The Formula - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Formula Reviews

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½ August 30, 2015
with Scott and Brando in the cast this Nazi fiction should be better but would be a gr8 dbl feature with the superior 'the boys from Brazil"
½ June 30, 2015
The Formula is a decent film. It is about a detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in WW II to make gasoline from synthetic products. Marlon Brando and George C. Scott give good performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. John G. Avildsen did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the drama and mystery.
½ April 10, 2015
Two acting giants in a hollow,boring mystery where you just don't care the outcome.
½ May 3, 2014
Brando was still brilliant even when he lost his passion for the craft. His attention to detail, and 'being' in the moment is inspiring.
April 28, 2013
The Formula (1980) -- [4.0] -- George C. Scott stars as a police officer who follows a murder case that gets him embroiled in a mystery involving the Nazis and big oil. The film's ahead of its time in vilifying the oil companies, represented here by none other than Marlon Brando. Scott's character hits the nail on the head when he tells Brando: "You're not in the oil business, you're in the oil shortage business!" But as prescient as the conflict may be, it doesn't make for the best kind of movie drama. "The Formula" lacks action and visceral thrills and the third act boils down to a mild argument in a highrise office. Even with two Oscar winners in the roles, it's hard to get excited. With John Gielgud, G.D. Spradlin, and Beatrice Straight.
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2013
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.
January 15, 2013
Too slow and too long. Not very nicely filmed (seemed dark most of the time) and the plot not explained properly. A dull movie.
½ May 25, 2012
not a great movie due to some crucial plot problems but the conspiracy aspect of it is interesting in the light of the current geo-political situation in the area of energy production and fossil fuels.
March 5, 2011
If you want to know the secret of how oil companies operate and control prices, you should watch this movie or read the book. As a former insider I would suggest you follow my recommendation.
½ December 14, 2010
Horrendous. Sets itself up with a potentially/maybe interesting opening, and then instantly becomes The Most Boring Murder Mystery Ever. 70% of the film is a very bored George C. Scott walking and talking with someone about... whatever. I started to fixate on a crack in the cornice. Marlon Brando is absolutely terrible in it too. He's usually made fun of for being unintelligible when he actually is - here he's genuinely unintelligible. Is there a more prosaic and dull Best Director winner than Avildsen out there? Actually, no, there isn't. I've looked.
January 10, 2010
It's very sluggish and often boring. Still, I admired its bitterly cynical conspiracy plot. This is one of the most angry films about American capitalism and the oil industry ever made. I don't want to oversell it since it's very clunky but it's much smarter, for example, than There Will Be Blood in its analysis of American life.
December 21, 2009
george c. scott growling at Nazis can't be all bad, and it certainly wasn't. there are several perfect scenes here of him doing just that. and marlon brando cheats his way through this movie, and still does well for himself acting-wise. on the whole, a goodish movie that should've been great had the plot mirrored what the poster hints at.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
August 14, 2009
In light of the current geo-political context, this film, while no intellectual breakthrough, is more relevant than ever.
May 24, 2009
learn the secret that oil companies do not want you to know
December 9, 2008
brando scott and a let down of a movie. Its not as bad as critics make it out to be, but its a let down. The scenes with Brando are great fun and he is brilliant as the OIL tycoon who is in total control of his environment.
½ September 2, 2008
I never heard of this one, but it was a pretty good detective pot boiler. Scott is great in the lead, and the plot is twisty and turny enough with a story about alternative Nazi fuel. Maybe it'll get a remake as a Hellboy movie.
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