65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2000
Most of the published reviews of this film have been written by people who have clearly never seen it.
The story is simple. Charlton Heston plays a USAF Doctor who, when an un-named enemy launches a biowar strike on the US, labours to produce a vaccine. He makes a breakthrough, but on the way to a city centre hospital to test it both he and his pilot catch the disease and crash.
Cut to some time later. By day Heston roams the streets, becoming more and more affected by the solitude, even to the point of watching "Woodstock - The Movie" over and over again. By night he retires to his fortified apartment, while people who have been driven mad by the disease but not killed lay siege to him.
The victims come out only at night because they have been made super photo-sensitive by the disease. Insane enough already, they are organised by the clearly barking Matthias, recognisable as the sanctimonious newsreader from the films opening sequences. His mission is to destroy all technology and learning, which is lucky for Heston as it prevents him going after him with a tank.
When Heston discovers some sane, apparently uninfected people scavenging in the city, he gets another chance to save humanity by using his blood as a serum.
This film has everything. Great "empty city" settings, fantastic 70s music, a brilliant story and plenty of action. An underrated masterpiece. Never let anyone tell you it's about vampires.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2004
This is one of the best science fiction films ever made and the first half of the film, dealing with Robert Neville's one man battle for survival against the mutated survivals of a global plague caused by germ warfare, is simply some of the most effective story telling in the history of SF cinema. Much of Matheson's Vampire novel is stripped of it's gothic horror trappings and turned into a potent speculative tale of the way the world is going. It even as a layer of semi religious symbolism that is handled with subtlety and daring for the most part. The best thing here is that Heston plays the modern man to metaphorical perfection. On the surface, he's all macho coolness and style, with guns, sports car and sunglasses, like James Bond in the grave yard, but this bravado and techo-cool style is all front, underneath it, the modern man is lonely and frightened, a prisoner in his own home with no one to talk to but himself, and no future to hope for either. Images of scanitily clad women are so painful he can't bare to look at them and one daring scene has him reach for the body of a female mannequin. Then the real cruncher...this symbol of white male America must die, Christ-like, and give way to blacks, hippies and children, who represent the only real future of our society. He gives them his blood to wash away their sins, saving them. He dies symbolically, but the message is clear, this tough guy war monger belongs to the past. Amazingly subversive and potent, with a charging narrative thrust and sinister atmosphere, this film takes Matheson's novel which was really a gimmick piece anyway, (the one man becomes a legendary monster, like Dracula, to a world of Vampires, a classic reversal of how Dracula the Vampire is the legendary monster in a world of humans)and makes it into something much more sophisticated and memorable. This is an underrated film, it has its faults (too many people can be seen in the back ground when Heston's supposed to be the last man on Earth!) but overall, it's a brilliant film and well worth a close inspection.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2004
Based on Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend", which was recommended to Charlton Heston by Orson Welles, and one that Heston was inspired to make into a film, is a truly creepy sci-fi/horror classic. Heston is marvelous as Colonel Robert Neville, a scientist who is immune to the plague that resulted from biological warfare, due to an experimental vaccine he injected himself with.
The survivors infected with the plague are hooded mutants that cannot see in the daylight, and are bent in destroying all the attributes of civilization that remain on earth, crying "burn, burn, burn !" as they pile books in a fiery heap. Their leader is a former news anchor played to the hilt by Anthony Zerbe, who warns the zombie "Family" of the evil created by the "users of the wheel".
It is all quite thought-provoking, and has several connotations to terrorism today, and also has symbolism relating to Christianity; at one point Heston is tied up in a crucifixion pose, and his blood, turned into a serum, can save the remnant of humanity. There are a few reminders from the Book of Revelation, where of course, Jesus said "I am the Alpha and Omega".
Rosalind Cash is lovely as Lisa, one of the remnant hiding in the hills, and her relationship with Heston is a rare instance of an interracial love affair from that era. Films from the 1970s fascinate me, with the hair and fashion styles, and 8-track tapes in the cars.
This film has fabulous cinematography by Russell Metty of a deserted, devastated Los Angeles, a good score by Ron Granier, and fast-paced, disquieting direction by Boris Segal that will occasionally make your heart skip a beat with fright.
Total running time is 98 minutes.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2004
A good film. A Russo-Sino war has resulted in global plague virus warfare. Apart from a few humans mutated by the virus, Charlton Heston has suvived by using a serum and believes that he is the only human that has suvived. The mutants want him killed and he then discovers other humans that although infected with the virus have not mutated (yet).
