2001: a space odyessey

Science Fiction/UK/1968/139 min/Color
Directed and Produced by Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

Keir Dullea as David Bowman
Gary Lockwood as Franke Poole
William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood Floyd
Edward Bishop as the Aries-IB Pilot

Plot Summary

(please note that director Stanley Kubrick decided to make this movie primarily a visual/subjective experience, and many of the plot details found in the script/novelization are not obvious from viewing the movie)

Four million years ago, an extraterrestrial intelligence decides to tinker with the evolution of man, leaving behind 3 tall, black, rectangular devices ("monoliths"), one near a settlement of primitive man-apes in Africa, one on the moon, and one in orbit around Jupiter. The first monolith mysteriously teaches the primitive man-apes to kill animals for food, saving mankind from extinction. By the year 2001, man has reached the point where there is now space travel, space stations, and settlements on the moon. The 2nd monolith is discovered buried beneath the lunar surface. A spaceship is sent to Jupiter to investigate the destination of a signal sent by the monolith. Most of its crew are in a state of hibernation, except for astronauts David Bowman and Franke Poole. During the lengthy voyage, the onboard HAL 9000 computer apparently malfunctions, and in order to protect itself from being shut down, it successfully kills everyone except David Bowman, who deactivates the computer. Bowman goes out in a one-man craft to investigate the 3rd monolith in orbit around Jupiter. This monolith acts as a stargate which hurls Bowman across the universe to the Alien homeworld. Bowman spends the rest of his life in some earth-like rooms, where he is basically a zoo exhibit for the Aliens. As he nears death, the aliens transform him into a new type of being and return him to Earth. Like the man-ape of 4 millions years ago, a brand-new world of possibilities await...


2001 falls into the catagory of "either you love it or you hate it". Many people consider it one of the best films of all time. Many others find it incredibly boring and utterly incomprehensible. And many people aren't sure what it's supposed to mean!

Ed Bishop appears very briefly as the pilot of the Aries-IB, a spaceship which transports Dr. Heywood Floyd from the space station to the lunar base "Clavius". Ed has no lines of dialog, and is only visible onscreen for about 40 seconds -- and most of this time he is seen from behind! He has 3 scenes -- first he is in the cockpit with the co-pilot and stewardess, then he pays a visit to Dr. Floyd, and then he is in the cockpit bringing the ship in for a landing. Although you can see that the characters are speaking to each other, you can't hear them because the soundtrack only contains music.

In interviews, Ed Bishop has expressed his disappointment with his appearance in "2001", because he worked on the movie for a week, and practically all of his performance ended up on the cutting room floor! As originally shot, Ed's first two scenes were much longer and featured dialog -- the pilot, co-pilot, and stewardess discuss the rumors of an epidemic breaking out at Clavius, and how it was very unusual (and expensive!) to use a 60-passenger ship for a single person. When visiting Dr. Floyd, the pilot tries to find out any information about what's going on at Clavius, but Dr. Floyd says he can not talk about it.

Besides Ed's brief appearance in the movie, UFO fans might also be interested to know that 2001 was filmed at the same studio as the first 17 episodes of UFO -- MGM Borehamwood near London!


The Aries-IB heads for the Moon.

A stewardess brings the pilot and co-pilot their food.

The pilot pays a visit to Dr. Heywood Floyd.

Approaching the Clavius lunar base.


and landing!


This page by Marc Martin, USA (, member of the FAB-UFO mailing list