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The Formula (1980)

The synthetic fuel production formula, invented by the Nazis at the end of WW2, is sought after by some who aim to sell it and by others who wish to destroy it.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
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Kay Neeley
...
General Helmut Kladen / Frank Tedesco
...
Robin Clarke ...
Major Tom Neeley
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Tony
...
Geologist #1
Dieter Schidor ...
Assassin
Werner Kreindl ...
Schellenberg
...
Gestapo Captain
...
Franz Tauber, Swiss businessman
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Storyline

A detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in WW II to make gasoline from synthetic products, thereby eliminating the necessity for oil--and oil companies. A major oil company finds out about it and tries to destroy the formula and anyone who knows about it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the best-selling mystery thriller that rips the truth from behind today's headlines See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La fórmula  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$842,985 (USA) (21 December 1980)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reportedly, director John G. Avildsen distanced himself from the picture after it was completed. Apparently, Avildsen wanted to have his name removed from the credits as both editor and director. This request was unsuccessful and Avildsen's credits remained. Avildsen complained that after his final edit, writer-producer Steve Shagan allegedly re-edited the picture differently to Avildsen's final cut. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of The Formula, a Nazi General is given the task of driving a truck to the Swiss border. In the next scene the truck has been captured by the US Army. The scene is shot in the snow. This is supposed to take place in the first week of May 1945. There is nowhere that would be covered in snow between Berlin and the Swiss border in May, even if he went the long way i.e. via Austria. See more »

Quotes

Paul Obermann, Chief Engineer Berlin Power & Light Co.: In Germany, one does not bring police into matters which concern the past.
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Connections

Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
" Want to know why fuel is so high, don't ask me, I'm only a customer "
21 September 2012 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Steve Shagan wrote this novel long before the film emerged and became a prophetic warning to the world. After reading the story, I concluded the book is much more informative and a hell of a lot more more interesting. Still, the power of George C. Scott makes for a good understanding of the world's fuel problems and the greedy men who neatly arrange for it's sale and distribution. John G. Avidsen directed this film and although he used the star power of Marlon Brando to attract a large audience, he fail to capitalized on the combination of his leading men. The story as found in the novel begins with the murder of a retired LAPD police officer and assigned to Lt. Barney Caine (George C. Scott). Although evidence suggests the dead Officer died from Cocaine, Caine suspects it was blatant murder. With a gut feeling and growing suspicion of multiple involvement by others, Caine travels to Europe to learn who was behind the killings in America. This eventually leads to Adam Steiffel (Marlon Brando) a very rich and powerful Oil Executive based in the US who explains where and how the world works. A Plethora of Hollywood stars including John Gielgud, Marshall Thompson and Wolfgang Preiss, makes for a solid movie, but one wonders why Brando is only given minimal screen exposure. Still, with name recognition alone this will become a Classic George C. Scott milestone. ****


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