Where this film scores is the images of an empty Los Angeles and personal replays of Woodstock in a Cinema to ease his own growing insanity. The period music add to the charm.
Worth a punt
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2012
this is a classic film. With CH you know what you are getting, not a theatre actor but a convincing one. this film broke new ground as many did in the early 70s. The Blu ray transfer is amasing and Ron Grainer's sound track ( steptoe and son , the prisoner ) at first appears mis-placed but soon becomes very relevant. to mark this film low is to mis-understand the time IMO. CH embraced the "other way" of the time. He sent a message with this movie and although its dated, its also classic. Anyone who knows movies would rate this waaaay above " I am legend " which was CGI rubbish some say. One last point , BBFC have lost their minds, this is NEVER a PG , its a solid 12.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I really liked "Omega Man", even if it shows a little bit its age and the scenario is very different from the archifamous Richard Matheson's book.
Matheson's novel "I am legend" is one of the best and the most courageous science-fiction books that were ever written, I was extremely impressed when I read it and the ending certainly shocked me like few other books ever did. That being said, I found it also terribly depressing and for that reason I am rather grateful to the director and scenarist of "Omega Man" for adding a tiny little glimmer of hope to otherwise a very dark, violent and tragic tale.
I am a great fan of Charlton Heston and as this movie is for quite a lot of time his one-man show, I was well served. His travels and wanderings amongst the deserted ruins of world are a great moment of cinema. His conversations with imaginary "friends" and sarcastic comments on his surroundings are a pleasure to watch. His solitude is well described, in scenes in which he starts to hallucinate - and also when he angrily rips off the wall a poster with a pin-up girl...
His ennemies, the Family, are not exactly the best thing I saw in the movies and they are mostly the reason why I take off one star from my rating. Frankly, I believe that in the more recent remake, "I am legend" with Will Smith (which I otherwise didn't like much) the ghastly "vampires" were the only one thing better than in "Omega Man".
The relation between Neville (Charlton Heston) and Lisa (Rosalind Cash) is a very hot and in the same time very touching one. It must be said that in 1971 an interracial love story on the screen was a rather daring thing to show, especially considering that Neville and Lisa went without the slightest doubt the whole nine yards - and compared to their very carnal relation the famous kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura seems a chaste and innocent thing...
Also, Rosalind Cash didn't hesitate to show herself very much to her public - and may she be thanked for that! It is such a pity that this gorgeous, brave, intelligent and talented woman didn't make a bigger career and that she passed at the age of only 56, in 1995 after a long fight against cancer...
The one technical thing concerning this release is the absence of the deleted scene, in which Lisa sees a woman from Family going to a cemetery crypt carring her dead newborn child. This scene was considered too harsh to be shown on the screen in 1971. I also have never seen this scene, but its existence is a rather certain thing. I really hope there will be one day a more comprehensive release, with some bonuses and this one deleted scene included.
Bottom line, I liked this movie very much and I am very happy that I bought it and watched it. The major reason I do not give it five stars, is that Charlton Heston did two other science-fiction movies, "Planet of Apes" and "Soylent Green", which are better and superior to this one - and considering that I can not rate them six stars, "Omega Man" must get only four...
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2003
STARRING CHARLTON HESTON, ANTHONY ZERBE & ROSALIND CASH, DIRECTED BY BORIS SAGAL. In The Omega Man, Robert Neville (Heston) is the last man on Earth, surviving by scavenging the desiccated remains of a plague-wasted city. Before the Armageddon, which battered the biosphere with nuclear and biological weapons, Neville was a military research physician, a Renaissance man of the technological age. Now he is a post-holocaust hunter-gatherer, his lonely, three-year routine comprised of food-foraging over dusty shelves and shooting the Family. The last man on Earth, yes, but not alone. The Family are virtually neo-humans: they are the blighted survivors of a global plague that mutated humans into extremely photophobic, generously psychotic albinos. Few in number, perhaps 300, they huddle their unbalanced minds 'round the debatable stability of their zealot-dictator, Matthias (Zerbe). With quasi-religious fervor and gestalt, the Family haunts the city's night, sweeping through hospitals, universities, libraries and museums, burning all of the legacies of technology and the old age. They also seek to purge themselves of Neville and hunt him regularly, for, unmarred by plague, he is a vessel for all the knowledge, science and civilization that the Family believes poisoned the old life. Thus, the rhythm of Neville's world is inexorably ruled by light and dark. With the sun high, he hunts the Family and roots through the city for the dislocated acmes of science and art, hauling them back to his fortified brownstone haven. Every day is brutal, dull, identical--until the last man discovers he is not the only human left, and his blood may hold salvation for a doomed, diseased world.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2009
