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Short Circuit (1986)



Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 15

Amiable and good-natured but also shallow and predictable, Short Circuit is hardly as deep or emotionally resonant as E.T. -- though Johnny Five makes for a charming robot protagonist.


Average Rating: 3.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

Amiable and good-natured but also shallow and predictable, Short Circuit is hardly as deep or emotionally resonant as E.T. -- though Johnny Five makes for a charming robot protagonist.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 168,421

My Rating

Movie Info

Struck by lightning, an endearing little robot known only as "Number 5" escapes from an experimental electronics firm. Technician Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg) and his indecipherable East Indian assistant, Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens), set out to locate Number 5 before the military can go through with its plans to destroy the robot. Number 5 takes refuge with loopy Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy), who is convinced that the mechanical man is an extraterrestrial. Hoping to teach the "alien" all

Sep 19, 2000

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Watch It Now


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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (15) | DVD (9)

The film has nowhere to go except to give us a predictable initial confrontation between Guttenberg and Sheedy over military weapons.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the stranger ironies to be found in Hollywood these days is that some of its most resourceful directors use high-tech wizardry and state-of- the-art movie technology to make films that rail against the tyranny of science.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scripters get credit for some terrific dialog that would have been a lot less disarming if not for the winsome robot and Sheedy's affection for it. Guttenberg plays his best goofy self.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A message film to please all ages.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie, which has the clean, well-scrubbed look of an old Disney comedy, is nicely acted by Miss Sheedy, who demonstrates a light-comedy touch not unlike Amy Irving's [and] Mr. Guttenberg.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's basically a kid's movie, and quite possibly the kids will like it. But they'll have to be fairly young kids.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Number Five is the real star of this energetic film. Sheedy, Guttenberg and company are just supporting players.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A film that demands emotional connections with a robot whose voice is one of the most annoying ever produced. Give us Hal, R2-D2 or a barber shop quartet of Daleks any day.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Youngsters will love this hip spoof on hardware movies.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

John Badham's Pinocchio story is sweet, silly and now charmingly old-fashioned.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

No movie with Austin Pendleton can be all bad, but this one makes a game try.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

A movie for kids of all ages, with enough pace and effects to amuse the youngsters and humour plus message to engage adults.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4

Short Circuit may prove a summer hit for all the wrong reasons: It aspires to be no more than a recycled remembrance of films past.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The human actors are secondary, for the real star of the show is Number 5. He's really pretty charming, though his unusual antics aren't enough to carry a feature-length motion picture.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An affable yet forgettable effort...

May 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The lack of a single malicious bone in this film ensures that its genuinely heartfelt approach never collapses to mere schtick.

June 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

Looking back at it today it's clear that Short Circuit is absolutely awful, and not just because of Ally Sheedy's haircut.

July 4, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

#5 is alive...and horny

October 28, 2005 | Comment (1)
Film Threat

Stars funny, sympathetic robot.

November 1, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Amiable enough, but...

May 20, 2003 | Comment (1)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Goofy 80's fun. Wanna-be E.T. actually delivers the goods.

April 1, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Audience Reviews for Short Circuit

Amusing, creative and memorable Sci Fi comedy, Short Circuit is a well crafted picture with some good effects, fun performance by its well chosen cast, and it is a terrific genre film that is worth seeing if you enjoy these types of movies. The film is entertaining for what it is, and it's one of those 80's films that really stand out due to a good story, wonderful performances and great effects. I very much enjoyed the film, and I felt that it was among the best genre films of that decade. Ally Sheedy is quite good here, and she really brings out the best out of the film. Short Circuit is well worth seeing if you enjoy the genre, and it's an entertaining film from start to finish that boasts a good story and fun performances. Short Circuit is a good film for what it is, and it's one of the more memorable comedies of the 80's. Although the film is not perfect, for the most part, I thought that the film's weaknesses were not prominent due to the good ideas displayed on-screen. If you enjoy a good 80's comedy with Sci Fi elements, give Short Circuit a shot, it is an entertaining picture from start to finish. With great effects, memorable performances and a good story, Short Circuit is an engaging picture that is worth seeing if you enjoy 80's cinema. The cast here are well chosen in the parts they play and with effective direction, the film becomes a worthwhile viewing experience that is lots of fun from start to finish. Due to its ideas and concept. Watching the film, you can forget about the weak aspects of the film, and it's a movie that still looks quite good by today's standards.
July 2, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

a great character Johnny 5 and great comedy, and a great plot, with lovable characters, and great acting
February 5, 2011
michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

A fun family film about a robot, somewhat like the new Wall-E movie, but with real people. I really liked this movie, it's a fun adventure.
January 27, 2011

Super Reviewer

a classic, all should see this one
January 15, 2011
danny d

Super Reviewer

    1. Newton Crosby: I cut off it's power. You can load it on the truck now.
    2. Skroeder: What the hell's the matter with you? You four-eyed idiot!
    3. Newton Crosby: What an asshole.
    4. Skroeder: I heard that!
    – Submitted by Matthew D (14 months ago)
    1. No. 5: Number 5 is alive.
    – Submitted by Dann M (15 months ago)
    1. Stephanie Speck: Life is not a malfunction.
    – Submitted by Dann M (15 months ago)
    1. Newton Crosby: Where are you from, anyway?
    2. Ben Jabituya: Bakersfield, originally.
    3. Newton Crosby: No, I mean your ancestors.
    4. Ben Jabituya: Oh, them. Pittsburgh.
    – Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
    1. Ben Jabituya: I am standing here beside myself.
    – Submitted by sean b (2 years ago)
    1. No. 5: Stephanie, change color. Attractive. Nice software. Hmmmm.
    2. Stephanie Speck: Boy, you sure don't talk like a robot.
    – Submitted by Aaron G (2 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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