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Michael Crichton - on the Screen
A Chronology of movies adapted from the books of best-selling author Michael Crichton.
Quick Facts – Michael Crichton was one of the most popular authors in the world selling over 200 million books. He specialised in medical thrillers and science fiction.
Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1942. He was very tall, 6ft 9in. He graduated from Harvard with an M.D. His first published novel was Odds On in 1966 written under the pseudonym John Lange.
His first best-selling novel was The Andromeda Strain (1969) which was made into a successful movie. Interested in moviemaking Crichton directed his first movie Pursuit for TV in 1972 and his first theatrical film, Westworld, in 1973.
In 1993 his novel Jurassic Park was filmed by Steven Spielberg and became the highest grossing film of all time. Crichton created the hit medical drama series ER in 1994, which ended its run after 15 seasons and 331 episodes in 2006. Crichton died of throat cancer in November 2008, he was 66.
1966 - Odds On
1967 - Scratch One
1968 - Easy Go
1968 - A Case of Need
1969 - Zero Cool
1969 - The Andromeda Strain
1969 - The Venom Business
1970 - Drug of Choice
1970 - Dealing
1970 - Grave Descend
1972 - Binary
1972 - The Terminal Man
1975 - The Great Train Robbery
1976 - Eaters of the Dead
1980 - Congo
1987 - Sphere
1990 - Jurassic Park
1992 - Rising Sun
1994 - Disclosure
1995 - The Lost World
1996 - Airframe
1999 - Timeline
2002 - Prey
2004 - State of Fear
2006 - Next
2009 - Pirate Latitudes
2011 - Micro
The Andromeda Strain (1971) directed by Robert Wise and starring Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson and Kate Reid. 131mins.
Adapted from Crichton's 1969 novel. An alien virus on board a returning space probe threatens the entire world. A team of scientists in a hi-tech underground facility race against time to find a way to stop the virus from spreading.
Robert Wise had also directed the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
IMDB rating 7.2
Pursuit (1972) directed by Michael Crichton and starring Ben Gazzara, E.G. Marshall, William Windom, Joseph Wiseman and Martin Sheen. 73mins.
Crichton's directorial debut, adapted from his novel Binary (1972) written under the pseudonym John Lange.
A political extremist threatens San Diego with deadly nerve gas.
IMDB rating 5.8
The Carey Treatment (1972) directed by Blake Edwards and starring James Coburn, Jennifer O'Neill, Pat Hingle and Elizabeth Allen. 101mins.
Based on Crichton's mystery novel A Case of Need (1968) written under the pseudonym Jeffery Hudson.
Dr. Peter Carey (Coburn) tries to solve a grisly mystery at a Boston hospital, which leads to a gory climax.
IMDB rating 6.1
Westworld (1973) written and directed by Michael Crichton, starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin. 88mins.
The first use of computer effects outside of monitor displays. In order to show the robots point of view the image was digitised, it took hours just to produce a few seconds of film.
An elaborate theme park breaks down, the robot inhabitants start killing the guests, Yul Brynner's unstoppable cyborg was the precursor to James Cameron's Terminator. The idea of a theme park gone awry will be used again by Crichton in Jurassic Park.
Westworld was a surprise hit in 1973 leading to a sequel Futureworld (1976).
IMDB rating 7.0
The Terminal Man (1974) directed by Mike Hodges, starring George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat and Jill Clayburgh. 107mins.
Based on Crichton's novel The Terminal Man (1972).
A brilliant scientist with a microship inserted into his brain starts to have delusions and violent seizures.
IMDB rating 5.7
Coma (1978) written and directed by Michael Crichton, starring Michael Douglas, Genevieve Bujold, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Lois Chiles, Richard Widmark, Tom Selleck and Ed Harris. 113mins.
Adapted from Robin Cook's novel of the same name.
After her friend goes into a coma during minor surgery a young woman doctor (Bujold) discovers other similar cases of healthy people ending up the same way at the same operating theater. Suspecting something sinister is going on she wonders if she can even trust her physician boyfriend (Douglas).
IMDB rating 6.8
The Great Train Robbery (1979) directed by Michael Crichton, starring Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Lesley-Anne Down, Alan Webb, Michael Elphick, Wayne Sleep and Pamela Salem. 110mins.
Retitled The First Great Train Robbery in the UK so as not to confuse it with the notorious robbery of a mail train in the 1960s which was dubbed The Great Train Robbery.
Based on Crichton's novel of the same name published in 1975.
1854. Connery and Sutherland plan to rob a train carrying a shipment of gold.
IMDB rating 6.9
Looker (1981) written and directed by Michael Crichton, starring Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey, Leigh Taylor-Young and Darryl Hickman. 92mins.
Dr. Roberts (Finney) is a brilliant plastic surgeon who uncovers a sinister mind-control conspiracy. When three of his patients are murdered in suspicious circumstances, he takes it upon himself to solve the mystery.
Notable as the first film to attempt a realistic computer generated character, a year before Tron was released.
IMDB rating 5.9.
Runaway (1984) written and directed by Michael Crichton, starring Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley, Stan Shaw and G.W. Bailey. 99mins.
The future and Sgt Ramsay (Selleck) specialises in capturing and deactivating malfunctioning robots, known as 'runaways'. He becomes the target of Luther (Simmons) a madman who is programming robots to kill people.
Gene Simmons is co-vocalist and bass guitarist from the rock group Kiss.
That cool-looking futuristic gun held by Selleck in the poster is actually only used by the villain (Simmons) in the film.
