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The Formula (1980)

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

Director:

John G. Avildsen

Writers:

Steve Shagan (novel), Steve Shagan (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:
George C. Scott ... Barney Caine
Marlon Brando ... Adam Steiffel
Marthe Keller ... Lisa
John Gielgud ... Dr. Esau
G.D. Spradlin ... Clements
Beatrice Straight ... Kay Neeley
Richard Lynch ... Kladen / Tedesco
John Van Dreelen ... Hans Lehman
Robin Clarke Robin Clarke ... Major Neeley
Ike Eisenmann ... Tony
Marshall Thompson ... Geologist #1
Dieter Schidor Dieter Schidor ... Assassin
Werner Kreindl Werner Kreindl ... Schellenberg
Jan Niklas ... Gestapo Captain
Wolfgang Preiss ... Franz Tauber
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Storyline

A detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in World War II to make fuel 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.

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La fórmula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$842,985, 21 December 1980

Gross USA:

$8,894,289

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,894,289
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie represents a rare instance where an author (Steve Shagan) is also the Producer of its movie adaptation. 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.: [Meeting at the Berlin Zoo, second floor aquarium, near closing time] Keep your voice down, Mr. Caine. We have only a few minutes. Now ask your questions.
Barney Caine: Did you see Tom Neeley early in January?
Paul Obermann, Chief Engineer Berlin Power & Light Co.: Yes. We met several times.
Barney Caine: Was Kay Neeley with him?
Paul Obermann, Chief Engineer Berlin Power & Light Co.: On one occasion. We had dinner.
Barney Caine: How did you come to know Tom?
Paul Obermann, Chief Engineer Berlin Power & Light Co.: We met many years ago in Hamburg.
Barney Caine: Under what circumstance?
Paul Obermann, Chief Engineer Berlin Power & Light Co.: In the late spring of 1945,I was captured by the British and taken to their Intelligence Headquarters in Hamburg. Major Neeley was ...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A vindication of the adage "The more things change the more they stay the same."
15 April 2006 | by revtg001See all my reviews

This is a story about a man who discovers an evil plot and risks everything to thwart the scheme. He opposes the ultimate "establishment" and is weighed and found wanting when the time comes to take the final step to expose the ruling classes' determination to keep the lower class lower and the super upper class on top. After all his risks and frustrations and dangers the invisible powers that "be" casually regain the upper hand as if nothing has happened and once again it is business as usual. The movie is a powerful subliminal civics lesson for young people. The antithesis is another Marlon Brando movie titled "Burn." I suggest you see that one also.


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