[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheBlackHole_TVTropes.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:In, through... and ''beyond''.]]

''The Black Hole'' is a 1979 science fiction movie directed by Gary Nelson for WaltDisney Productions. It stars Maximilian Schell, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins, and Ernest Borgnine. The voices of the main robot characters in the film are provided by Roddy [=McDowall=] and Slim Pickens (both uncredited). The music for the movie was composed by JohnBarry. Creator/AlanDeanFoster novelized the screenplay.

An Earth exploratory ship, the ''[=USS=] Palomino'', discovers an impressively massive black hole with a missing Earth ship, the ''[=USS=] Cygnus'' parked just outside its event horizon, somehow defying its gravity. Setting off to solve the mystery of the ''Cygnus'' are: the ''Palomino's'' [[TheCaptain Captian]], Dan Holland (Forster); his First Officer, Lieutenant Charlie Pizer (Bottoms); journalist Harry Booth (Borgnine); [=ESP=]-sensitive scientist Dr. Kate [=McCrae=] (Mimieux); Dr. Alex Durant (Perkins), the expedition's civilian leader; and the robot [=V.I.N.CENT=]("'''V'''ital '''I'''nformation '''N'''ecessary '''CENT'''ralized"). The ''Palomino'' attempts a dangerous fly-by of the ship, which is dark and apparently derelict. As they come within close range of it, the buffeting they experience due to the black hole's gravity suddenly ceases. They complete their fly-by with tantalizing signs that someone may still be aboard, but do not realize the gravity-free zone is artificial and limited; slipping outside it, they are almost drawn into the black hole.

As the crew repairs the ''Palomino'', they discover that the ''Cygnus'' is not only functional but inhabited by a crew of faceless robots and their human commander, Dr. Hans Reinhardt, who intends to take the ''Cygnus'' into the black hole to see what awaits him on the other side. Trivial matters like what happened to the original human crew or that Earth tried to recall his mission years ago do not concern him.

The movie contains very clear homages in style and plot to ''TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'', and the studio's own prior ''Film/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea,'' and it's possible they originally intended to create a similar "proverbial good science fiction film". The success of ''Franchise/StarWars'' meant that assorted cute robots were crammed in, making the tone somewhat schizophrenic. The goofy robot shooting gallery scene seems particularly out of place.[[note]]It was originally a pool-shooting scene, and is considerably less goofy in the novelization[[/note]]

Many consider this film to be Disney's biggest flop (which lead to countless jokes about the company's money being tossed into the eponymous hole), and that it represents everything that was wrong with Ron Miller's leadership of the company. In actual fact it made $35m on a budget of $20m, so it did earn a slight profit for the company; nonetheless, not very many people regard the film as one of Disney's finer moments. Indeed, along with one other movie that was released the same year, it was the first ever Disney movie to be given a PG rating; something that ultimately would lead to the creation of Disney's separate non-Disney branded label, Creator/TouchstonePictures in 1984 (with the PG-rated ''Film/{{Splash}}'' as its first release).

The film is currently in development for a remake by ''Film/TronLegacy'' director Joseph Kosinski. This film even gets a ShoutOut in ''Legacy'' as a poster in Sam's room.
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!! This movie contains examples of:
* AbsurdlyDedicatedWorker:
** The creepy cloaked and mute robots on the ''Cygnus'' continue to water and care for the massive hydroponics bay despite Dr. Reinhardt supposedly being the only one left aboard who needs to eat or breathe. [[spoiler: In fact the former crew have been subject to UnwillingRoboticisation and the bay is used to feed them as well.]]
** When the ''Cygnus'' is being pummeled by asteroids none of the cloaked robots react to preserve their lives at all, continuing to man their posts. [[spoiler: It's made poetically ironic when Dr. Reinhardt is trapped by a falling viewscreen and begs for help, only to be ignored by the crew he roboticized.]]
* AccidentalPun: When the ''Palomino'' first enters the black hole's gravity field, Charlie says that the ship is "bucking like a bronco."
