2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by Clarke’s short story The Sentinel. Clarke concurrently wrote the novel of the same name which was published soon after the film was released. The story deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution, and a space voyage to Jupiter tracing a signal emitted by one such monolith found on the moon. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star as the two astronauts on this voyage, with Douglas Rain as the voice of the sentient computer HAL 9000 who has full control over their spaceship. The film is frequently described as an “epic film”, both for its length and scope, and for its affinity with classical epics.
Produced and distributed by the American studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film was made almost entirely in England, using both the studio facilities of MGM’s subsidiary “MGM British” (among the last movies to be shot there before its closure in 1970) and those of Shepperton Studios, mostly because of the availability of much larger sound stages than in the United States. The film was also co-produced by Kubrick’s own “Stanley Kubrick Productions”. Kubrick, having already shot his previous two films in England, decided to settle there permanently during the filming of Space Odyssey. Though Space Odyssey was released in the United States over a month before its release in the United Kingdom, and Encyclopædia Britannica calls this an American film, other sources refer to it as an American, British, or American-British production.
Thematically, the film deals with elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is notable for its scientific accuracy, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery that is open-ended, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue.