“This is the voice of Colossus, the voice of Guardian. We are one.”
Dr. Charles A. Forbin (Eric Braeden) is the head of a special project called “Colossus”. It is a highly developed computer system designed to protect America from attack. Housed deep within a mountain, Colossus controls U.S. and allied nuclear weapon systems. It is completely self contained and impenetrable. With a little fanfare The President of the United States (Gordon Pinsent) has Colossus activated.
Immediately the system sends back a message “THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM”. Everyone scrambles. Contact is made with the Russian Chairman (Leonid Rostoff). Russia confirms that they have activated their own system called Guardian. The builder of Guardian is Dr. Kuprin (Alex Rodine). Kuprin and Forbin are acquainted and have mutual respect for each other. When Colossus requests to be linked with Guardian the President decides to allow it hoping to gain secrets from the Soviets. Russia also agrees to the link. The two systems begin to develop a communication system that starts with math. Rapidly they develop their own form of communication that exceeds the capability of humans to understand.
Worried that the two systems are trading secrets the President and the Russian Chairman decide to sever the link. The two systems try to reestablish the link with no success. Both Colossus and Guardian threaten to send missiles to destroy select targets if the link is not reestablished. The President refuses.
Colossus sends a missile to blow up an oil field in Russia. Guardian sends a missile to blow up an Air Force Base in America. The U.S. manages to reestablish the link in time to have the Russian missile intercepted but Russia does not complete their link in time. The oil field is destroyed. To cover for the incident The president released a statement to the press that during testing a missile misfired from one of our submarines but Colossus managed to blow it up. Russian propaganda issues a statement that the oil field was destroyed by a meteorite.
Forbin and Dr. Kuprin arrange to meet in Italy to figure out what to do. When Colossus learns of the meeting it orders that Forbin return to the U.S. Guardian orders the murder of Dr. Kuprin or it will launch a missile attack on Moscow. Forbin is now challenged with finding a way to stop Colossus and Guardian while under the watchful eye of Colossus.
“Colossus: The Forbin Project” was released in 1970 and was directed by Joseph Sargent. It is an American science fiction thriller based on the 1966 novel “Colossus” by Dennis Feltham Jones. It is an incredibly underrated and extremely fascinating cold war film.
It is slightly reminiscent of the film “War Games” 1983 only much scarier. It could also be compared to Skynet from the “Terminator” franchise but again is more terrifying. Many have said an apocalypse is possible when robots take over the Earth. Colossus was built to prevent war. Now that it has taken over, if necessary, it will destroy man to ensure that prevention. It is actually a frightening and sobering film.
The thought of computers taking over the world has been around since their existence. The idea that a machine could be smarter than humans and therefore consider them inferior or even irrelevant has been one of man’s deepest fears. Cybermen, Daleks even the Borg are examples of machines that view mankind as less than useful. Of course it would be our own fault. In Colossus the computer controls humans by threatening to blow them up with nuclear warheads. And then follows through on that threat if not complied with. If man had not made the nuclear warheads in the first place much of Colossus’ vibrato would be just that, vibrato.
In 2014 Stephen Hawking said "Success in creating Artificial Intelligence would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks."
This is one movie I highly recommend.
Paul Frees does the voice of Colossus/Guardian.