* AdaptationExpansion: The novelization adds in a lot of detail, such as defining Dr. [=McCrae=]'s "[=ESP=]" as a [[UnusualUserInterface wireless cybernetic interface]], and a wonderfully grim conversation regarding [[FoodPills rehydrated Christmas dinner]], complete with [[{{Squick}} rehydrated giblets]]. It also explains why just letting the decompressed cargo hold's contents escape the ship wasn't an option. It was apparently full of irreplacable pharmaceuticals.
* ArbitrarySkepticism: Durant doesn't think it credible that Reinhardt would have programmed his "robots" to have human emotions ... even though it's obvious that both V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. have them, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, so it must be a known technology.
* ArtificialGravity: One of Reinhardt's breakthroughs is an anti-gravity forecefield that protects the ''Cygnus'' from the black hole, though judging from its layout the ''Cygnus'' must have been built with some form of interior artificial gravity.
* TheBlank: The robot crewmen have metal plates where their faces might otherwise be, and exhibit no expression or emotion.
* BurialInSpace: Done by the "robot" crewmen, which tips off the suspicions of the ''Palomino's'' crew that all is not as it appears aboard the ''Cygnus''.
* ComicBookAdaptation: There was a NewspaperComic, drawn by JackKirby, and the movie was adapted by Whitman Comics, an imprint of GoldKeyComics. The Gold Key title actually went on to publish two extremely rare ''original stories'', the only official fiction to be set after the events of the film.
* ConspicuousCG: The opening credits, featuring a wireframe representation of a black hole's gravity well. State-of-the-art for 1979, it also appeared in several of the trailers.
* CoolStarship: The ''Cygnus'' is a sort of glass cathedral spaceship that runs on pure awesome.
* CreatorCameo: Director Gary Nelson as [[spoiler: the humanoid unmasked by Durant]].
* CyberCyclops: Maximillian.
* DeadpanSnarker: V.I.N.Cent., thanks to his endless store of quotations.
* DevilInPlainSight: Dr. Reinhardt. If the crew of faceless cloaked humanoids lead by a floating red killbot with blender blades wasn't an indication, the man himself gives you another big hint by wearing bright red outfits for many of his scenes...
* DirtyCoward: [[spoiler: Harry Booth.]] He talks big about trying to overpower Reinhardt's robots, take control of the ''Cygnus'', and head back to Earth... but as soon as he finds out what actually happened to the rest of Reinhardt's crew, he immediately changes his mind ("If they couldn't pull it off, what chance do we have?")[[spoiler:... which leads to his ill-advised attempt to steal the ''Palomino'' and make for Earth alone.]]
* DisneyDeath: Averted for anyone hoping that [[spoiler:Old B.O.B.]] would miraculously survive that last shootout with Maximillian.
* TheDragon: Maximillian.
* DressingAsTheEnemy: Until Reinhardt orders the security drones to shoot at all humanoids not at their posts.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Dr. Reinhardt is genuinely upset at [[spoiler: Durant's]] death and chastises Maximillian for killing him.
-->'''Dr. Reinhardt''': You shouldn't have done that! He was a good man.
* ExplosiveDecompression: Several guard bots are blown out of the hydroponics dome when a meteor makes a hole in the roof.
* {{Expy}}: V.I.N.CENT is a ''slightly'' less effeminate, and considerably more competent than [[Franchise/StarWars C-3P0]] ([[XMeetsY with an R2-D2 style body]]).
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: [[spoiler: When Maximillian drills a hole in Durant's chest.]] Yes, there's a book in the way so you can't see it, and yes, [[BloodlessCarnage there's no visible blood]]; but he still ''drills a hole in his chest''. The sound effect for the drill -- and [[spoiler: Anthony Perkins']] agonized scream -- makes it all the worse. It's part of the reason why this is the first PG-rated Disney production.
* FateWorseThanDeath: [[spoiler: Dr. Reinhardt]] ends up in a (possibly literally) hellish burning landscape, while being trapped in [[spoiler: Maximillian's body]]. Long before that, of course, he [[spoiler: zombified his entire crew into wretches too mindless to even notice their ship collapsing around them]] - another FateWorseThanDeath.
* FiveManBand: Captain Holland (TheHero), Charlie Pizer (TheLancer), Dr. Durant (TheSmartGuy), Harry Booth (TheBigGuy), Dr. [=McCrae=] (TheChick).
