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The Dawn of Man

Pre-human apes are visited by extraterrestrial monolith, which subtly advances their cognition. Eventually, they learn to create weapons to hunt and kill.

Life and Death

Man-apes are struggling to survive. There is a terrible drought. The tribe of apes live in caves. Moonwatcher is introduced and shown to be stronger and smarter than his fellow tribe. His father dies in the night; he takes his body out to the hyenas.

Opening title sequence shows the Moon, the Earth, and the sun, in perfect alignment. This image (and variations) will appear often in the film.

It’s dawn in a dry desert landscape. There are bones, death. A group of man-apes gather in a dry riverbed, foraging for scraps. Tapirs bother them. Leapord attacks.

Moonwatcher and his tribe reach the riverbed, the Others are already there. There are eighteen of them. As they see him coming, the Others begin to angrily dance and shriek, and his own people reply.

The confrontation lasts a few minutes - then the display dies out, and everyone drinks. Each group has staked its claim to its own territory.

At night, the apes lie huddled in their cave. Fear is plain on their faces.

The Monolith Appears

The terrors facing the apes increase. One morning, a solid black monolith appears. Soon after, the apes undergo subtle but important evolutionary leaps (tool use, omnivorous diet, walking upright).

The first ape to wake begins to sound the alarm. There is a new rock, a large solid jet black monolith, just outside their cave. The tribe fans out, screeching in fear. Eventually, their curiosity overcomes their fear, and they approach and touch the monolith.

CLARIFY CONNECTION: Show shot of monolith again here.

Moonwatcher is playing with a tapir skeleton, when he picks up a femur. He begins playing with it. The monolith is shown, briefly, in the same celestial alignment shot as before.

He suddenly understands that the bone gives him power. He smashes the tapir skull. Shots of tapirs dying are interspersed here.

Master of the World

With their new tools, their new strength, they are able to live and thrive. They easily kill the tapirs for food, they drive off the Others, and kill their leader. It seems that to advance, mankind needed to kill.

The tribe is seen eating raw meat. They seem to be more sociable, calmer, and to stand upright more often.

They encounter the Others again, but this time, they are armed. The others are no match for the tribe, and they are fought off.

They kill the leader of the Others.
After his final blow, Moonwatcher throws his bone weapon up in the air…

Monolith on the Moon

Monolith found on Moon, buried 4 million years ago. Discovery is kept top secret. It sends transmission to Jupiter.

Space Travel. Floyd

We see the stately dance of orbiting missile silos, space stations, and a Pan Am “flight” docking with a rotating station. Dr. Heywood Floyd is being transported (alone and at great expense) to the moon. His mission, and the status of the base at Clavius crater, are myserious, as encounters with transport crew, and with Russian scientists, demonstrate.

Cut to orbiting missile stations. Space waltz. Floyd is travelling empty, to the moon, by way of space station.

He is met at the station by the security chief, Mr. Miller. Dr. Floyd has been here before. They pass security checks, and move on.

Floyd stops to make personal calls. Then is met by Russian Scientists. They say something odd is happening at Clavius base. No contact for 10 days, and even emergency landings are refused (in violation of space treaty).

Floyd either doesn’t confirm or deny.

Floyd is transported down to the lunar surface. As before, the whole craft is empty.

The Meeting

Floyd gives a short briefing, revealing that the “epidemic” is a cover story. In actuality, they are faced with the greatest discovery in the history of science: an artifact, deliberately buried in the moon 4 million years ago.

At the meeting, it is revealed that the “epidemic” is a cover story. Mention is made of the most significant discovery in the history of science. Also, talks of “cultural shock” if revealed publicly.

During the trip to Clavius base, Halverson tells Floyd that the magnetic anomaly was not geological, stronger than possible, and deliberately buried, four million years ago.

The Monolith

A non-verbal sequence of arriving at the dig site, examining the featureless black monolith. It then emits a piercing sound.

{{They arrive at Clavius. The monolith stands at the center of a dig site. Heywood walks around it, touches its featureless surface. While they are about to take a group photo, there is a piercing screech. The monolith is shown in the same shot as before: except with the Earth in place of the Moon}}

Jupiter Mission

Add title card: Jupiter Mission - 18 Months later

Dave Bowman and Frank Poole are in charge of Discover One mission to Jupiter. There is much about the mission that seems odd. HAL predicts a hardware failure, Frank and Dave investigate.

Life Aboard Discovery One

Discovery one is a pristine vessel, with centrifugal gravity. The only two conscious crew members are Frank Poole and Dave Bowman. HAL, the system computer, serves as support. They seem to simply while away the time.

Discovery One is introduced, as are Dave and Frank. Their activities are routine: exercise, eating, watching the news.

News segment informs of the following:

  • Discovery One is the 1st manned mission to Jupiter
  • The crew is 5 men, and the HAL 9000
  • Three of the 5 are asleep.
  • First time hibernation happened before departure.
  • HAL seems to have emotions, and pride.