IMDB rating 5.8
Physical Evidence (1989) directed by Michael Crichton, starring Burt Reynolds, Theresa Russell, Ned Beatty, Kay Lenz and Ted McGinley. 99mins.
Originally planned as a sequel to Jagged Edge with Glenn Close reprising her character from that film.
A former detective (Reynolds) is accused of murder, he insists on his innocence, but all evidence leads to him being the killer.
Crichton's last film as director.
IMDB rating 4.9
Jurassic Park (1993) directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Samuel L. Jackson and Wayne Knight. 127mins.
Adapted from Crichton's best-selling sci-fi novel, Jurassic Park (1990).
Jurassic Park was notable for being the first movie to depict photo-realistic computer-generated dinosaurs. The film cost $63m and went on to gross a record-breaking $914m worldwide.
Nominated and winning three Oscars - Best Sound, Best Sound Effects and Best Visual Effects. It also won Saturn Awards for Best Director and Best SF Film at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.
IMDB rating 7.9
Rising Sun (1993) directed by Philip Kaufman, starring Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Harvey Keitel, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Kevin Anderson, Ray Wise, Stan Shaw, Tia Carrere, Steve Buscemi and Mako. 125mins
Connery and Snipes are out to solve a murder which took place at a Japanese corporation in Los Angeles.
Adapted from Crichton's 1992 novel of the same name. In the novel Snipes character was caucasian and the killer was not the person shown in the film.
IMDB rating 6.1
Disclosure (1994) directed by Barry Levinson, starring Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland, Caroline Goodall, Dylan Baker, Rosemary Forsyth and Dennis Miller. 128mins.
Adapted from Crichton's novel, Disclosure (1994), he sold the movie rights before the novel was published.
Tom Sanders (Douglas) is sued for sexual harassment by his boss and former lover (Moore) after he spurns her advances. The action threatens both his career and his personal life.
Michelle Pfeiffer and Geena Davis were considered for the female lead.
IMDB rating 5.9
Congo (1995) directed by Frank Marshall, starring Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, Ernie Hudson, Tim Curry, Grant Heslov and Joe Don Baker. 109mins.
Adapted from Crichton's novel, Congo (1980).
An expedition to Africa searching for valuable diamonds, discovers the legendary lost city of Zinj, but the place is inhabited by vicious albino apes.
The apes were originally meant to be computer-generated but the fur did not look real.
IMDB rating 4.7
Twister (1996) directed by Jan de Bont, starring Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz, Alan Ruck and Philip Seymour Hoffman. 113mins.
The film was written by Michael Crichton and (his wife at the time) Anne-Marie Martin.
A team of storm chasers attempt to release hundreds of special sensors inside the funnel of a tornado.
Oscar nominated for Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.
Twister cost $92m and grossed $494m, the 2nd biggest film of the year, Independence Day was no.1.
IMDB rating 6.1
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard, Peter Stormare and Richard Attenborough. 129mins
Based on Crichton's novel The Lost World (1995).
A sequel to the megahit Jurassic Park (1993). Nominated for a Visual Effects Oscar but it was up against Titanic (1997).
The Lost World cost $73m and grossed $618m worldwide.
IMDB rating 6.2
Sphere (1998) directed by Barry Levinson, starring Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber and Queen Latifah. 134mins
Adapted from Crichtons 1987 novel of the same name.
A spaceship of alien origin is found at the bottom of the Pacific ocean, it had been laying there for 300 years. A team of scientists go to investigate.
Sphere grossed $37m at the US box office, it cost $80m.
IMDB rating 5.7
The 13th Warrior (1999) directed by John McTiernan, starring Antonio Banderas, Vladimir Kulich, Dennis Storhoi, Daniel Southern, Neil Maffin, Diane Venora and Omar Sharif. 102mins.
Adapted from Crichtons historical novel, Eaters of the Dead (1976).
AD 922, Ahmed (Banderas) accompanies a party of Vikings to the barbaric North where he is enlisted to combat a tribe of vicious neanderthals that slaughter Vikings and eat their flesh.
The film cost nearly $100m and grossed $62m worldwide.
IMDB rating 6.4
Jurassic Park III (2001) directed by Joe Johnston, starring Sam Neill, William Macy, Tea leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl, Bruce A. Young and Laura Dern. 92mins.
A second sequel to Jurassic Park. Based on characters created by Michael Crichton.
The Spinosaurus was the largest animatronic puppet built at the time, it was powered by hydraulics and weighed 12 tons. For long shots of it running or when fighting a T-Rex a CG model was used.
Jurassic Park III cost $93m and grossed $368m worldwide.
IMDB rating 5.8
Timeline (2003) directed by Richard Donner, starring Paul Walker, Frances O' Connor, Gerald Butler, Billy Connolly, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Neil McDonough, Michael Sheen, Lambert Wilson and Marton Csokas. 116mins
Based on Crichton's novel, Timeline (1999). A team of archaeologists travel back in time to the year 1357 using a wormhole for teleportation.
Post-production of the film was disastrous thanks to drastic re-cuts and studio interference after poor preview showings.
Timeline cost $80m grossing $44m worldwide.
IMDB rating 5.4
The Andromeda Strain (2008) directed by Mikael Salomon, starring Benjamin Bratt, Christa Miller, Louis Ferreira, Ricky Schroder, Eric McCormack, Andre Braugher and Viola Davis. 174mins.
A TV miniseries in two parts based on Crichton's novel, The Andromeda Strain (1969).
A team of scientists working in a top secret underground facility, study the effects of a lethal alien virus which was brought to Earth when a satellite crashed near a small town. Everyone in the town has died from the virus except an old man and a baby.
Nominated for six Emmy awards.
IMDB rating 6.1