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THX 1138
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THX 1138

1971
Drama
Sci-fi
1h 26m
George Lucas adapted this, his first film, from a short he made at University. THX 1138, LUH 3417, and SEN 5241 attempt to escape from a futuristic society located beneath the surface of the Earth. The society has outlawed sex, with drugs used to control the people. THX 1138 stops taking the drugs, and gets LUH 3417 pregnant. They are both thrown in jail where they meet SEN 5241 and start to plan their escape. (imdb)
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THX 1138

1971
Drama
Sci-fi
1h 26m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 50.5% from 2058 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(2057)
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Rated 21 Jan 2007
73
64th
Lucas could have had something special here (and in a way he did), although it really doesn't reach it's potential. I think that all things wrong and all things right with George Lucas are nicely displayed in THX 1138. Some of the compostions (and photography in general) are really nice in this film, plus the atmosphere and art design are really neat.
Rated 17 Feb 2013
75
68th
Like a chocolate mousse, pretty and delicious at first, but ultimately unsubstantial. The movie is gorgeous but SO dull.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
57
14th
Lucas brings little new to dystopian stories, but at least he executes it with a little style. There are occasional scenes that show insight, but most of them are either tedious or clichéd (or perhaps they just seem cliché from a modern viewpoint?), and the film ends with a lengthy car chase of all things.
Rated 19 Sep 2007
75
71st
great movie and like Lucas says "it isn't a movie about the future it's a movie from the future".
Rated 16 Feb 2009
78
66th
Lucas does a fantastic job in the direction, and writing departments, if only this movie had more happening in it, but unfortounately, it's an amazing vision with not enough filler in it.
Rated 16 Aug 2022
65
71st
I heard that 18-year-old Xi Jinping saw this...and liked it! The scene with two operators blandly discussing their equipment as their subject is assaulted on their screens really foreshadows Collateral Murder. In short, it seems, half a century later, that this film deserves more credit for anticipating the future (a world where efficient causality has eliminated all others) than perhaps it was given at the time. Impressively austere and dreamlike. The later addition of CGI monkeys was an error.
Rated 31 May 2012
45
6th
Getting through this movie was like pulling teeth. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of George Lucas, but this movie was just really boring. THX 1138 played by Robert Duvall has been under sedation his whole life. His whole community has. When his roommate LUH snaps him out of his mental fog, he decides to escape the colony that he lives in. This sounds all neat and everything but the movie is a lot of white rooms and annoying sound effects that sound better used in Star Wars. Don't waste your TIM
Rated 19 Jul 2023
71
70th
One of my favorite things about the eventual AI takeover will be the sound judgement they feature where cost analysis will dictate to what extent they hunt us down to kill us. * I sincerely thought I had already rated this with some comment about the CGI monkey men Lucas added but it turns out the only time I've mentioned this on here was in my review for The Omen remake from 2006. I recalled it a little too easily in all reality but I'd like to believe the AI helped subconsciously.
Rated 11 Jun 2020
60
62nd
Driector's cut. George Lucas had vision once upon a time. I love retro-futurism and the style in this dystopian society is well-polished. It does get a bit Orwellian and drags in the middle. Fav scene: stylish bike chase in the tunnel and the ridiculous stunt of getting hit midair by the motorcycle and then being slammed into the car.
Rated 27 Sep 2020
60
23rd
Lucas does a good job of what he's best at ... world creating. This film is set in a vividly designed dystopia created on a low budget using striking Brutalist architecture to stand in for the future. Sadly, the story set in this world is a dreary blend of "Brave New World" and "1984" with the incompatible parts of those stories stuffed uncomfortably into a 1 1/2 hour film.
Rated 28 Oct 2020
47
9th
Ultimately an irritating debut effort from Lucas - while the film is strikingly if coldly designed (if Radford's 1984 was too warm and fuzzy for your taste, you may respond to this more), the dense and confusing storytelling feels like being assaulted by a gloomy pedant at a party. Typically unsettling Schifrin score feels like a page from the Lynch songbook - in fact, the whole film could be described as Lynchian (before that was a style), without the flash. May reward a second viewing.