* FollowTheLeader: The basic script was written in the mid-70's, with it being inspired by the [[DisasterMovie disaster films]] that were made at the time, but [[DevelopmentHell lingered in pre-production, possibly on the verge of Disney scrapping it]]. And then ''Franchise/StarWars'' came out...
* ForScience: Dr. Reinhardt's ostensible motivation. Also Dr. Durant's.
* FrickinLaserBeams: Glowy but otherwise fairly realistic; they leave burn marks everywhere.
* FromMyOwnPersonalGarden: During [[BigBad Reinhardt]]'s NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine moment, he tries to pass off the garden as "tiny" -- it is, in fact, ''huge'', far more than one man would need for food or to recycle oxygen. [[spoiler:He maintains it at its original full size in order to feed the entire zombified crew.]]
* FunWithAcronyms: [=V.I.N.Cent. (Vital Information Necessary CENTralized)=]
** Not to mention B.O.B [=(BiO-sanitation Battalion)=] and Captain S.T.A.R (Special Troop, Arms Regiment).
* GainaxEnding: Seemingly a literal trip through hell and heaven. At least it's foreshadowed. The novelization may be even stranger, with [[spoiler: all of the surviving crew merging into one entity and their combined consciousness permeating an entire new universe]].
* GoodHairEvilHair: Dr. Reinhardt has the mad scientist's disheveled long beard.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Averted by pure accident; when comparing outlines of known deep-space vessels to the ''Cygnus'''s profile, V.I.N.Cent coincidentally calls one "Russian", not "Soviet".
* GunTwirling: S.T.A.R. spins its laser pistols after winning a round of target shooting.
* GunsAkimbo: Everyone, both sentry robots and humans, wields two of the double-barreled laser pistols (one barrel above the handle, one below) issued on the ''Cygnus''.
** [=V.I.N.Cent=] and B.O.B. are also equipped with laser emitters in both of their front "arms." (Their grasping manipulators extend to the sides, from their "shoulders.") [=V.I.N.Cent=]'s are disabled (i.e., shot out) by the automated security system soon after boarding ''Cygnus'', but they're repaired in time to humiliate S.T.A.R. in a shooting contest and aid the humans during the final battle.
* {{Homage}}: Apart from the obvious similarities to ''[[TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey 2001]]'' and ''Franchise/StarWars,'' there are definite hints of ''ForbiddenPlanet'' and ''Film/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea.''
* HerrDoktor: First name Hans, last name Reinhardt, speaks with a slight German accent, played by an Austrian actor... und he ist ein Doktor!
* HumanResources: Reinhardt ''really'' doesn't like mutineers.
** There are several clues that give their fate away: [[spoiler: Harry spots one of the "robots" walking with a limp, the hydroponics garden is far larger than it needs to be for one man, none of the crew took their uniforms or other gear with them when they "abandoned ship", and Dan witnesses what looks like a funeral for one of the "robots."]]
* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: Entering a black hole apparently sends you to Hell. Or through heaven.
* IfIWantedYouDead: Dr. Durant uses this line of reasoning. It holds true... for a while.
-->'''Holland:''' Locking warheads into firing position.\\
'''Durant:''' Hold it, Dan, they've got to be friendly. They could have blasted us right out of the sky by now.
* [[ImmuneToBullets Immune To Frickin Laser Beams]]: Maximillian. [[spoiler: Not to a drill, though.]]
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: The sentry robots.
* IncrediblyLamePun: [[spoiler: "Maximilian Schell inside Maximillian's shell" in the "Hell" scene]].
* IndustrializedEvil: The machine used to [[spoiler: convert the crew to cyborgs.]]
* IndyEscape: A gigantic (and suspiciously-spherical) red-hot meteor comes rolling down the ''Cygnus'''s central shaft as the heroes rush across a small footbridge in its path. Comes complete with DramaticSlip.
* IntrepidReporter: Harry Booth. Well, at first...
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:Reinhardt]] is pinned down by debris as the ship heads towards the black hole. Maximillian leaves, so he begs the humanoid robots to help him. Thanks to his own programming [[spoiler: which turned them into mindless zombies in the first place]], they completely ignore him and continue to follow their routines [[spoiler: as he dies painfully and slowly.]]
