Tron (1982)

PG | 96 mins | Fantasy, Science fiction | 9 July 1982

Director:

Steven Lisberger

Producer:

Donald Kushner

Cinematographer:

Bruce Logan

Editor:

Jeff Gourson

Production Designer:

Dean Edward Mitzner

Production Company:

Walt Disney Productions
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HISTORY

       Various contemporary sources alternately referred to the film as Tron and TRON, due to the design of its onscreen title card.
       End credits give “Special thanks” to: “Anicam; Delta Labs Inc.; Atari Corp.; Syntauri Corp.; Apple Computer Inc.; L. Basset; Mountain Hardware Corp.; Charles Haas; Crown International; Jetcopters Inc.; Goodyear Rubber and Tire Corp.; Lexicon Inc.; Pacific Telephone; Olympia, U.S.A.; Federal Screw Works; After Image Inc.; Electro Voice Inc.; Gary Demos; Eastern Acoustical Works; John Whitney, Jr.; Apt Holman Corp.; TBS/Video H.&A. Landaker; Fairlight Corp.; Sam Schatz-Disc Co-Ordinator; E. Rotberg; E.E.G.; Morgan Renard; Music Technology, Inc.; Daimon Webster; Cinema Air; BTX Corp.; Advanced Music Systems; Audio and Design Recording, Inc.; R.H. and A.H.K. Associates.”
       Employees of Cuckoo’s Nest Productions in Taipei, Taiwan, are credited in Chinese.
       Although a 3 Jul 1981 DV "Film Assignments" column listed Charles Haas as a writer, Haas is only mentioned onscreen in the "Special Thanks" section.
       According to a 9 Aug 1982 New World article, animator and video game lover Steven Lisberger conceived Tron in 1978, and publicity materials in AMPAS library files suggested that the story was originally supposed to center around a cartoon football player. The 25 Jan 1980 LAHExam, stated that Lisberger intended to develop the film on a meager $4 million budget, with release expected in early 1981. A 23 Oct 1982 Screen International article stated that he was eventually forced to abandon his plans for independent funding when his 1980 animated television feature, “Animalympics,” was not as widely received as expected. A 5 Aug 1982 LAHExam item noted that storywriter Bonnie MacBird ... More Less

