a futuristic, earth-orbiting space satellite - one of the most famous jump-cuts in cinematic history
  • the black, immense quiet and visual, weightless spendor of outer space and the slow docking scene of the Pan-Am space shuttle with the circular space station to the accompaniment of Johann Strauss' waltz Blue Danube (while the passenger on the shuttle sleeps)
  • the sequence of the viewing (and touching) of the brightly-lit, humming monolith in an excavation pit on the Moon
  • the presence of the omniscient but faulty HAL 9000 computer (voice of Douglas Rain)
  • the set of the circular habitat of the crew in the spaceship
  • the great scene of the HAL 9000 computer (with a big red eye) malevolently eavesdropping by reading the lips of the astronauts as they privately spoke to each other in a space pod
  • astronaut David Bowman's (Keir Dullea) frantic attempts to re-enter the spaceship ("Open the pod bay doors, HAL")
  • HAL's methodical murder of the hibernating crew members
  • the slow de-braining and disconnecting of the computer as Bowman removed memory modules while HAL calmly responded: ("I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it")
  • HAL's child-like singing of "Daisy" as his 'mind' deteriorated
  • the ultimate light-show trip through space ("the Stargate") toward Jupiter and into another dimension
  • the final enigmatic scene of Bowman aging in a Victorian bedroom somewhere beyond Jupiter
  • and the image of the birth of the ambiguous Star Child


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