** [[spoiler: Maximillian gets one of his own; his signature weapons are those horrible drills, and he gets a neat little hole drilled in his own torso by V.I.N.C.E.N.T., in much the same way that he had eviscerated Dr. Durant.]]
* KillerRobot: Many consider Maximillian the uber-example of this trope. A [[CyberCyclops single]] glaring [[RedEyesTakeWarning red eye]], a barely-humanoid frame to put it into the UncannyValley, and those damn drill-claws...
* LargeHam: Reinhardt most of the time, Booth some of the time, and a couple of one-shots:
-->'''Kate:''' There are people in there. I ''know'' it. I ''feel'' it!
-->'''B.O.B.:''' Your friends, they're in GRAVE danger. This is a ''death ship''.
* MadScientist: Reinhardt.
* MagicalSecurityCam: Reinhardt watches the ''Palomino'' crew with one of these late in the movie.
* MeaningfulName: The ''Cygnus'', named for a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cygnus_%28constellation%29 constellation]] which probably has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cygnus_X-1 a black hole]].
* MechaMooks: The sentry robots.
* NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine
-->'''[[TheCaptain Dan Holland]]:''' It's only dinner.
-->'''V.I.N.CENT:''' "... said the spider to the fly."
* MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness: It starts out as a hard sci-fi exploration flick, in that the ''Palomino'' maneuvers like a real spacecraft with the main thruster and attitude jets, and everyone in the spacecraft is weightless except when they are under acceleration, etc. Then Dr. [=McCrae=] is asked to use her [=ESP=] to talk to their RobotBuddy. Then they board the ''Cygnus'', which has an ''ArtificialGravity'' forecefield developed by Reinhardt from his research on the black hole. There's a gradual process of moving from 4 to 1 on the scale, with the human characters moving around ''outside'' the ''Cygnus'' in shirtsleeves near the end with no noticeable ill effects.[[note]]WordOfGod is that the actors refused to wear the cumbersome spacesuits designed for the scene. Maybe they're supposed to be swimming around inside atmosphere flowing from a breach in the ship's hull?[[/note]] Then they travel through the black hole itself [[GainaxEnding and through the afterlife(?).]]
* OurWormholesAreDifferent: The movie treats the eponymous black hole as a wormhole, even going so far as to have the characters travel through it and come out "unharmed" on the other side, though the journey itself is pretty [[NightmareFuel trippy]].
* OhCrap: Charlie's reaction when [[spoiler: he figured out the probe ship they're using to escape the Cygnus is actually programmed to go into the black hole.]]
* OutrunTheFireball: The scene where the heroes try to make it across a tunnel before a huge meteor plowing through the ship reaches them. It was in all the trailers.
* PsychicPowers: Dr. [=McCrae=] has a telepathic link with [=V.I.N.CENT=]. According to the novelization it's thanks to a cybernetic impant in her brain.
* RageHelm: Maximillian has a bright red eye with a furrowing brow sculpted/painted above it, making it look like he's permanently scowling.
* RecycledInSpace: ''Film/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea''. Both it and ''The Black Hole'' involve a ship captained by a MadScientist rebelling against conventional authority, who reluctantly takes the heroes on board because he wants to show off his acheivements, and who intends to dive his ship into a maelstrom. Only one of the protagonists is sympathetic to the captain's scientific achievements. There are NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine scenes in both stories.
* RedAndBlackAndEvilAllOver: Maximillian, the security drones, most of Reinhardt's outfits, [[spoiler: and the lobotomy machines in the ''Cygnus'''s medical bay.]] It's a rather dark "dried-blood" red too.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath:
** [[spoiler: Alex Durant]] finally realizes that Reinhardt is mad and tries to save Kate...too late.
** Holland says that maybe [[spoiler: Harry Booth]] did them a favor by [[spoiler: trying to leave the rest of them behind.]]
* ReinventingTheTelephone: Dr. [=McCrae=]'s abilities are clarified in the novelization.
* RobotBuddy: [=V.I.N.CENT=] and Old [=BOB=]. Maximillian, not so much.
