The Pendragon Society

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Director: Stanley Kubrick Cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth

Remarkably once labelled as dull, unimaginative and lacking dramatic appeal, Kubrick’s grand science fiction spectacle took four years to prepare and used special effects, particularly in depicting space flight, that were without precedent in the industry. The film, which follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith, deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the existence of extraterrestrial life. With the hypnotic imagery, scientific realism and Kubrick’s elaborate use of music, 2001 is now acclaimed as visionary cinema. Even watching it fifty years after its original release, you are provided with a visual and technical quality that’s still without equal in the history of film. Stuart B

Buy or Rent (watch online)
2001: The Making of a Myth (Buy or Rent, watch online)
BD/4K Ultra HD [Blu-ray]
Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece (kindle)
Stanley Kubrick Triple Feature (2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange / The Shining) [Blu-ray]


One of the most ambiguous parts of the film is the meaning of the monolith and multiple interpretations have been examined in the critical reception of the film. In Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, ‘The Sentinal’ (which inspired the film) the monolith is a tool created by an alien race that has been through many stages of evolution, moving from organic form to bio-mechanical, and finally achieving a state of pure energy. These aliens travel the cosmos assisting lesser species to take evolutionary steps. However, several critics have noted that the differences between the story and film mean that this can only be seen as one interpretation. Others have proposed  a variety of allegorical meanings.


  • Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman
  • Gary Lockwood as Dr. Frank Poole
  • William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood Floyd
  • Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL 9000
  • Daniel Richter as the chief man-ape (novel and film cast list give the character the name “Moonwatcher”)
  • Leonard Rossiter as Dr. Andrei Smyslov
  • Margaret Tyzack as Elena
  • Robert Beatty as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen
  • Sean Sullivan as Dr. Roy Michaels
  • Frank Miller as mission controller
  • Edward Bishop as Lunar shuttle captain
  • Edwina Carroll as Aries stewardess
  • Penny Brahms as stewardess
  • Heather Downham as stewardess
  • Maggie d’Abo as stewardess (Space Station 5 elevator) (uncredited)
  • Chela Matthison as stewardess (Mrs. Turner, Space Station 5 reception) (uncredited)
  • Judy Keirn as Voiceprint identification girl (Space Station 5) (uncredited)
  • Alan Gifford as Poole’s father
  • Ann Gillis as Poole’s mother
  • Vivian Kubrick as Floyd’s daughter (uncredited)
  • Kenneth Kendall as the BBC announcer (uncredited)

Arthur C. Clarke indicated his preferred reading of the ending of 2001 as oriented toward the creation of “a new heaven” as provided by the star child at the conclusion of the film.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Produced by Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Ray Lovejoy
Running time 161 minutes
Country United Kingdom, United States
Language English