The Formula (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Formula Videos & Photos

Movie Info

With George C. Scott and Marlon Brando heading the cast, The Formula should have been far better than it is. Adapted by Steve Shagan from his own best-selling novel, the film is predicated on the concept that a formula for synthetic fuel had been developed by the Nazis during WW II. In the intervening 35 years since the war's end, the formula has disappeared and several people connected with it have died under mysterious circumstances. Also during this period, oil magnate Adam Steiffel (Marlon … More

Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Steve Shagan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 7, 2006
Warner Home Video


as Barney Caine

as Adam Steiffel

as Dr. Esau

as Clements

as Kladen

as Hans Lehman

as Maj. Neeley

as Geologist

as Assassin

as Schellenberg

as Gestapo Captain

as Franz Tauber

as Sgt. Yosuta

as Nolan

as Obermann

as Chauffer

as Vince Rizzo

as Printman

as U.S. Army Captain

as Geologist #2

as Security Guard

as Secretary

as Pool Man

as Concierge (German)

as Geologist #3
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Critic Reviews for The Formula

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)


Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

its completely muddled plot is a disaster: There can be no joy in unraveling a plot that is a mystery even to itself.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The murder scene is littered with so many red herrings it might as well be a delicatessen.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

plays like a tedious checklist of murders without a score card.

Full Review… | January 25, 2009

Only Marlon Brando in a small role as a daffy oil tycoon gives the film some spark.

Full Review… | August 30, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Formula

I didn't think a movie staring two such great actors would be this boring, but wow, it could not keep my interest at all. Not even sure what the plot was supposed to be.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


This started out as a WWII Film and I was just sitting down and getting ready to enjoy what looked to be a somewhat promising war movie, when all of a sudden we were throw forward by a number of years. That was the first surprise. Anyway George C Scott plays a LA Cop who uncovers a plot involving a Nazi Formula for Synthetic Fuel. The second Surprise was that Hollywood was still doing a Nazi theme in 1980, the third and final surprise was that the oil Tycoon was none other then Marlon Brando, I sure didn't recognize him. Scott travels to Berlin to try and track down the ring responsible for his friends death. There's plenty of good acting and action, and if you consider the film date 1980 its a thriller worth 3 1/2 stars.

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Even though he's being fed his lines through a visible hearing aid, Marlon Brando still pulls off an excellent performance that serves as the highlight of this flop. George C. Scott fights to pull a compelling character out of an essentially hollow protagonist, and he does a pretty good job overall. The film itself is muddled, confusing and extremely tedious. The mystery never really adds up to anything, and by the end I simply didn't care anymore.

Mike T.

Super Reviewer

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