Westworld (1973)

Westworld (1973)

“It’s not a joke; it’s an amusement park — the best amusement park in the world.”

When a recently divorced man (Richard Benjamin) and his friend (James Brolin) arrive in a futuristic theme park for adults, they enjoy experiencing the Wild West and “killing” an android gunslinger (Yul Brynner); but soon the lives of all guests at the park are at stake when dozens of androids begin to malfunction.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Androids and Clones
  • Richard Benjamin Films
  • Science Fiction
  • Survival
  • Westerns
  • Yul Brynner Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary writes, this “surprise hit” about a theme park with robots who are “programmed to satisfy every whim of the park’s guests” — including “computer-controlled saloon girls to provide sex and dressed-in-black villains to provide excitement” — was “written and directed ([in] his debut) by Michael Crichton,” and thus we fully “expect this ‘foolproof’ system to go haywire” (which, indeed, it does).

Peary likens the eventual situation of “timid Richard Benjamin” to that of “the scared Jon Voight character in Deliverance [1972] once his tough friend Burt Reynolds is incapacitated.”

He adds that in the world of “Crichton, man starts out working with machines, is careless, and invariably ends up pitted against them” — and to that end, the “final battle between Benjamin and Brynner is a lot of fun, a fitting climax to [a] witty, provocative thriller for the popcorn crowd.”

I agree. This smart, low-budget flick mostly delivers on its promise — though as Richard Scheib points out in his review for Moria: “The one big hole in the script is that Michael Crichton fails to explain the nature of the malfunction – what causes the androids to go amok, exactly why the androids dislike humans and how the androids override the safety feature on their guns that prevent them from hurting humans.” Regardless, this film most definitely makes one question the wisdom of creating such a park to begin with, and is an appropriately scary cinematic journey to take.

Note: The recent remake mini-series (2016-present) has gotten strong reviews, but I haven’t seen it yet, so can’t compare.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Richard Benjamin as Peter Martin
  • Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger
  • Fine low-budget sets and effects
  • Fred Karlin’s score

Must See?
Yes, as a still enjoyable sci-fi classic.


  • Good Show


One thought on “Westworld (1973)

  1. Rewatch. A once-must for its premise.

    I don’t feel that “the nature of the malfunction” needs to be explained. To me, the breakdowns show that technology can be imperfect (which has less to do with the androids ‘turning on’ humans and more to do with something like a virus). Plus… Crichton needs to add drama (and levity) to the popcorn-movie concept.

    The film reflects a human anxiety that technology could have a capacity that could be lethal (or powerful to a point that’s scary).

    Favorite line: “In some cases, [the computers] have been designed by other computers. We don’t know exactly how they work.”

    Not a personal fave but unique-enough for ffs to see.

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