The Andromeda Strain is a 1971 American science fiction thriller film produced and directed by Robert Wise. Based on Michael Crichton’s 1969 novel of the same name and adapted by Nelson Gidding, the film stars Arthur Hill, James Olson, Kate Reid, and David Wayne as a team of scientists who investigate a deadly organism of extraterrestrial origin.
The story unfolds in flashback, told by Dr. Jeremy Stone as he testifies before a congressional committee.
After a U.S. government satellite crashes near the small rural town of Piedmont, New Mexico, almost all of the town’s residents die. A military recovery team tries to recover the satellite but is unsuccessful. Suspecting that the satellite has brought back an alien organism, the military activates an elite team of scientists.
Wearing protective suits, Dr. Stone, the team leader, and Dr. Mark Hall, a surgeon, are dropped in Piedmont by helicopter. They find that the town’s doctor had opened the satellite in his office and that all of his blood has crystallised into a powder. They soon discover that almost all of the victims’ blood has crystallised, causing rapid death.
Two other townspeople have committed suicide after going insane. Stone and Hall retrieve the satellite and find two survivors, a 69-year-old alcoholic man named Peter Jackson and a six-month-old infant, Manuel Rios.
The Andromeda Strain was a box office success. Produced on a relatively high budget of $6.5 million, the film grossed $12,376,563 in North America, earning $8.2 million in United States theatrical rentals. It was the 16th highest-grossing film of 1971.
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards.
The film was nominated for science fiction’s 1972 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (for works appearing in calendar year 1971)