Frank watches a transmission from his parents, wishing him a happy birthday and giving him news and updates. Also mentions troubles with his pay grade.

Frank plays chess against HAL, and loses.

Dave draws the sleeping crew. HAL admires the renderings, and says he has improved.

Mission Concerns

The rumours of moon dig, and peculiarities of the mission itself, are mentioned by HAL.

HAL believe Dave has doubts about the mission lately. It mentions the rumours about the moon dig, and the oddities of the mission.

Their discussion is interrupted by…


HAL erroneously predicts a fault in a communication unit. Tensions rise as it refuses to admit error, and the human crew invent a reason to communicate privately.

… HAL detecting an upcoming fault in their communication unit.

Mission control approves EVA to retrieve the unit.

Frank is shown investigating it, but says he can’t see any fault. With HAL’s prompting, they decide to put it back and watch it fail.

Mission control states that HAL is in error in predicting the fault.

HAL stubbornly insists that he is not in error.

Dave brings up a seemingly unrelated error with one of the pods, and they head down to check it out.


Dave and Frank begin to suspect that HAL is malfunctioning. They secretly decide to disconnect him.

Man vs. Machine

Believing they’re safely out of earshot, Frank and Dave decide that HAL is a risk, and must be disconnected. But HAL reads their lips.

While in the pod, they issue commands to HAL, which he ignores. They feel they are safe to discuss in private. Though they agree that they need to do as HAL says, and replace the unit and watch it fail, both are uneasy about HAL. They agree that if HAL does turn out to be mistaken, they will have no other choice but to disconnect him.

{{HAL watches their lips through the pod window.}}


{{nonverbal sequence: Frank goes EVA. He leaves the pod to get unit, but pod turns around and attacks him. HAL did it.}}

Dave goes to the pods to rescue Frank. HAL claims to not know what happened. He says radio is still silent.

Dave reaches Frank, and turns the pod back around to return.

In the meantime, HAL turns off life support to the hibernating crew members.

Dave returns to the ship, but HAL refuses to open the pod bay doors. HAL reveals that he knew that they planned to disconnect him, and he couldn’t allow it because the mission is too important.

Dave releases Frank, and enters the ship through the emergency airlock, using the explosive bolts to blast him inside (as he has no helmet).

Dave heads resolutely towards HAL’s memory banks, ignoring HAL’s pleas and reassurances.

Dave disconnects the memory banks, slowly killing HAL as he sings an ever-more-distorted version of “Daisy”, a song his instructor taught him.

After HAL is disconnected, an automated recording of Dr. Floyd plays, explaining the mission, the monolith, and the fact that HAL was the only one who knew.

Beyond the Infinite

Add title card: Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite

The Journey

Discovery One arrives at Jupiter, where a monolith floats in space. On approaching it in a pod, Dave and pod are taken through a wormhole or vortex.

{{Discovery One arrives at Jupiter. A giant monolith is seen floating in the space near one of its moons. Eerie music plays, shots of Jupiter, its moons, and the Sun.}}

{{A pod leaves the D1, towards the monolith. Yet another shot of celestial alignment.}}

{{Dave and the pod are drawn into a vortex. Colors, turbulence, inversions. Still shots of a contorted Dave fill the screen. The images are organic and celestial all at once. It could be a nebula or a womb.}}

{{Eventually, a landscape appears, canyons, desert, in colors that don’t make sense. Dave is about to “land”}}

Reaching the Beyond

Dave’s pod arrives in a stately human room, but lit with cold floor panels. There are several time jump transitions, as he literally watches himself get older. Until finally, on his deathbed, the monolith arrives once more, to give Dave, and humanity, one final evolutionary leap into a powerful being of energy, which even in the womb, can travel through space and is aware of its surroundings. We close on the Starchild’s eyes, as it watches the Earth spinning beneath it.

{{Dave looks out the pod window to see a room with victorian decor, but futuristic light-panel floors. He is shaking.}}

{{The pod sits, still and incongrous in the victorian/future bedroom. Dave then sees himself, standing outside. Older, zombielike.}}

{{Now Dave is in the room, walking with trepidation. towards the bathroom. He is still old.}}

{{He sees himself in the mirror, and senses someone or something behind him. Wehn he goes back to the room, he sees an old man, sitting at a table, eating.}}

{{The old man is him, older still. He stands, slowly. He approaches.}}

{{Now Dave is old dave, the suited one is gone. He returns to his meal.}}

{{As he reaches for something, he knocks a glass to the floor, which shatters.}}

{{Once again, he sees an even older version of himself. This time, in bed, labouring to breathe.}}

{{The monolith appears at the foot of dying Bowman’s bed. He reaches out to it, feebly.}}

{{Replacing Bowman in the bed, is a fetus, floating inside a glowing spherical womb. This Starchild has its eyes open. It seems aware, unperturbed.}}

{{We zoom into the monolith, and see the black of space. Then the moon, and then the Earth below that. Watching the Earth, with Bowman’s eyes, is the Starchild.}}

Screenplay by
Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark

Gingko tree version
by Adriano Ferrari