Rated 05 May 2021
80
67th
A beautiful and inspired film visually with shoddy pacing. White is angelic but feels oppressive and hellish here. Up until a certain point I was really into the mystery of this and felt that it was almost a horror movie (without jump scares) at times. But then it gets to the extended scene in the white background and it loses some steam from that point on. Still a great flick, but this was trending towards a 90 for me at first.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
32
27th
Feh. Student film, portentous sci-fi "film of ideas." Spare me.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
87
89th
The story is decent, but visual style and the score are where this movie really shines. Among Lucas' best.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
65
8th
Wacky stuff. 1984-ish but not as intelligent as that book.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
5
57th
Fascinating if only to see that once upon a time, the infamous commercial Blockbuster king George Lucas was an experimental and trippy as fuck filmmaker. Dystopian futures have been done better before and since, but Lucas fans should all check out the man's roots.
Rated 14 Jan 2023
75
84th
(Viewed in 2022): Visionary set design, brilliant use of sound, and extraordinarily focused for a film debut. It's over 40 years old now but its retro-future look hasn't really dated. The problem is with some of the acting, which is standard for Lucas, and a real dead patch in the middle that slows an already casually paced film to a crawl. Thankfully the final escape-chase scene compensates and in many ways foreshadows what Lucas would later do with Star Wars.
Rated 08 Dec 2008
50
33rd
It is kind of neat watching George Lucas' first movie. It is kind of boring, but when Duvall and Pleasance make their escape, it gets very interesting and fun to watch. Even the scenery was awesome.
Rated 14 Dec 2022
0
1st
Abstract, boring wank
Rated 22 May 2009
5
42nd
*I saw the Special Edition with the extra/expanded sets, new cgi and new scenes*: Lucas wrote the story, which means the dialogue and characters are shallow as hell and the plot is underdeveloped and disjointed. The atmosphere, on the other hand, is very cool and many sound bites, visual cues and set designs are an obvious stepping stone to Star Wars. I liked the ending. Sci-fi fans will probably enjoy this.
Rated 13 Nov 2010
78
80th
Lucas' first major production is seriously classy. The photography, design, artwork and musical score are good enough for anybody to feast their eyes and ears upon. The screenplay in true Lucas fashion is nothing special whatsoever, but really that's not too important when a film has as much to treat the senses as "THX 1138" does.
Rated 10 Jun 2012
67
26th
Obviously, yet sadly, this is George Lucas at his best. I wasn't expect any original premise and that was exactly the case. Although, it was interesting to see a film that regardless of where you were in the plot, whether rising action, climax, or Dénouement, it never changed it's pace or stylistic approaches which made it utterly predictable. A shallow and lackadaisical performance from Duvall didn't add substance to the film either.
Rated 09 Nov 2013
75
26th
George Lucas doesn't offer many answers in his first film, instead choosing to let the audience try and adapt to the norms of this society. Visually, the film is astounding (everything is so empty and sterile), but I simply didn't find the story interesting at all, so it became a bit of a chore after a while.
Rated 15 Nov 2021
51
17th
Points for costumes and visuals. Nothing else really to say
Rated 27 Mar 2016
6
34th
LOGLINE: Lonesome, disaffected young woman drugs unsuspecting male victim in her rabid pursuit for sexual gratification; DIALOGUE/STORYLINE: Poor; CHARACTERIZATION: Fair; CONCEPT: Excellent; RECOMMENDATION: Yes
Rated 16 Dec 2017
8
72nd
incredibly cool world he created, tons of cool environments and eye candy, but the emotional sterility, even though it fit the lore, was a downside for me, the human viewer, and the ending chase was underwhelming.
Rated 15 Jun 2018
61
33rd
It's ahead of its time in terms of special effects and general sci-fi filmmaking, but it's also pretty dense. Not the easiest to sink your teeth into. It was hard for me to get an overall picture of this sci-fi world and how their society works, which is probably because the movie dives fully into that world, not making any effort to give you a frame of reference for how it diverged from modern society.
Rated 06 Apr 2019
66
70th
good movie
Rated 30 May 2020
77
53rd
The first half of this movie is gorgeously shot with tons of intrigue, but then it loses track of the narrative and is squandered in the final act by an odd and over-long chase scene. Lucas had tons of great ideas and there are flashes of things he would perfect with Star Wars. Worth a watch for sure, Duvall in particular is great, but don't expect too much.