The Omega Man is the second film version of Richard Matheson'snovel I am Legend, the first being a low budget Vincent Price vehicle. Whereas the first version was true to the book, Boris Sagal's version is simply loosely based on the novel. A couple of concepts were changed such as the antagonists no longer being vampires but zombie-like victims of biological warfare. Vampires in 1972 were really no longer a concept for horror films. The other reason is that Neville had to be a morally ambiguous character. In the book it turns out in the end that really he was the monster or that fighting monsters turned him into a monster. Neville in The Omega Man is an officer who was actively involved in developing biological warfare and so his personal hell seems to be a fitting punishment. The film is very much about innocence vs. experience. Neville remains in the city and kills his oponents in meaningless fights because tha's all there is left in his life. His life is validated by having an oponent- an almost Kafkaesque concept. So naturally, when he meets a group of survivors they are children. Some critics thought that his was a document about American fixation youth and being young. In fact, they plan to go t "a new Eden" but there is no place for Neville, because he is -as one boy puts it- hostile. So although in the end we see him as crucified (and more or less resurected through his blood) he is more like Virgil who lead Dante to the gates of paradise but was not allowed to enter himself. The film is very well written in terms of creating sympathy for Neville and then bit by bit deconstructing his character. Neville is very complex, a scientist, a ruthless killer and yet a man who recites poetry and loves art. Heston gives an overall fine performance. There is one beautiful scene where Heston plays chess against a bust of Caesar and you really wonder if he is aware of the fact that he is playing both sides. Visually the film is very well made: In the first 9 minutes we just watch Neville driving through LA and as a prime example of showing vs. telling without any dialogue we begin to understand what has happened so that the following flashback really is unnecessary and relatively crude for such a well made and well written film. In spite of the technical limitations of the early 70s Sagal manages to create a feel of emptiness about LA that is masterfully executed. On the other hand the film does have some incredible holes in the logic and some continuity bloopers. But all in all I would say that The Omega Man is a highly underrated film which works both as an action film and as a statement on the human condition.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2008
A 1970's film, this one, so the soundtrack, lingo and fashion dates it a little, but besides that it can be from any time. This is one of the many Sci-fi movies from the days when the genre was actually used as a medium to explore interesting ideas, not just pretend to or just outline them like it seems to be nowadays. A sanctioned rewrite of 'I am Legend' by the Corringtons, it changes quite a few things but leaves you with a pretty good experience.
Charlton Heston is in the lead role once again (two other notable films from around this time, 'Soylent Green' and 'Planet of the Apes', have this actor in common), as the lone(?) survivor of a virus that either kills outright or reduces the afflicted to a 'zombie-like state' (although in this film, it is fairer to say that people become photo-sensitive and just a little bit mad). Heston's character is vaccinated and potentially has a wider cure, but the afflicted don't want it, as they see themselves as 'The Family' and want to avoid restoring things to the way they were, as it may simply mean a return to a worse age.
It is the battle between the monk-like 'Family' with their medieval weapons, and the hero and his hi-tech appliances and gadgets, that forms the spine of the film. When other unaffected - but not vaccinated - survivors appear, the mood changes to one of hope, and then desperation, culminating in a memorable - though allgorical - end-scene that Matrix Revolutions viewers may find a little familiar.
Heston gives a comand performance, not as some sort of icon or superhuman but just a man, who uses ingenuity rather than luck to stay alive as long as he can so that he can atone and amend. Like 'Apes' and 'Soylent', the end is not the typical Hollywood one of today; for a film from such a long time ago, it feels disturbingly refreshing in the age where we're told that everything now is so much bigger and better.
All in all, this is a memorable film that uses simplicity, not CGI, to convey the horror and lonliness of being the last man alive, and comes off better for it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2011
The Omega Man recently had a bit of a resurgance after the release of the Will Smith reimagining I Am Legend (both based on the I Am Legend book). The world has been obliterated after a biological war and there are very very few survivors, but there are quite a few 'walking dead' who have been infected with a plague in the aftermath. Heston spends his time avoiding and fighting these people but some of the best scenes actually come from Heston talking to himself, like when he is watching Woodstock in a deserted cinema. The story takes a turn when he meets Lisa who is looking after some healthy children and it revives his human passion and emotion for life in order to help them. The empty streets look great, Heston is a good choice for the lead and it is well paced. Recommended. 3.5/5