The Final Conflict (1981)

R | 108 mins | Horror | 20 March 1981

Director:

Graham Baker

Writer:

Andrew Birkin

Producer:

Harvey Bernhard

Cinematographers:

Robert Paynter, Phil Meheux

Editor:

Alan Strachan

Production Designer:

Herbert Westbrook

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY


       An article in the 27 Sep 1978 Var listed the film’s working title as Omen III. On 21 Nov 1978, Var reported the title had changed to The Final Chapter – Omen III. When principal photography began in early Mar 1980, the 14 Mar 1980 DV reported the film’s title was Final Conflict. An article in the 28 Feb 1981 LAT stated the film’s title was Omen 3: The Final Conflict. Production notes in AMPAS library files also included the following alternate titles: The Omen Part III, and Final Conflict – Omen III. However, various contemporary sources, including the 29 Jun 1980 LAT, referred to the film by its release title, The Final Conflict.
       A 14 Apr 1980 DV production chart listed Alan Jones as editor, Dina Eaton as assistant editor and Jenny Craven as unit publicist, but they do not receive onscreen credit on the film. An article in the 28 Feb 1981 LAT reported that Robert Munger was a production consultant on the film, but Munger did not receive onscreen credit. The article also noted that Munger “originated the concept” for the first film in the trilogy, The Omen (1976, see entry). Although Munger did not receive onscreen credit in The Omen for the story, he was credited as a religious advisor to the producers. The 12 Dec 1978 HR reported that producer Harvey Bernhard had written the stories for ... More Less


       An article in the 27 Sep 1978 Var listed the film’s working title as Omen III. On 21 Nov 1978, Var reported the title had changed to The Final Chapter – Omen III. When principal photography began in early Mar 1980, the 14 Mar 1980 DV reported the film’s title was Final Conflict. An article in the 28 Feb 1981 LAT stated the film’s title was Omen 3: The Final Conflict. Production notes in AMPAS library files also included the following alternate titles: The Omen Part III, and Final Conflict – Omen III. However, various contemporary sources, including the 29 Jun 1980 LAT, referred to the film by its release title, The Final Conflict.
       A 14 Apr 1980 DV production chart listed Alan Jones as editor, Dina Eaton as assistant editor and Jenny Craven as unit publicist, but they do not receive onscreen credit on the film. An article in the 28 Feb 1981 LAT reported that Robert Munger was a production consultant on the film, but Munger did not receive onscreen credit. The article also noted that Munger “originated the concept” for the first film in the trilogy, The Omen (1976, see entry). Although Munger did not receive onscreen credit in The Omen for the story, he was credited as a religious advisor to the producers. The 12 Dec 1978 HR reported that producer Harvey Bernhard had written the stories for The Omen and Damien: Omen 2, and was collaborating with screenwriter Andrew Birkin on The Final Conflict. Bernhard was credited as a producer on the first film, but David Seltzer received the sole onscreen writing credit for The Omen. Bernhard did receive onscreen story credit for Damien: Omen 2, but not for the third film. Andrew Birkin received a “written by” credit on The Final Conflict, based on characters created by David Seltzer. An item in the 27 Jun 1978 HR reported that Richard Donner, director of The Omen, was considering directing the third film of the trilogy. While Donner did not direct the film, he was credited as executive producer. According to the 29 Jun 1980 LAT, The Final Conflict marked Graham Baker’s feature film directorial debut. LAT also noted the film was Barnaby Holm’s feature film debut, however, Barnaby Holm had appeared in Juggernaut (1974, see entry). The actor had previously worked with The Final Conflict writer Andrew Birkin on the BBC television production The Lost Boys, which also starred Barnaby’s father, Ian Holm; Birkin reportedly wrote the part of “Peter” in The Final Conflict for Barnaby.
       An article in the 27 Sep 1978 Var noted a preliminary budget of $4.5 million for the film. The 14 Mar 1980 DV stated the film’s English locations included Cornwall, Yorkshire, and EMI studios in Elstree. Production notes in AMPAS library files reported that the conclusion of The Final Conflict was filmed at the ruins of Fountains Abbey, a 12th century monastery in North Yorkshire.
       The 13 Mar 1981 HR announced the film would be released 20 Mar 1981. Items in the 23 Mar 1981 DV and the 24 Mar 1981 HR noted the film had a strong opening, with the 24 Mar 1981 DV reporting a first weekend box office gross of $5,571,675 in 910 theaters.

