The Formula (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Formula (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Formula Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Steve Shagan, a conspiracy involving a valuable secret formula for synthetic fuel is uncovered when detective Barney Caine (George C. Scott) begins to probe into the events leading up to a friend's murder. Marlon Brando makes an appearance as oil tycoon Adam Steiffel.more
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Steve Shagan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 7, 2006
Warner Home Video


George C. Scott
as Barney Caine
Marlon Brando
as Adam Steiffel
John Gielgud
as Dr. Esau
G.D. Spradlin
as Clements
John Van Dreelen
as Hans Lehman
Robin Clarke
as Maj. Neeley
Werner Kreindl
as Schellenberg
Jan Niklas
as Gestapo Captain
Wolfgang Preiss
as Franz Tauber
Calvin Jung
as Sgt. Yosuta
David Byrd
as Obermann
Gerry Murphy
as Chauffer
Louis Basile
as Vince Rizzo
Ric Mancini
as Printman
Weston Gavin
as U.S. Army Captain
Craig T. Nelson
as Geologist #2
Jim Breuer
as Security Guard
Lavelle Roby
as Secretary
Ernie Fuentes
as Pool Man
Martin Brandt
as Concierge (German)
Herb Voland
as Geologist #3
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Formula

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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