       Various contemporary sources alternately referred to the film as Tron and TRON, due to the design of its onscreen title card.
       End credits give “Special thanks” to: “Anicam; Delta Labs Inc.; Atari Corp.; Syntauri Corp.; Apple Computer Inc.; L. Basset; Mountain Hardware Corp.; Charles Haas; Crown International; Jetcopters Inc.; Goodyear Rubber and Tire Corp.; Lexicon Inc.; Pacific Telephone; Olympia, U.S.A.; Federal Screw Works; After Image Inc.; Electro Voice Inc.; Gary Demos; Eastern Acoustical Works; John Whitney, Jr.; Apt Holman Corp.; TBS/Video H.&A. Landaker; Fairlight Corp.; Sam Schatz-Disc Co-Ordinator; E. Rotberg; E.E.G.; Morgan Renard; Music Technology, Inc.; Daimon Webster; Cinema Air; BTX Corp.; Advanced Music Systems; Audio and Design Recording, Inc.; R.H. and A.H.K. Associates.”
       Employees of Cuckoo’s Nest Productions in Taipei, Taiwan, are credited in Chinese.
       Although a 3 Jul 1981 DV "Film Assignments" column listed Charles Haas as a writer, Haas is only mentioned onscreen in the "Special Thanks" section.
       According to a 9 Aug 1982 New World article, animator and video game lover Steven Lisberger conceived Tron in 1978, and publicity materials in AMPAS library files suggested that the story was originally supposed to center around a cartoon football player. The 25 Jan 1980 LAHExam, stated that Lisberger intended to develop the film on a meager $4 million budget, with release expected in early 1981. A 23 Oct 1982 Screen International article stated that he was eventually forced to abandon his plans for independent funding when his 1980 animated television feature, “Animalympics,” was not as widely received as expected. A 5 Aug 1982 LAHExam item noted that storywriter Bonnie MacBird spent a year and a half working on the screenplay, but the plot and character development drastically changed throughout the rewrite process. A 19 Aug 1982 Rolling Stone article reported that Lisberger and producer Donald Kushner, who does not receive onscreen writing credit, completed thirty-six script outlines and eighteen drafts, spending $300,000 of their own money to compile packages containing complete storyboard designs, explanations of the special effects, and a sample reel, which they then presented to potential studio backers. Although News World indicated that many studios were unwilling to allow Lisberger to direct due to his lack of previous feature film experience, Walt Disney Productions bought the project in summer 1980, granting the filmmakers $50,000 to develop additional test footage. According to the 25 Jan 1980 LAHExam, this stage of pre-production lasted another six months, until Disney approved a production budget of $13 million. An additional $9 million was eventually spent on research and development, as well as overtime costs to complete the picture in time for a summer 1982 release. The 31 Jul 1982 LAT indicated that the studio hoped Tron would help the brand regain their teenage and young adult audiences.
       On 21 Jan 1981, Var, listing the budget at only $10 million, stated that the project was expected to begin its ten-week production schedule on 13 Apr 1982. The following month, a 24 Feb 1981 Var brief speculated that Peter O’Toole was considered to star, but he does not appear in the final film. The 7 Apr 1981 DV and 1 May 1981 HR production charts confirmed that principal photography began 20 Apr 1981, a week later than anticipated, in Los Angeles, CA.
       The Feb—Mar 1982 Business Screen indicated that various computer animation firms bid for the opportunity to work on the picture, yielding the four that were ultimately selected: Magi Synthavision of Elmsford, NY; Digital Effects Inc., in New York City; Information International, Inc. (Triple I), in Culver City, CA; and Robert Abel and Associates in Los Angeles. The 10 Feb 1982 Var stated that by connecting a television monitor to a telephone wire at Magi in NY, filmmakers on the West Coast were able to immediately view the work and request adjustments that could be completed within the same day. This eliminated the need to ship prints back and forth across the country, saving time and money.
       Publicity materials stated that the reclusive French comic artist, Jean "Moebius" Giraud, came to Los Angeles to work on the project for three months beginning in early 1981, providing costume and character design sketches. With very few guidelines limiting his imagination, conceptual artist Peter Lloyd created postcard-sized sketches of scenes and landscapes to be approved and later rendered into full color production drawings. According to the 10 Feb 1982 Var, computers then translated the two-dimensional art into three-dimensional images, which were scanned by a device that produced conventional film. All live-action sequences with the actors were shot around Los Angeles and at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, CA, on black and white film and individually “painted” with color, highlights, and shadows. The Aug 1982 GQ explained that the process of “backlighting” involved transferring the film image to high-contrast “Kodaliths.” The clear portions were then back lit with a colored light and rephotographed. The Aug 1982 International Photographer reported that the “electronic world” was filmed on sound stages at Walt Disney Studios, where the actors interacted with minimalistic black sets and props. According to Rolling Stone, Tron had a total of 1,100 special effects shots, 800 of which involved actors. The computer-generated environments entirely replaced the use of miniatures and matte paintings; instead, each frame was exposed anywhere from twelve to forty-five times. The high-resolution video screens contained twenty-four million pixels, each with a specific color and brightness. Publicity materials noted that Magi used a Perkin Elmer System 3240 and a Celco CFR 4000 computer projector, while Triple I used a Foonley F-I. Each frame of animation required 5-75 million calculations.
