2001: A Space Odyssey

Trivia: The little girl on the picture phone is director Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivian. (00:27:50)

Larry Koehn

Trivia: The leopard lying on a dead zebra was actually lying on a dead horse painted to look like a zebra. The cat wasn't too happy with that scene.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: As HAL loses his mind, he begins to sing "Daisy." In 1961, "Daisy" was the first song ever to be reproduced with a nonhuman voice - a computer.


Trivia: It has been long-rumored that Pink Floyd song 'Echoes', which clocks in at 23:27 on the album Meddle, was inspired by the 'Stargate' sequence in this film. And if placed side-by-side, they do line up near-perfectly. However, this has never been 100% confirmed.

Trivia: The Computer Science department at the Engineering School at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, have a "birthday party" for HAL every January 12th - the date & place HAL became operational in the movie.

Trivia: The breathing in the movie, according to Kubrick's daughter, was actually done by Kubrick himself.


Trivia: Stanley Kubrick, a chess fan and one of the strongest chess players in Hollywood, named the surname of chief Soviet scientist who visits the space station, after former Russian chess world-champion Vassily Smyslov.

Kelsey H.

Trivia: Many of the scenes of the expanding galaxies, as Dave was passing by them, was nothing more than paint being funneled down a tube and pouring out into a glass container full of water with a camera beneath to capture the effect.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: Both director Stanley Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke originally chose Jupiter as the Discovery's destination, and production of the Jupiter sequences and elaborate special effects were already finished ("in the can") when Kubrick abruptly decided to change the destination to Saturn. Kubrick thought Saturn with its rings would be more visually exciting than the Jupiter footage that he had already finished, so he ordered his special effects team to begin work on the Saturn effects. At the same time, Arthur C. Clarke changed the destination to Saturn in his "2001" novel that he was writing concurrent with the movie's production. Stanley Kubrick was well known for making such sudden and costly changes in the middle of production, but money wasn't really an issue; in fact, when Kubrick showed MGM studio heads and investors his early special effects footage, they were so awestruck that they all agreed to pay any price for the finished film. The real reason that Kubrick didn't go to Saturn was the protest of his exasperated special effects team, who had spent an enormous amount of time and effort on the already-completed Jupiter footage and had stretched their ingenuity to the point of exhaustion. The FX artists and technicians were extremely proud of their work and argued against simply discarding it to the cutting room floor. Kubrick, in typical fashion, abruptly dropped the Saturn idea without a second thought and stayed with Jupiter. (Strangely enough, Arthur C. Clarke still thought Saturn was a better destination, so he kept it in his novel, which published shortly after the movie premiered).

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: There is no dialogue in the first 25 minutes or in the last 23 minutes of the film.

Trivia: The scene where Bowman is shown floating through HAL's 'brain' prior to disconnect used a stunt double in a space suit suspended by wires behind him. During one take the wires failed, dropping him to the floor and causing serious injury.

Trivia: In the 'Stargate' sequence at the end of the film, the shots that look like colored landscape is actually unused footage from Dr. Strangelove that was colorised.

Trivia: The moon pit where we see the monolith was created by dyeing 90 tons of sand. (Interview with Kier Dullea).


Trivia: Almost every company whose product was advertised in this film is no longer in business.

Trivia: In the ape or Dawn of Man portion of the film, the scenes of the landscapes were created by still projectors near the film camera with a stage in the foreground. This was obvious, in one scene, where the eyes of the leopard were glowing.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: Not only "Echoes," but also the album "Dark Side of the Moon," less the songs "Money," "Us and Them," and "Any Colour You Like," can be perfectly synchronized to the Stargate sequence.

Trivia: Alex North originally scored 2001. Kubrick eventually decided to go with classical music instead for he used classical music on his sets to set the mood for his actors.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: To film Dave Bowman's explosive transition from the pod into the Discovery, a vertical airlock set was constructed. Keir Dullea was suspended on wires and pulled to the top of the set as the camera shot upwards from below. This, combined with the establishing shot of the pod lined up with the airlock door, gave the illusion that he was floating horizontally into the ship - the wires suspending him from the ceiling were hidden behind his body.


Trivia: People speculate that HAL is a reference to IBM, as the letters differ by one position. Kubrick says this is a coincidence, but was concerned about IBM's reaction to the film's references, including the IBM logo on Bowman's spacesuit. However IBM had no problem as long as they weren't associated with the "equipment failure," or listed as technical advisors for the computer.


Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: Despite decades of rumors regarding the relationship between Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" and IBM, the fact is that IBM worked very closely with the production (assisting and advising on futuristic onscreen computer effects), and there was never any conflict or concern with IBM's reaction to the film.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: On the Pan Am space plane, the letters IBM appear above the computer, making them the only company appearing in this film still in business.


Revealing mistake: When we see the space station from the cockpit of the approaching shuttle, the station does not appear to rotate because the shuttle is rotating at the same speed. OK...except that the station IS still rotating with respect to the sun, which means that the light source and shadows on the station should be moving.

More mistakes in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

More quotes from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Question: I don't understand the significance of the monolith or the starbaby. Can someone explain it to me?

Answer: As author Arthur C. Clarke explained it, the first Monolith (the one seen at the beginning of the film and then buried on the Moon) was a space probe from an incomprehensibly more advanced alien intelligence that resided inside a star elsewhere in the cosmos. The Monolith's objective was to seek out lifeforms that had potential and "tweak" their neural evolution, causing them to evolve toward intelligence. In the case of Mankind on Earth, once the modification was made, the Monolith probe retreated to the Moon and waited 4 million years for Mankind to reach it. When Mankind reached the Moon, the Monolith sent a signal to the next phase of the experiment, which was another Monolith in orbit of Jupiter. When Mankind reached the Jupiter Monolith in a matter of months, the Monolith acted as an interdimensional portal to the other side of the universe, transporting the evolved human specimen to its creator (that resided within a star). The creator intelligence found the specimen (Dave Bowman) to be of acceptable quality and rapidly evolved him to the next level, a Star Child. The Star Child is a "godly" evolution of Mankind. The Star Child chooses to instantaneously return to its home planet (Earth), where it stops a nuclear war.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: The monolith is a monitor placed by the aliens to track the progress of developing civilizations. When humanity found the monolith on the Moon, that signaled a certain level of technological advancement. The starbaby is the evolution of the astronaut, as the symbol of humanity, from "Earth-bound" to a true child of the universe, turning his back on the Earth and looking toward the stars.


In both the Arthur C. Clarke story and in the movie, the Star Child does not "turn his back on Earth"; quite the contrary, as soon as Bowman transforms into the Star Child, his first impulse is to instantaneously return to Earth, which he does just in time to stop a nuclear war. In essence, Bowman becomes the guardian of Earth.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: In 3001: The Final Odyssey, Clarke makes clear what many already suspected: The Monolith was malfunctioning by the time it tweaked human evolution. It increased human aggression in order to assure human survival, but this was a hasty move, which saddled humanity with a never ending series of destructive conflicts. Kubrick also hinted at this in a later movie. The Monolith appears in Full Metal Jacket, presumably inspiring the soldiers in the Vietnamese War to solve their problems by killing, just as it had inspired the fighting hominids millions of years before.

The monolith from 2001 does not appear in Full Metal Jacket. There is a tall burning building in the background during Cowboy's death scene but it takes a hell of a stretch of the imagination to see it as a monolith. It's just a ruined building. Kubrick himself confirmed this in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine - it's combination of coincidence and wishful thinking.

More questions & answers from 2001: A Space Odyssey

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