      End credits include the following written statements: “Behold, the Lion of Judah! The Messiah, who came first as a child but returns not as a child, but now as King of Kings, to rule in power and glory forever!”; “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation XXI:4”; “Our grateful thanks to The North Cornwall Hunt, The National Trust, The National Coal Board (Swadlingcote), Department of the Environment”; and “Made by Twentieth Century-Fox Productions Limited at EMI Elstree Studios, England and on location in Cornwall and Yorkshire.”

              The acknowledgements misspell the town of Swadlincote as “Swadlingcote.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Mar 1980.
---
Daily Variety
14 Apr 1980.
---
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1981.
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Jun 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Feb 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 1981
p. 11.
New York Times
20 Mar 1981
p. 8.
Variety
27 Sep 1978.
---
Variety
21 Nov 1978.
---
Variety
25 Mar 1981
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Harvey Bernhard Production
In Association With Mace Neufeld
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Stills photog
Cam focus
Elec supv
Best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd ed
Dial ed
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Casting
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Cont
Pub coord
Unit pub
Prod accountant
Prod's secy
Prod asst to the dir
Dial coach
Dogs owned and trained by
Automobiles furnished by courtesy of
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by David Seltzer.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Omen III
The Final Chapter - Omen III
The Omen Part III
Release Date:
20 March 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 20 March 1981
New York opening: week of 20 March 1981
Production Date:
began early March 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
6 March 1981
Copyright Number:
PA98642
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The seven knives of Megiddo, the only weapons capable of killing the Antichrist, are discovered in a Chicago, Illinois, construction site. The knives are sent to De Carlo, a priest at a monastery in Subiaco, Italy, who is aware that businessman Damien Thorn is the Antichrist. According to ancient prophesies, the “Beast” will soon complete his seven year reign and Christ will be reborn in England for the final battle between good and evil. Meanwhile, Damien, who has run his company, Thorn, for seven years, prepares for the Second Coming of Christ, vowing that the “Nazarene” will be destroyed. Damien confides to his private secretary, Harvey Dean, that he will soon be appointed ambassador to Great Britain. In England, a Rottweiler dog barks at the sitting ambassador, who then returns to his office in a trance and commits suicide in front of journalists, including television reporter Kate Reynolds. When Damien is offered the ambassador’s post, he negotiates to become president of the United Nations (UN) Youth Council. Elsewhere, an astronomer discovers that an unusual alignment of stars will occur on 14 March 1982. He informs De Carlo of the celestial “trinity alignment,” heralding the birth of Christ. De Carlo assembles his cabal of monks, then arms the men with Megiddo daggers and they travel to England to kill Damien and protect the Christ child. Meanwhile, Kate meets Damien at a party and he accepts her invitation to appear on her television show. In return, Damien asks Kate and her son, Peter, to join him at the park on Sunday. There, De Carlo’s monks observe Damien and later ... +