* RoboticPsychopath: Maximillian. When Maximillian [[spoiler: slaughters Alex Durant]], Reinhardt berates it for killing a "good man". Clearly, he does not control the robot fully, and it has a malevolent will of its own - when the ship is later disintegrating, Maximillian [[spoiler: leaves Reinhardt to die, despite the fact that his predicament was clearly visible to it.]]
* RuleOfSymbolism: The Black Hole is likened to a gateway to Hell. Or Heaven. Have doubts? Watch that climax again... [[NightmareFuel if you dare]].
** This movie has religious symbolism out the wazoo: in addition to the foreshadowing comparisons of the Black Hole with Hell ("My god, it's right out of Dante's ''Inferno''"; "Every time I see one of these things I expect to see a guy in a red suit with a pitchfork"), Durant says it may lead "into the mind of God". Reinhardt likens [=V.I.N.CENT=] and Maximilian to David and Goliath and quotes from Genesis. The ''Cygnus'' looks like a Gothic cathedral, the control panels on the bridge look like stained glass windows, and the humanoids are dressed like monks. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when Reinhardt offhandedly remarks that it's another of his "theatrical gestures".
*** In fact, one planned ending involved [[spoiler: a reveal that shows Dr. [=McCrae=] as one of the angels depicted among the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.]]
** [[spoiler: Durant]] tries to shield himself from Maximillian...with a book. His admiration of knowledge is useless against the murderous truth.
* SceneryPorn: The interior of the ''Cygnus'' resembles a high tech-cathedral of steel and glass with mammoth, lengthy corridors and ominous lighting.
* SoundOnlyDeath: [[spoiler: Durant]]'s murder.
* SouthernFriedGenius: Old BOB (he got his accent from having been programmed in Houston.)
* SpaceMadness: Dr. Reinhardt, though Booth hints that the good Doctor wasn't all that stable before he left Earth. [[TooDumbToLive Dr. Durant]] is only willing to say the isolation has made Reinhardt a little eccentric.
* SwirlyEnergyThingy: The funnel-shaped accretion disc around the black hole.
* {{Technobabble}}: Comes with the territory...
* TemptingFate: After winning the first shootout with Reinhardt's robots, Old B.O.B. wishes that "Reinhardt and Maximillian had been out there." [[spoiler: He gets his wish partially granted later and ends up fatally damaged as a result.]]
* TheDanza: Played with, but not used straight. Dr. Reinhardt's henchbot is named Maximillian. The actor who plays Reinhardt is named Maximillian Schell.
* ThisIsADrill:
** [=V.I.N.CENT=] has a drill. He asks Maximillian to say hi to his drill near the end of the movie.
** Maximillian's own spinning claw-saw would also qualify.
* TinCanRobot: B.O.B. and V.I.N.CENT
-->'''Charlie Pizer:''' When I signed on for this I didn't know I'd be playing straight man to a tin can.
* TooDumbToLive: Dr. Durant ignores some pretty obvious signs that Dr. Reinhardt is not playing with a full deck until it's too late.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: One trailer for the movie showed [[spoiler: Durant's]] death.
* UnrealisticBlackHole: Goes without saying.
* UnwillingRoboticisation: The sad fate of [[spoiler: the ''Cygnus'' crew after they tried to take control of the ship from Reinhardt.]]
* VillainBall: Dr. Reinhardt's decision [[spoiler: to have the crew of the Palomino killed after his secret was discovered, rather than let them flee resulted in the destruction of the ''Palomino'', the ''Cygnus'', and, indirectly, Maximilian's destruction]] and Reinhardt's eventual fate. Had Reinhardt told them to go in peace after [[spoiler: Durant unmasked a cloaked "robot"]] they would've had no other choice anyway, leaving the field clear for Reinhardt to pursue his plans; then agin, that wouldn't have been enough villainy.
* TheVoiceless: Maximilian never actually speaks; he presumably is able to communicate somehow, since Rheinhardt seems to understand him, but the audience doesn't see any sign of it, which of course makes him all the more unsettling.
** [[spoiler: He does, however, let out an electronic sounding shriek when V.I.N.CENT drills him at the end.]]
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