Rated 29 Dec 2006
30
11th
WTF???
Rated 01 Mar 2007
70
82nd
Great film.
Rated 29 Mar 2007
3
45th
It comes as no surprise that, even in this earliest of stages in Lucas' career, the plotting is underwhelming but the imagination runs wild. The abstract visual design is in sharp contrast to the familiar and cliche thematics. So even if it's not new and insightful territory, it's realized in a way that's interesting enough to push you through the end.
Rated 04 Jun 2007
80
89th
The idea is a cliché. Big brother-style society watches everyone, most things considered fun or positive are banned and the protagonist tries to escape this madness. What really makes this movie for me is the ending and the hilarious police units.
Rated 26 Jun 2007
90
79th
Brilliant film all around.
Rated 03 Jul 2007
95
90th
Sci-Fi at it's best. A very depressing and ominous look into what the future can hold. Great visuals, George Lucas' best.
Rated 11 Jul 2023
45
10th
As much as I love Star Wars, this pre-ejaculate of Lucas was just a 80 minutes of incoherent mumbling that could be the worst advertisement for the sci-fi genre. Just watch Sexmission if you kind of like the setting but want something more fun, or any fun at all.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
60
47th
I still don't understand.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
98th
One of the finest works of both Lucas and the science fiction genre. Superb acting and incredible special effects still stand up to the test of time. A must-own for any self-described sci-fi buff.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
80
58th
short but really well done
Rated 14 Aug 2007
70
61st
Surprisingly enough it's not a bad film for a low budget entry. I much prefer this to star wars at any rate
Rated 20 May 2023
5
26th
It's visually great, but the setting feels like a bunch of dystopian set dressing with no real thought or message behind it.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
89
74th
with no doubt the best work of george lucas
Rated 28 Aug 2007
90
60th
Dare I say that I liked this single venture by Lucas more than the Star Wars movies? I did, I love how he uses uncomfortable silences and dialog to compliment the vast empty spaces and distant characters. With so little going on it is strange that this film can actually be quite exhausting.
Rated 16 Sep 2007
60
39th
Some good ideas are here, but the movie is dull and stretches itself too thin.
Rated 08 Dec 2007
80
64th
8 aralik 07-gelecegin karamsar tasviri hos ve bazi zekice ayrintilar var(orn: sacsiz kafalar, dini konular)
Rated 19 May 2023
50
31st
Quite nice visually. The setting is interesting, however the film goes nowhere with it, the characters are not interesting and the story is barebones. After reading about the history of this film, it's pretty clear that George Lucas creatively peaked with this film.
Rated 03 Feb 2008
0
8th
Sure the visual design is original and trend-setting, but good Lord what a dull movie this is
Rated 05 Feb 2008
87
93rd
Some scenes were a bit too extented, but the cinematography, sets and atmosphere stunning. Good performances too. Police force was a bit too comic, but it did not bother much. Depressive and beautiful story - the cliche idea was executed fine. Much better flick than any of his commercially successful Star Wars films. Some minus points for later added CGI effects.
Rated 05 Feb 2008
75
52nd
Compared to Clockwork Orange, THX really doesn't have much to brag about. The imagery is beautiful, however, and this one definately makes for some nice posters.
Rated 03 Mar 2008
82
76th
It's bleak and depressive. Great scenery and beautiful atmosphere.
Rated 29 Mar 2008
10
6th
WTF?
Rated 08 Aug 2008
89
64th
Being an 80's person I tend to dislike old Sci-Fi, as movies are usually tacky, unrealistic, and the acting, face it, is terrible. THX was an eye opener that there could actually be good old Sci-Fi movies, and in fact are a limited few gems out there.
Rated 09 Aug 2008
7
80th
Who would've thought that Lucas actually has an eye for directing. Gets pretty tedious at times but a worthwhile experience overall.
Rated 08 Sep 2008
76
48th
In my opinion, this is Lucas' best movie. There veryboday can see that he had potential as a director but then he did Star Wars... This movie is brilliantly done for a low budget, independent movie.
