- Number of Discs: 2
- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 28 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: September 14, 2004
- Originally Released: 1971
- Label: Warner Home Video
- 2-Disc Set
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Director's Cut
- Special Edition
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.78
- Dolby Surround 5.1 - English
- Dolby Surround 5.1 - French
- Dolby Surround 5.1 - Spanish
- Additional Release Material:
- Audio Commentary: George Lucas - Director, Walter Murch - Sound Editor
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- A LEGACY OF FILMMAKERS: THE EARLY YEARS OF AMERICAN ZOETROPE
- ARTIFACT FROM THE FUTURE: MAKING OF BALD
- ELECTRIC LABYRINTH: THX 1138 4EB
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Film Comment - 09/30/2004
"A sci-fi classic..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/24/2004
"[A] good film..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/10/2004
"[A] science-fiction parable set in the 25th century and displaying remarkable visual mastery."
Uncut - 11/01/2004
"[I]t's visually breathtaking."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2004
"[T]he film exhibits a sci-fi sensibility rooted in Orwell, Kubrick and Kafka..."
Total Film - 01/01/2011
4 stars out of 5 -- "Lucas' biggest set is a bare, bleached-out void, while his primary resource is sound, Walter Murch's dense multi-tracks engulfing us in an oppressive drone of voice and noise."
In George Lucas's fascinating debut feature (based on his short student film), the filmmaking wunderkind creates a futuristic, underground world in which bald, drone-like workers are forced to take drugs to regulate their moods and stifle their libidos. THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) and his mate LUH 3417 (Maggie McOmie) are factory workers, building the robotic police that keep order in their stark world. The soundtrack to their lives is a news service that continually lists information about factory accidents, as well as sex and drug crimes, à la George Orwell's 1984. There are electronic confessionals where workers admit to mistakes they've made, outlets THX uses to express his unhappiness with his life. When LUH decides she and THX should stop taking their medication, their sense of humanity--and their desire and love for each other as a couple--is unleashed. It's not long, however, before they are imprisoned for this crime, and LUH learns that she is pregnant. Separated from LUH, THX embarks on a journey to find her, with the help of rebel SEN (Donald Pleasence) and hologram SRT (Don Pedro Colley), eventually attempting escape to the outside world.
Combining complex editing and sound techniques with brilliantly subtle performances, THX 1138 is Lucas's less widely regarded vision of life in outer space, though it stands firmly as an awe-inspiring sci-fi spectacle. The film is also eerily prophetic, depicting a world in which television screens are bombarded with sensationalistic news, sexually explicit films, and vapid comedy shows.
Future / Futuristic Worlds |
Robots / Cyborgs |
Theatrical Release |
- Theatrical release: March 11, 1971
- The film was shot on location in Northern California.
- A special director's cut edition of THX 1138 was released in 2004 after screening at several of America's most prominent film festivals (including the Telluride and Los Angeles Film Festivals).
- Lucas made the quirky decision to have the film's opening credits scroll down instead of up.