The Formula (1980) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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 Runtime: 117 min Release Date: 19 Dec 1980
This movie is not for the weak of mind. The plot is complex. I remember reading reviews that used words like "murky." Since the movie was a bit more complex than cops chasing robbers around some city at high speed most critics lack the intellectual wherewithal to keep track of what is going on.Beginning with a friend's murder in Los Angeles Lt. Barney Caine, LAPD, George C. Scott follows a trail which takes him to Europe and leads to a formula for turning coal into gasoline. It takes Caine a while to uncover this and the plot takes a number of twists and turns. The ending can <more>
only reinforce one's cynicism about how the world works.The performances are strong and the movie is well worth the time taken to view it.
Eerie believability based in historical fact... (by artistsnwriters)
I went out and rented this film after thirty-odd years to simply see it again and to revisit my first impressions; and after thirty-five years in oil.I was actually in petrochemical engineering and construction---a builder, not a driller---but the drillers were my clients and I learned from both. Everything revolving around the basic premise of this film, the situations, the dialogue, the revelation of world economic truths, the actual history behind the modern-day, post-war plot line, the intrigue, and the superb conflict-acting by both George C. Scott and Marlon Brando made this cinematic <more>
foray into a little-known history of my former business all the more believable---and here's why: During the war, the Third Reich, and out of sheer necessity from its failed campaigns in both North Africa and the Caucasus Mountains, actually DID develop synthetic petroleum extracted from coal called "coal hydrogenation", or "Kohleveredelung" in the Ruhr Basin for everything from lubricants to fuels to other synthetic by-products. The principal synthetic refineries at Merseburg, Magdeburg, and Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and Ploesti, Romania 11 facilities all-told , and a number of related others, were raided by both the US Army Air Forces and RAF Bomber Command as "maximum-effort" targets to be destroyed at all costs. The Wehrmacht had it and we didn't and we wanted it, and after the war, we got it and kept it, and kept it a secret, so the movie really is a loose form of cinéma vérité. This was more than alluded to in George C. Scott's final scene of excoriation of Marlon Brando's character, which was eerily similar to Ned Beatty's soliloquy and not-dissimilar treatment of Peter Finch in the earlier 1976 feature film, "Network", however, much shorter.The one tag line that brought it all into focus by Scott at the end was, "You're not in the oil business; you're in the oil SHORTAGE business!" Although panned by a number of reviewers including The New York Times, amongst others for everything from goofs all movies have them , acting, and art direction, I gave it five stars, simply for the combination of a familiar hypothesis and idea, and with the raw dynamic acting talent of those two splendid late giants of the film industry, Scott and Brando.To someone as me who cut his teeth in the oil business out of college, and whose father actually bombed some of these plants from a B-17 during the war, it was once again mesmerizing to see this both rumored and storied mystery come to life.
Talent-studded, well acted Late-70s Propaganda (by paul vincent zecchino)
By all means, see this film if you wish to understand the moronic, disingenuous, commie-rat mindset which infested the 1970s.'The film the oil companies don't want you so see'??? Yeah. Right. What would they care? Which oil companies? Time and President Reagan proved the premise of this film to be false, a self-serving propaganda piece perhaps crafted to make Jimmy Carter, look good and win a second term. This would likely have resulted in us speaking Russian, those fortunate enough to survive, wouldn't it?The oil companies along with the American people in 1980 were enduring <more>
The Carter Glory Years, when both moslem radical and soviet thugs held America hostage, with the apparent approval of the commander in chief. One of the ways in which these intergenerational, symbiotically relatedhead lice held us for ransom was by means of 'oil embargoes'. OPEC constantly engineered 'oil shortages' throughout the 70s, starting in the fall of '73.The Carter Glory Years featured inane 'Big Bad Oil' fairy tales, invented by leftists and repeated by the uninformed. One tale was that oil companies were sitting on trillions of gallons of oil, awaiting a mysterious price hike. Another was the fatuous muth about 'the guy up in Maine who invented a seventy - the number steadily rose from seventy to one hundred to two hundred and beyond - mile per gallon carburetor but Big Bad Oil Companies and Evil Detroit stole his patent and destroyed his plans.That's the false premise of this film, which explains why it's patently stupid, boring, and false. If we'd only stop and THINK about that which we hear, eh? Ask yourself, what oil company and/or car maker could get away with it? Answer: none. Ask yourself, what oil company and/or car maker wouldn't love to be the first to market a new car line with a two-hundred mile per gallon carburetor? Every one would love to do so, wouldn't they?This fairy tale's silliness was compounded by the fact that by the 1980s, computer controlled carburetors were being supplanted by fuel injection. That said, a gallon of gas can push a given weight only so far and no more, no matter what some 'guy up in Maine' claims to have invented.With Hollywood, if you want to know the truth, turn the lies in its movies 180 degrees around and you'll have it.Interestingly, within a couple years of The Formula's release, President Reagan got government out of the oil business, and gas became plentiful and cheap. This permanently angered The Left as well as sore loser Mr. Peanuts, but facts are facts.Would you expect any different from Hollywood? Why? Didn't both Lenin and Stalin say, 'give me Hollywood and I'll control the world'? You think they just sat back went to sleep after saying that?Marta Keller is beautiful to behold and George C. Scott is as always, a barely contained hi-voltage dynamo of psychic energy.Boring? It's no different from British horror films in which the monster never shows up for curtain call but instead you listen - for two hours running time - to professorial British gents discussing the beast as they sip Port in the walnut panelled drawing room of a country estate located a discrete distance to the west of London.Paul Vincent ZecchinoMassive Critic at Critial MassManasoviet Key, Florida26 January, 2012
I give this a high rating simply because of George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, who rise above muddled material and breathe life into an otherwise clunky TV movie. The plot is basically oil/greed ripping off the nation, and if I didn't know better I'd say Brando was channelling Dick Cheney, but the music and the script and the camera work zooms, anyone? are so cheesy that it's hard to stay with this movie.However. The performances are fresh and fun and strangely lively, all the actors are magnificent, and true or not- it's a nice little commentary on modern greed in America <more>
and the world .A fun watch if you've nothing better to do than watch great actors go head to head.
I saw this movie when it came out in 1980 and enjoyed it immensely with all of the twists and turns keeping me thinking the whole time. Yes, Marlon and George were perfect for their respective roles. Brando playing the aging corporate bad guy who knows the score, and Scott an over the hill cop who gets his teeth into something he just can't seem to let go of. Both, to me, fit their respective characters well. The nature of the plot, although kept vague was necessary for the internal intrigue to build. Still, many did not like this forced need to contemplate the many aspects of this film <more>
as it was being seen. Yet, I wonder if those who did not enjoy this movie as I did might not find it more interesting if viewed today with gas heading toward $4 and then maybe $5 a gallon? Does everyone need to have everything shown to them in a movie or am I just one of the few who's head doesn't hurt when I use it for what it was designed to do? Enjoy this movie for what it is, a commentary on human greed and power.
With two screen giants such as George C. Scott and Marlon Brando even in a cameo , this film is worth seeing. One line from the film that has stuck with me is from Scott to Brando, "You're not in the oil business, you're in the oil shortage business." How true.