Rated 16 Sep 2008
78
60th
An icy slab of hard science fiction. The storytelling is a little slow and clunky at times, disguised by the thorough realization of the stark future-world. If anything, Lucas's approach is a little square. The few odd moments--such as Robert Duvall convulsing strangely in a bare white room as a pair of voices engage in a passionless discussion--hint at the agreeable funkiness Lucas could have brought to his work if only he'd followed that particular weird tone of his muse.
Rated 17 Sep 2008
49
69th
Kun på grund af Lucas
Rated 24 Sep 2008
45
8th
Why can't he just make a movie and be happy with it, stop with all the changes to your films...
Rated 08 Oct 2008
74
58th
The story doesn't really break any ground, but it's a decently entertaining film.
Rated 27 Oct 2008
55
47th
Terrible mix of confusion, more like a bad acid trip than a decent film. Although unfortunately displeasing, this was the stepping stone to many current futuristic films.
Rated 30 Nov 2008
87
89th
Very odd. The metaphors at play don't break any new ground, but it's excellently put together.
Rated 04 Jan 2009
100
75th
CULT CLASSIC!!
Rated 05 Mar 2009
43
12th
This was originally filmed as a short film at USC. Francis Ford Coppola was so impressed he took Lucas to Warner Brothers, who financed this full-length version.
Rated 18 Mar 2009
65
38th
Visually dazzling but brings nothing new to the dystopian future genre, and it's too disjointed.
Rated 09 Apr 2009
87
75th
Rehashing everything one would expect in this type of distopia but adds a clinical, machine-efficiency over the dehumanizing aspect which I think is presented remarkably well for the budget.
Rated 14 Apr 2009
25
13th
So here it is, the film that Lucas references in all of his other work. whatever.
Rated 26 Apr 2009
90
50th
A struggle for the individual in a sterile dystopian environment.
Rated 29 May 2009
40
64th
An engaging, picturesque and thought-provoking classic sci-fi movie. Left me wondering why nowadays' sci-fi movies are not as good as this.
Rated 03 Jun 2009
75
55th
seen, but forgot to rate here at criticker.
Rated 30 Jul 2009
82
68th
A surprisingly well-executed film with a lot of arthouse storytelling that is refreshing to see form an early, student Lucas. He clearly had a vision and incorporated numerous FX styles to create several very compelling shots for '71. The withholding of exposition and the codes and technical jargon throughout really add to the unique atmosphere. The plot wasn't new then, but it was very, very well done.
Rated 04 Dec 2009
25
43rd
Orwellian science fiction; a thoughtful, rather cold affair which is always good to look at.
Rated 27 Jan 2010
73
22nd
Excellent sets. Little else to recommend it.
Rated 11 Jun 2010
70
65th
On one hand your average low budget anti-totalitarian science fiction story, as black and white as anything from that era. On the other hand a low budget anti-totalitarian science fiction story!
Rated 14 Nov 2022
63
39th
THX 1138 is made more interesting simply by being Lucas' early work. The film itself (Director's Cut) is just okay. There are moments where Lucas' talent shines through, noticeably with wide shots full of empty space & monitors. Likewise his weakness with dialogue is also present, over-using jargon that seems increasingly nonsensical the closer you listen. Lucas' dystopia fails to say anything, though the visuals are the focus. The car chase was dull. Typical 70's sci-fi, for better & for worse.
Rated 01 Aug 2010
3
35th
What?
Rated 31 Aug 2010
72
51st
Interesting in places, this film is mostly dull and impenetrable. My experience with it likely suffered due to seeing it in the Director's Cut (Lucas should be prevented from messing with his old films). It has the ponderousness and pace of 2001, but without any of the interesting visuals to keep the viewer engaged. Overall, it's elevated by its ideas and I plan to seek out the original cut and re-evaluate at some point.
Rated 12 Oct 2010
5
81st
I think the threadbare plot/characters enhanced this in atmosphere; the sense of unease gave out towards the end, but never significantly. The original version may score even higher (those new bells and whistles Lucas adds, as with the SW series, don't seem to add up to much but distraction).
Rated 04 Nov 2010
77
50th
Like most 60s/70s scifi, it's a mix of really cool art direction and parts that just haven't held up at all. Lucas is suprisingly patient at times, letting scenes breathe and develop naturally. Elsewhere it feels more like the Lucas we know now. Probably my favorite Donald Pleasence presence.
