In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Introduction
  • General Reference Works on Stanley Kubrick
  • Biographies of Kubrick
  • Memoirs
  • Archival Collections
  • Novelization
  • General Books on Kubrick Which Include Material on 2001
  • Books on 2001
  • Chapters on 2001
  • The Making of the Film
  • “New Film History”
  • Science, Technology, and Artificial Intelligence
  • Sexuality and Gender
  • Philosophical Approaches
  • Music
  • Interpretative Articles

Cinema and Media Studies 2001: A Space Odyssey
Nathan Abrams
  • LAST REVIEWED: 12 August 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0309


The film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is regarded as one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made. It occupies number one on the American Film Institute’s top ten science fiction films and fifteenth place overall in its top one hundred movies list. Its revolutionary storyline and techniques mean that it continues to inspire filmmakers today. Lines and scenes from the movie have become legendary and are regularly quoted in film, television, and popular culture. But while all of Kubrick’s films were complex and multilayered, compounded by his customary refusal to explain his intentions, 2001 is perhaps the most complex, multilayered, and enigmatic of all. As with all his films, it requires multiple viewings to unlock its secrets. This complexity has led to an ever-expanding scholarly literature on 2001 all detailing new interpretations. Books and articles range from production and reception histories to intricate analyses. Additional resources are available in the separate Oxford Bibliographies article in Cinema and Media Studies “Stanley Kubrick”; please cross-check. They have not been repeated here.

General Reference Works on Stanley Kubrick

Phillips and Hill 2002 provides encyclopedia entries on all of Kubrick’s work, including 2001 while Phillips 2001 is a compendium of interviews.

  • Phillips, Gene D., ed. Stanley Kubrick: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001.

    Contains interviews with Kubrick of relevance to 2001 by Jeremy Bernstein, Playboy, Maurice Rapf, and Joseph Gelmis. An invaluable resource to hear from the mouth of a frustratingly uncommunicative director.

  • Phillips, Gene D., and Rodney Hill. The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. New York: Facts On File, 2002.

    This one-volume reference book, laid out like an encyclopedia, contains many entries and references to the personnel who worked on 2001 as well as a discussion of the film itself. It is nonscholarly, frustratingly brief at times, but a very useful place to start.

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