The seven knives of Megiddo, the only weapons capable of killing the Antichrist, are discovered in a Chicago, Illinois, construction site. The knives are sent to De Carlo, a priest at a monastery in Subiaco, Italy, who is aware that businessman Damien Thorn is the Antichrist. According to ancient prophesies, the “Beast” will soon complete his seven year reign and Christ will be reborn in England for the final battle between good and evil. Meanwhile, Damien, who has run his company, Thorn, for seven years, prepares for the Second Coming of Christ, vowing that the “Nazarene” will be destroyed. Damien confides to his private secretary, Harvey Dean, that he will soon be appointed ambassador to Great Britain. In England, a Rottweiler dog barks at the sitting ambassador, who then returns to his office in a trance and commits suicide in front of journalists, including television reporter Kate Reynolds. When Damien is offered the ambassador’s post, he negotiates to become president of the United Nations (UN) Youth Council. Elsewhere, an astronomer discovers that an unusual alignment of stars will occur on 14 March 1982. He informs De Carlo of the celestial “trinity alignment,” heralding the birth of Christ. De Carlo assembles his cabal of monks, then arms the men with Megiddo daggers and they travel to England to kill Damien and protect the Christ child. Meanwhile, Kate meets Damien at a party and he accepts her invitation to appear on her television show. In return, Damien asks Kate and her son, Peter, to join him at the park on Sunday. There, De Carlo’s monks observe Damien and later decide to target him during his appearance on Kate’s show. A monk sneaks onto a rickety catwalk above the stage, but as he prepares to strike, he trips on a rope and falls. As he swings into a plastic tarp, he knocks a stage light into hazardous material that ignites in flames. Damien sees the Megiddo dagger and is determined to find the other six knives. After the show, Dean learns his wife, Barbara, has gone into labor. Later, De Carlo, the monks, and astronomers watch as a bright light heralds the convergence of the three stars. The next morning, Damien notices one of De Carlo’s monks watching him from the street. Damien realizes it is a trap, but follows the monk to the ruins of a remote church. Knowing Damien is behind him, the monk alerts two companions on a walkie-talkie. The monks throw a coat over the head of a man they believe to be Damien and stab him with their daggers, only to discover that they have mistakenly killed their fellow monk. Lightning strikes and the snarl of a vicious Rottweiler send the monks scurrying into an underground tunnel to escape. However, they find the tunnel bricked up and a heavy grate drops overhead, trapping them. Damien decides that the only way to kill the Nazarene is to murder every male child in England born between midnight and six a.m. on 24 March. He orders Dean to call a meeting for Sunday after the fox hunt and also inquires about Dean’s newborn son, but the secretary claims his child was born 23 March. On Sunday, Kate watches her son ride in his first hunt and Peter is excited about being “blooded” with the fox’s blood as part of the ritual for a first time participant. When Damien takes a substantial lead in the hunt, a monk shoots the fox, releases a decoy fox, and hides as Damien and his dogs follow the animal. Once Damien passes, the monk drags the dead fox in another direction, misleading the other dogs and hunters. As Damien’s dogs kill the decoy fox, the monks trap Damien on a narrow bridge. However, Damien spooks one monk’s horse and the man is tossed over the bridge to his death. Damien’s dogs rip the other monk to shreds. Damien dips his ascot in the monk’s blood, then returns to the manor, where he “bloods” Peter. That night, Damien orders his “disciples of the watch” to slay the 24 March male babies. His congregants, including priests, nurses, boy scouts, and many other children, start the killing spree and, days later, Kate reports on the mysterious infant deaths. That night, De Carlo tells Kate that the dead babies share a common birthday, which marks the second coming of Christ, and Damien is the Antichrist. Kate does not believe De Carlo, but he leaves her with the babies’ birth certificates and his research on Damien, which reveals that he has a birthmark in the shape of “666” under his hair. Peter eavesdrops on their conversation, then telephones Damien, who asks the boy to follow the priest. The next day, Peter shadows De Carlo throughout London and sees him visit Barbara Dean. When Dean arrives home, Barbara warns him to stay away from their son. Meanwhile, Damien and Kate stroll around his estate and she falls into the river. After a moment’s hesitation, Damien rescues her. Later, they make love, but he turns violent and leaves her bruised and scratched. The next morning, Kate awakens alone, then discovers Damien sleeping on the floor in another room. Seeing the “666” birthmark, Kate sneaks away, not realizing Damien is awake. Later, Damien and Peter confront Dean, demanding to know why De Carlo visited his wife. Damien claims there is only one infant left and Dean must kill his own son but Dean insists they are crazy and leaves. Meanwhile, Barbara irons while watching over her son. A Rottweiler barks at the window and she has a vision of her son in ashes. In a trance, Barbara picks up the steaming iron and walks toward the baby. Moments later, Dean returns home. As he walks to his son, he moans in horror, and Barbara murders her husband with a hot iron slammed into his eyeball. Meanwhile, De Carlo arrives at Kate’s studio to inform her that the Holy Child is safe, but warns that her son is with the Antichrist. To save Peter, she must lure Damien to the abandoned church, where De Carlo will kill him. Kate rushes to Damien’s estate and offers to lead Damien to the Christ child in exchange for her son. Damien insists that Peter join them and, when De Carlo attacks, Damien uses Peter as a shield and the boy is killed. Damien strangles De Carlo, then wanders the ruins calling for Christ to show himself. Kate rushes up behind him and stabs Damien with the Megiddo dagger she pulled from her son’s body. A bright light shines and Christ, “not as a child, but as the King of Kings,” hovers above them. Damien shouts that Christ has won nothing, then dies. A figure carries Peter toward Kate and she embraces her son, who may yet live, fulfilling Revelation’s prophecy. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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