Rated 23 Nov 2010
70
59th
I pay my respects to the good George Lucas after seeing this. Brimming with ambition, this film's minimalistic art direction and talented cinematography offers pure eye-candy especially for big screen audiences. I for one would love to see it in the cinema should I ever get the chance. It is largely undertold and daring, which makes passages pretty incomprehendable, but it loosens up towards the end so you won't be left too disoriented, come climax.
Rated 17 Jan 2011
75
19th
Oldschool George lucas
Rated 12 Jul 2011
100
99th
Amazing in every aspect.
Rated 09 Oct 2011
80
66th
79.750
Rated 13 Feb 2012
95
0th
Fantastic cinematography.
Rated 22 Feb 2012
50
27th
This is kind of embarrassing. I didn't really get it. I got lost in the plot once they had their little prison break in the middle of the film. I kind of liked the ponderous and cold tone, though.
Rated 19 Jul 2012
31
6th
The film has some great, great visuals, which make it certainly worth watching once. But at no point in the film did I feel any sense of emotional resonance or escalation in the plot. The story just plodded along at a bone-dry, impersonal crawl, with each scene feeling like an eternity.
Rated 27 Sep 2012
74
77th
A naive but mesmerizing first film by Lucas, with a pace and a slow character development that would never appear again in his features.
Rated 16 Feb 2013
60
43rd
This film was adapted from Lucas' own short film and you can tell he was really trying to stretch it to feature film length. There was just too much 'futuristic' nonsense and meaningless dialogue. It felt so much like George Orwell's 1984, and had nothing more to add. It did have a lot of great visuals and production design though. A bit disappointing overall, but definitely a very competent debut film.
Rated 15 Oct 2013
80
64th
79.500
Rated 19 Oct 2013
6
1st
Boring.
Rated 20 Oct 2013
55
17th
alright early sci-fi flick from George Lucas which does have some interesting visuals and themes(conformity,banality of evil,etc) but the film is slow paced and this hurts the film. It also can get a little boring at times too. I'm not a fan of this film but I'm glad I saw it and for a low budget first film, it shows Lucas potential as a film maker which he'd put to good use in the making of Star Wars and American Graffiti.
Rated 13 Nov 2014
67
38th
Visionary but not that great in terms of basic storytelling. It has a lot of cool ideas and relatively impressive presentation but also full of cliches and doesn't really build anything substantial on top of them. Still there is a creative spark in the execution that makes it enjoyable if ultimately a bit wasteful.
Rated 10 Feb 2015
40
16th
Quite derivative and unimaginative.
Rated 22 Feb 2016
80
78th
Boring at times, but LAWD JESUS, the cinematography and scoring shine.
Rated 23 Feb 2016
2
11th
Visually interesting, thematically so boring.
Rated 20 Mar 2017
10
56th
George lucas's actual gem.
Rated 14 Jan 2024
60
44th
Original Cut
Rated 01 Jan 2018
85
87th
George Lucas presents his freshman outing as an Aldous Huxley fever dream. The constant activity and noise is paired with a sparse, colorless landscape that is eerily New Wave. The deliberate pacing is obviously a sour point for many, but the film seems to scratch an itch for me. George Lucas's fiddling thirty-some years later is perplexing. His insecurity is quite detrimental to an otherwise great piece of work.
Rated 27 Jul 2018
40
3rd
Equilibrium&Equals+alsoreligion>sexetc+prisonlikehyperbolictimechamberlol+theyliketurnedhisgftoafetuslol+lolcarchasepodrace+somecrazyblackgoblinmonkeys+hegetsouttothetattooinesunlmao kinda cool but boring so i stopped paying attention
Rated 15 Jan 2019
70
53rd
Female voice (medicine cabinet): "If you feel you are not properly sedated, call 348-844 immediately. Failure to do so may result in prosecution for criminal drug evasion."
Rated 06 Jan 2020
65
38th
The visual design and special effects are amazing. So much attention to detail here. But the story itself is largely a snooze. It was interesting to see this and get another view of what Star Wars evolved from, but as a film in its own right I wouldn't want to see it again.
Rated 02 Mar 2021
59
22nd
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