Westworld is a 1973 science fiction western-thriller film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton and produced by Paul Lazarus III. The movie is about amusement park robots that become evil after a power surge, and they start to take over. It served as the beginning of a franchise followed by a sequel film called Futureworld and a short-lived television series called Beyond Westworld. The film was very successful.
In August 2013, HBO announced plans for a TV adaptation based on the original film.
In the near future, there is a high-tech, highly realistic adult amusement park called Delos that features three themed "worlds" — Westworld (the American 'Wild West' from the 1880s), Medieval World (medieval Europe), and Roman World (pre-Christian Rome). The resort's three "worlds" are populated with lifelike androids that are practically indistinguishable from human beings, each programmed in character for their assigned historical environment. People pay to indulge in adventures in each of the worlds where they interact with the android population. Guests are encouraged to do anything they feel like, including killing any of the androids or having sexual intercourse with the gynoids (feminine robots). The film begins with a TV commercial where a Delos employee is interviewing people at the airport who just returned from Delos and are pleased with their stay, and the employee announcing "Boy, have we got a vacation for you!"
Peter Martin is a first time visitor. He and a friend, John Blane, a return visitor, are taken by hovercraft to Delos' resort in the middle of the desert. The hovercraft disembarks at an underground processing facility. Guests are segregated by color-coding, through yellow (for Roman World), red (for Medieval World) or blue (for Westworld). The guests are attired in clothing appropriate for their chosen period and sent down a tunnel which surfaces in the respective "world". Much of the film is shown with Peter and John in Westworld, although it intersperses with some of the other parts of Delos.
In Westworld, Peter sees that Delos is strict about historical accuracy, right down to the artifacts having been made in the actual years. John says they can use their guns to kill androids, but Peter expresses concern about who is who, considering the androids look identical to guests (with exception of small indentations on the hands). John challenges Peter to shoot him, but when Peter does so, his pistol fails to discharge. John explains that the pistols have heat-sensitive trackers. Androids have a low body temperature, but the pistols do not fire if they detect a certain heat range, in which case they will not activate near the high body temperatures humans are known for. Peter remarks that Delos thought of everything.
The technicians running Delos notice problems are beginning to spread among the androids, but things go wrong in attempts to shut down power and the androids. Running on reserve power, the robots run amok and Delos becomes a death trap for its guests.
- Yul Brynner as The Gunslinger
- Richard Benjamin as Peter Martin
- James Brolin as John Blane
- Norman Bartold as the Medieval Knight
- Alan Oppenheimer as the Chief Supervisor
- Victoria Shaw as the Medieval Queen
- Dick Van Patten as the Banker
- Linda Scott as Arlette, the French prostitute
- Steve Franken as the Delos Technician shot dead by the Gunslinger
- Michael Mikler as the Black Knight
- Terry Wilson as the Sheriff
- Majel Barrett as Miss Carrie, madame of the Westworld bordello
- Anne Randall as Daphne, the serving-maid who refuses the Medieval Knight's advances
- Nora Marlowe as the Hostess
- Robert J. Hogan as the Delos Guests' Interviewer (uncredited)
- Westworld is the first feature film to use digital image processing to pixellate photography to simulate an android point of view.
- Majel Barrett, who plays the madam, is best known as the voice of the computer in Star Trek (Original Series) and for a recurring role in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Deanna Troi's mother).
- Westworld accurately describes a computer virus before a computer virus had even existed in the real world.
- Westworld is the first time the concept of "intelligent machines (computers) creating other intelligent machines (robots) without human involvement had been described.