       The 2 Jul 1982 issue of BAM magazine explained that sound effects designer and synthesizer Frank Serafine achieved the unique soundtrack by processing various everyday noises through a Fairlight CMI digital synthesizer at different speeds. For example, the slowed-down purr of Lisberger’s pet cat became the “Master Control Program” rumble, screeching monkeys were used to simulate the throwing noise of the “Identity Discs,” and virtual explosions were created by popping firecrackers inside a warehouse. GQ stated that the “Solar Sailer” was the modified sound of a Goodyear blimp.
       According to International Photographer, principal photography completed in Jul 1981, with postproduction expected to continue through spring 1982. Various contemporary sources listed the budget at $15 million, $17 million, $19 million, $20 million, and $22 million, but the exact cost has not been determined.
       Tron lent itself to a large publicity campaign, headed by Disney’s distribution arm, Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc. The 26 May 1982 Var indicated that Disney approved officially-licensed merchandise from thirty-four manufacturers, which were expected to collect $400 million in domestic sales. A paperback novelization of the screenplay by Brian Daley was published 12 May 1982.
       The 16 Jul 1982 LAT reported that the premiere was held 8 Jul 1982 at Disney Studios in Burbank, CA, with proceeds benefitting the California Institute of the Arts.
       Despite its groundbreaking visual effects techniques, Tron was considered a financial disappointment and received mixed critical reception. On 26 May 1982, Var announced that although the film was booked in 1,100—1,200 theaters across the country, Buena Vista was only able to secure one New York City theater, the Loews Stage 2, due to high demand for other popular summer releases. The 31 Jul 1982 LAT stated that despite its $3.8 million advertising campaign, the film grossed only $4.8 million during its 9 Jul 1982 opening weekend. In the article, Lisberger explained that multiple Wall Street analysts reacted unenthusiastically to the picture in a pre-screening, which created negative speculation about its success, and caused Disney stock to plummet in the days prior to its release. Screen International also suggested that the problem was related to Disney’s desire to rush the film into a summer 1982 release, placing it against the massively successful E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982, see entry). In a 24 Feb 1984 DV news item, Disney disputed earlier reports that Tron only grossed $26 million, claiming that its actual domestic earnings totaled nearly $50 million.
       The 18 Sep 1982 Var announced that, following its initial ten-week theatrical run, fifty 70m prints were scheduled to enter nation-wide re-release on 6 Oct 1982, with an emphasis placed on college towns, to coincide with the growing popularity of Bally Manufacturing Corp.’s Tron arcade game.
       Tron received Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Sound, and has since become known as a landmark achievement in the development of modern computer-generated filmmaking. Its “cult” status also prompted the continuation of the franchise through various home video games, books, and comics, and a short-lived animated television series featuring Bruce Boxleitner, Tron: Uprising (Disney XD, 18 May 2012--28 Jan 2013). Steven Lisberger acted as a producer and consultant for Disney’s 2010 sequel, Tron: Legacy (see entry), set twenty years after the events of the first film and again featuring Boxleitner, with Jeff Bridges reprising his role as “Kevin Flynn.” The sequel was also considered a box-office disappointment, and, as of Aug 2014, the proposed third Tron feature has not yet been produced. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BAM
2 Jul 1982
p. 14.
Business Screen
Feb--Mar 1982
pp. 6-7, 41-43, 62.
Daily Variety
7 Apr 1981
p. 31.
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1981.
---
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1982.
---
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1984.
---
GQ
Aug 1982
pp. 128-129, 156.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 1982
p. 3.
International Photographer
Aug 1982
pp. 12-15.
LAHExam
25 Jan 1980
Section B, p. 1, 6.
LAHExam
5 Aug 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1982
p. 1, 12.
Los Angeles Times
16 Jul 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1982
p. 1, 7.
New York Times
9 Jul 1982
p. 8.
News World
9 Aug 1982.
---
Rolling Stone
19 Aug 1982
p. 12, 15, 52.
Screen International
23 Oct 1982
p. 16.
Variety
21 Jan 1981.
---
Variety
24 Feb 1981.
---
Variety
10 Feb 1982.
---
Variety
26 May 1982
p. 3, 35.
Variety
26 May 1982
p. 7, 33.
Variety
7 Jul 1982
p. 16.
