Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Badham|
|Produced by||David Foster
|Written by||S. S. Wilson
G. W. Bailey
|Music by||David Shire|
|Editing by||Frank Morriss|
|Studio||Producers Sales Organization
The Turman-Foster Company
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Running time||98 minutes|
|Box office||$40,697,761 (domestic)|
Short Circuit is a 1986 American comedy science fiction film starring Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg and directed by John Badham. Fisher Stevens, Austin Pendleton, and G. W. Bailey co-star, with Tim Blaney providing the voice of robot "Number 5".
A sequel, Short Circuit 2, was released in 1988.
Protagonist Number 5 (voiced by Tim Blaney) is one of five anthropomorphic prototype robots proposed for Cold War use by the U.S. military, whereof the inventors Newton Graham Crosby, Ph.D. (Steve Guttenberg) and Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens), are more interested in peaceful uses including music and social aid. After a demonstration on the grounds of the developer's company, Nova Laboratories in Damon, Washington, a power surge causes malfunction in Number 5, who later wanders away, barely able to communicate and uncertain of its directive; later to encounter animal-lover Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy) in Astoria, Oregon, a young woman maltreated by her ex-boyfriend Frank. Stephanie, initially mistaking the robot for an extraterrestrial visitor, satisfies (through books and television) his demand for 'input', and thus supplies the source-material of a lively, whimsical personality. Upon encountering mortality, Number 5 rejects military programming and becomes terrified of the disassembly that awaits him at Nova, which he sees as akin to death. From this follow several adventurous escapes from the soldiers led by Nova's security chief Captain Skroeder (G. W. Bailey). Having humiliated Frank and the four remaining prototypes, Stephanie and the robot convince Newton of the robot's sapience; but are cornered by Nova's security and the Army, who destroy a duplicate robot (built by Number 5 himself) in mistake for their quarry. With the project that spawned the robots ruined, Nova's President Dr. Howard Marner fires Skroeder for disobeying orders to capture Number 5 intact. In tears, Stephanie leaves with Newton, who decides to emigrate to his family's estate in Montana. Having revealed himself to them, Number 5 (renaming himself "Johnny Five" after the song "Who's Johnny") accompanies Stephanie and Newton.
- Ally Sheedy as Stephanie Speck, who befriends Johnny Five
- Steve Guttenberg as Newton Crosby, Ph.D., the designer of the prototypes
- Fisher Stevens as Ben Jabituya, Newton's assistant
- Austin Pendleton as Dr. Howard Marner, President of Nova Robotics
- G. W. Bailey as Captain Skroeder
- Brian McNamara as Frank, Stephanie's abusive ex-boyfriend
- Tim Blaney as Number 5 (voice)
- Marvin J. McIntyre as Duke, one of Nova's security officers
- John Garber as Otis
- Penny Santon as Mrs. Cepeda, Stephanie's housekeeper
- Vernon Weddle as General Washburne
- Barbara Tarbuck as Senator Mills
- Tom Lawrence as Howard Marner's Aide
- Fred Slyter as Norman, one of the technicians charging Number Five during his alteration
- Billy Ray Sharkey as Zack, one of the technicians charging Number Five during his alteration
- John Badham as Cameraman (uncredited)
- Robert Krantz as Reporter
- Jan Speck as Reporter
- Marquerite Happy as Barmaid
- Howard Krick as Farmer
- Marjorie Card Hughes as Farmer's Wife
- Herb Smith as Gate Guard
- Jack Thompson as Party Guest
- William Striglos as Party Guest
- Mary Reckley as Party Guest
- Lisa McLean as Party Guest
- Eleanor C. Heutschy as Party Guest
This film was conceived after the producers distributed an educational video about a robot to various colleges. Studying other films with a prominent robot cast in them (like the Star Wars series) for inspiration, they decided to question human reactions to a 'living' robot, on premise that none would initially believe its sentience.
According to the commentary in the DVD, Number 5 was the most expensive part of the movie, requiring several different versions to be made for different sequences. Almost everything else in the movie was relatively inexpensive, allowing them to allocate as much money as they needed for the robot character. Number 5 was designed by Syd Mead, the "visual futurist" famous for his work on Blade Runner and Tron.
Mead's design was greatly influenced by the sketches of Eric Allard, the Robotics Supervisor credited for "realizing" the robots. John Badham named Eric "the most valuable player" on the film.
Most of the arm movements of Number 5 were controlled by a "telemetry suit", carried on the puppeteer's upper torso. Each joint in the suit had a separate sensor, allowing the puppeteer's arm and hand movements to be transferred directly to the machine. He was also voiced in real-time by his puppeteer, the director believing that it provided for a more realistic interaction between the robot and the other actors than putting in his voice in post-production, although a few of his lines were re-dubbed later.
During Stephanie's impromptu news interview, director John Badham makes a cameo appearance as the news cameraman.
In 2008 Varèse Sarabande issued David Shire's score as part of their CD Club series of limited edition releases. The DeBarge song was not included or mentioned in the liner notes. The last three tracks are source music.
The booklet claims the end title song isn't used in the movie. It is, however, on the soundtrack. The finale mix and end title are combined into one track, whereas they are used separately in the film.
- Main Title (2:13)
- The Quickening/Off The Bridge (2:44)
- Discovering Number 5/Sunrise (4:32)
- Grasshopper/Joy(less) Ride (4:43)
- The Attack/Coming To (3:47)
- Road Block/Bathtub/Robot Battle (2:42)
- Getaway/Hello, Bozos (2:41)
- Night Scene/Joke Triumph (4:17)
- Danger, Nova/Escape Attempt/Aftermath (3:48)
- Finale/End Title: "Come And Follow Me" - Max Carl and Marcy Levy (5:04)
- Rock (3:45)
- Bar (1:51)
- The Three Stooges (1:10)
Video game 
A video game developed by Ocean Software for ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC was also made based on the movie. It featured two parts, one arcade adventure where Johnny 5 had to escape from the lab, and one action part where Johnny 5 escapes across the countryside, avoiding soldiers, other robots, and animals.
Awards and nominations 
- Honored with the Winsor McCay Award [for career achievement]
|Best Director||John Badham||Nominated|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||Eric Allard, Syd Mead||Nominated|
|BMI Film Music Award||David Shire||Won|
End credits 
The ending credit sequence features parts of scenes cut from the final product, a gimmick that predated the advent of director's cuts and optional deleted scenes in later DVDs. The scenes shown in the credits include an extended SAINT demonstration sequence, which would have included the robots flying remote-controlled airplanes, an encounter with a white, commercially-made Omnibot 2000, and a close encounter with "death" at a scrapyard. The latter two were from a cut sequence set between Number 5's theft of the Nova van in which he was being carted back by Ben, and his second arrival at Stephanie's house. In that sequence, the Nova van would have run out of fuel near the scrap yard, forcing Number 5 to abandon it and look for another suitable mode of transportation. The Omnibot in the former of the two scenes would have belonged to the scrap yard owner's children, who were to frighten Number 5 away with their comparisons between him and the Omnibot.
Sequel and remake 
The sequel, Short Circuit 2, premiered in 1988. There was a script for a possible third movie written in 1989 and rewritten in 1990, but it was found unsatisfactory by the producers, and the project was subsequently scrapped.
In April 2008, Variety reported that Dimension Films had acquired the rights to remake the original film. Dan Milano had been hired to write the script, and David Foster to produce it. Foster said that the robot's appearance would not change.
Other appearances 
Johnny 5 makes an appearance in a commercial for Home
Johnny 5 also hosted a half-hour video called Hot Cars, Cold Facts.
In the 1990 Muppet Babies episode "At the Movies", Baby Scooter has a conversation with Johnny 5, featuring footage from Short Circuit 2.
- Box Office Information for Short Circuit. The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 150.
- Short Circuit - World of Spectrum
- "Lemon - Commodore 64, C64 Games, Reviews & Music!". Lemon64.com. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- "Short Circuit by Ocean Software for the Amstrad CPC". Cpczone.net. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- "Short Circuit` Humming With Freewheeling Fun". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- "Short Circuit A Box-office Live Wire". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- 'Short Circuit's' Johnny 5 still alive. Dimension acquires rights to remake 1986 film, Variety, 3 April 2008
- Steve Carr directing Short Circuit reboot | TotalFilm.com
- By (2009-06-03). "'Short Circuit' gets 'Robot' touch - Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- Fleming, Mike (August 4, 2011). "Director Tim Hill Hops To Dimension’s ‘Short Circuit’ Reboot". Deadline. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
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