Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Movie That Inspired 2001

Before beginning work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick allegedly watched virtually every space movie ever made. One of these was a half-hour documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 1960. Universe, directed by Roman Kroitor and Colin Low, was a highly-respected film, having received an Academy Award nomination in 1961 for Best Documentary Short Subject. Perhaps of all the films Kubrick screened, no other had so much influence on his science fiction epic.


Exquisite photography, evocative writing, haunting music and first-rate special effects are all worthy of Kubrick at his best. And there has always been speculation that Universe may have been the inspiration that sparked Kubrick to want to do a space movie.

Many of the influences and resemblances have been pointed out before—-just check out the sequence starting at 5:50—-for instance. Additionally, Kubrick hired Universe co-director Low to work on 2001 (though he had to decline) as well as Wally Gentleman, who had created the amazing special effects of Universe. Gentleman went on to design some of 2001's most iconic scenes. But one small detail has usually been overlooked, a small detail that inextricably ties the two films together. The narrator of Universe is Douglas Rain...who also provided the voice for HAL 9000.


See the full film here.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Kubrick was inspired by so many things when making 2001. My favorite has got to be Japanese scifi B-movies.

My favourite homage to 2001 is from Prometheus, if only because it's such a perversion.