2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was inspired by Clarke’s 1951 short story “The Sentinel” and other short stories by Clarke. A novel released after the film’s premiere was in part written concurrently with the screenplay.
The film follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of an alien monolith. It deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
The film received diverse critical responses, ranging from those who saw it as darkly apocalyptic to those who saw it as an optimistic reappraisal of the hopes of humanity. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, with Kubrick winning for his direction of the visual effects. The film is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.
In the prehistoric African veldt, a tribe of hominids is driven away from its water hole by a rival tribe. Later, they awaken to find an alien monolith has appeared in their midst. Influenced by the monolith, they discover how to use a bone as a weapon and, after their first hunt, return to drive their rivals away with the newly discovered tool.
Millions of years later, Dr. Heywood Floyd, Chairman of the United States National Council of Astronautics, travels to Clavius Base, a US lunar outpost. During a stopover at Space Station 5, he meets Russian scientists who are concerned that Clavius seems to be unresponsive. Floyd refuses to discuss rumours of an epidemic at the base. Continuing his journey to Clavius, Floyd addresses a meeting of personnel to whom he stresses the need for secrecy with respect to their newest discovery.
Floyd’s mission is to investigate a recently found artefact buried four million years ago near the lunar crater Tycho. Floyd and others ride in a Moonbus to the artefact, a monolith identical to the one encountered by the ape-men. As they examine the monolith, it is struck by sunlight, upon which it emits a high-powered radio signal.