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14 Interesting Facts You Don’t Know About 2001: A Space Odyssey

27 February 2012 | Other Lists | by David Zou


Hailed as one of the greatest film ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is considered to be his “most realistic” film by many fans and critics. This is due to the enormous research Kubrick and his team did during the pre-production period and his obsession with the slightest details. Let’s go behind the scenes to explore those little known facts about the making of the masterpiece.

1. According to Douglas Trumbull, the total footage shot was some 200 times the final length of the film.

2. In fact,An early draft of the script did have narration.

3. It is reported that Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke watched an enormous number of science fiction films in preparation for creating this movie and Kubrick himself acknowledged the influence of producer George Pal’s films. Pal’s Conquest of Spaceprovided several plot points throughout the movie.

4. According to Katharina Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick provided the breathing heard in the spacesuits.


5. Though almost invisible when watching the film on a TV screen, the four satellites in the first space sequence bear United States, German, French, and Chinese markings.

6. There is no dialogue in the first 25 minutes of the movie (ending when a stewardess speaks at 25:38), nor in the last 23 minutes (excluding end credits). With these two lengthy sections and other shorter ones, there are around 88 dialogue-free minutes in the movie.

7. In honor of the book and movie, NASA named a Mars orbiter: 2001 Mars Odyssey. This was not the first time NASA had a connotation with the film; the Apollo 13 command module’s callsign was Odyssey during the ill-fated mission.

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  • Steven Flores

    I have a book about the making of the film that someone lent to me a few years ago. I haven’t fully divulged into it but I do love this film.

    • David Zou

      I believe there are hundreds of books talking about it if not thousands,there are also tons of documents online trying to analyze all SK films,it really depends on how deep you are willing to dig.

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  • http://Website Omer

    Interesting… I thought 2001 was a visually stunning film, ahead of it’s time.

    • David Zou

      Thanks Omer for the comments,the film is way ahead of its time,that’s why I like to call Kubrick a prophet.

  • http://Website Trent

    Kubrick strived to be ambiguous when using allegories in all his films. With 2001 he combined two allegories; homers oddessey and fredrich nietchkes “thus spake Zarathustra”. Any first hand knowledge of the two pieces makes Leonard f. Wheats book an interesting read. I’ve read dozens of books on Kubrick and various author analysis’ but none, by far, have awakend the depth at which Kubrick delved into his projects. Expressing an auteurs vision with this type visual presentation is impossible enough, but when you dissect the three allegories ( the third adopted straight from Arthur C Clark’s: man / machine symbiosis) it’s un fathomable that he pulled it off-and it’s finalality may possibly be regarded as the greatest visual feat of the twentieth century. The hyper dialogue that spawned movies from 1927, (the birth of talkies) through the 40′s& 50′s (all of Warner bros. mobster flicks right through to the sweeping epics) for Kubrick to release a virtual silent picture and get away with it, while still formulating and delivering a triple allegorical lesson… Well what can I say. It’s very rewarding to see on our Internet the daily deluge of interest in a mans
    work that is a fraction of what’s available today is astounding. I urge those who have yet to encounter BARRY LYNDON to do so on the ASAP .

    • David Zou

      Gee you made you aware that it takes a lifetime to do in-depth research on this film alone,when I get old and have more time reading,I would probably buy a bunch of 2001 books and read them days and nights!

      The visuals of this film is really second-to-none,even the film Rear Window,which I consider as best example of pure cinema in sound era,has much more dialogues than this one.

  • http://Website Trent

    Oh and BTW DAVID, Kubricks help on one eyed jacks was pretty close to him”doing a western”. Once he was enlightend by the fact that Brando was sapping free help from Stanley he vacated the project. It is still one of my all time favorite westerns, of not THE favorite one.

    • David Zou

      Really? I never knew that! I have seen a picture with Kubrick and Brando in it,maybe they were talking about making the film!

  • http://Website Trent

    If you’ve never seen one eyed jacks I’d recommend it

  • http://Website Trent

    Wow Dave, you really got me pegged! An old Geizer who reads 2001 books day & night. You know what? I’ve read your responses to about two dozen comments, and it seems like all your lame responses are sarcastic, plastic, idiotic blabber. You pretend to be some film blogger. But with your body of work , your just a cut & paste, IMDB air bag who invites people to respond to your generic salt & pepper barf, all the while- sardonically slapping every schmo (including myself) with your witless sludge.
    Who really gives a pile of turds what the best Chinese Cubans has to offer with their pathetic “cinema”? Why don’t you give the dvd’s a break for a day or two and evaluate your weak pathetic self? I’m sorry I waisted the time it took to share my 4-5 comments in the last nine months. Oh & by the way, you a f’n hack! So sniff the pavement chump! Stick to checkers! You can’t handle chess.

    • David Zou

      Trent,I wrote this blog and replied each comment with all my heart and soul.Who says a blogger can’t paste other stuff to his blog as long as the stuff is valuable to readers? If you don’t like it here,that’s fine,but still thanks for your 4-5 comments,maybe you are right,I don’t have enough wit and knowledge to talk about Kubrick with you.

  • http://Website phillip ashe

    hey there;
    for all you kubrick nuts, fear and desire will be released on blu ray from kino 10-23-12

    • David Zou

      Thanks for the info,Phillip,they announced the news too early! I remember fear and desire is a film Kubrick didn’t want anyone to have a look at,I’m curious enough to see it!.

  • joejoe4868

    I seriously hope you’re not a native English speaker…

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  • tmajor

    In exchange for Kubrick designing the moon set, filming, and still photos of the fake first moon landing, the U.S. govt funded the expensive 2001 Space Odyssey film