Variety
18 Sep 1982.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.
Walt Disney Productions Presents
A Lisberger/Kushner Production
Walt Disney Productions
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam op
1st asst cam op
1st asst cam op
1st asst cam op
2d asst cam op
Grip supv
Key grip
2d grip
Elec supv
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
Best boy
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
ART DIRECTORS
Conceptual artist [Electronic world]
Conceptual artist [Electronic world]
Conceptual artist [Electronic world]
Art dir
Art dir
Electronic conceptual des
Electronic conceptual des
Prod storyboards
Prod storyboards
Prod storyboards
Prod storyboards
Pre-prod concepts
Pre-prod concepts
Pre-prod concepts
Pre-prod concepts
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prod painter
Const coord
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Cost supv
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
Men`s cost
MUSIC
Mus and sd des supv
Mus performed by
The London Philharmonic Orchestra cond by
Mus synthesizer performances and processing
Asst to the comp
Mus layout
Spec record coord
SOUND
Sd eff des and synthesis
Sd eff des and synthesis
Sd dept supv
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Prod sd mixer
Scoring rec
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
"MCP" voice processing
"MCP" voice processing
"MCP" voice processing
Post prod facilities
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Mixer
Boomman
Utilityman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mechanical spec eff
Visual eff concepts by
Visual eff supv by
Eff tech supv
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Asst scene coord
Background des
Background composite supv
Background painting supv
Background artist
Background artist
Background artist
Background artist
Background artist
Background artist
Background artist
Background artist
Background composite asst
Background composite asst
Background composite asst
Background composite asst
Background tech inker
Background plate photog
Background plate photog
Background plate photog
Background plate processing
Eff anim supv
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Asst eff anim
Airbrush supv
Airbrusher
Airbrusher
Airbrusher
Eff ink and paint supv
Inker
Lab coord
Col timer
Cam schedule coord
Cam schedule coord
Film logging
Photographic process lab supv
Photographic process lab supv
Photo-Rotoscope supv
Photo-Rotoscope supv
Photo-Rotoscope supv
Photo-Rotoscope supv
Photo-Rotoscope supv
Photo-Rotoscope coord
Opticals
Matte prod supv
Matte prod
Matte prod
International cel coord
International cel coord
International cel coord
International cel coord
Sample art supv
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Inking/Painting
Eff unit mgr
Eff unit mgr
Secy to Mr. Lisberger
Secy to Mr. Lisberger
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Mechanical designs and conversions
Mechanical designs and conversions
Mechanical designs and conversions
Mechanical designs and conversions
Computer systems and software development
Computer systems and software development
Computer systems and software development
Computer systems and software development
Computer systems and software development
Computer systems and software development
Eff transportation
Eff transportation
Lithographic prod
Prod ink and paint matting by
Anim compositing cam supv
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Anim compositing cam
Addl anim compositing cams
Addl anim compositing cams
Addl anim compositing cams
Addl anim compositing cams
Addl anim compositing cams
Addl anim compositing cams
Addl anim compositing cams
Computer eff supv
Computer image choreog
Computer image choreog
Technology concepts
Scene creation concepts
Scene programmer
Scene programmer
Synthavision technologist
Synthavision technologist
Synthavision technologist
Synthavision technologist
Synthavision prod
Synthavision prod
Scene programmer
Scene programmer
Scene programmer
Scene programmer
Scene programmer
Object digitizing
Computer prod coord
Transition to Electronic world and main title
Des supv
System programmer
System programmer
System programmer
System programmer
Systems supv
"Tron" formation and the "Bit"
Systems supv
Computer prod supv
Computer anim
Computer anim
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Studio prod mgr
Scr supv
Casting
Secy to Mr. Lisberger
Secy to Mr. Lisberger
Loc auditor
Casting
Craftservice
Craftservice
Air conditioning
Transportation capt
Cocapt
Tech adv
Security
STAND INS
Stunt coord, Stunt players
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
TRON
Release Date:
9 July 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 8 July 1982
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 July 1982
Production Date:
20 April--July 1981 in Los Angeles, Burbank, and Livermore, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Productions
Copyright Date:
13 July 1982
Copyright Number:
PA141442
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Black and White
Lenses
Filmed in Super Panavision® 70
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26500
SYNOPSIS

In an arcade, a teenage boy plays a video game in which two players race along a virtual grid on illuminated, motorcycle-like vehicles called “Light Cycles.” Inside the world of the game, the disembodied voice of the Master Control Program, or MCP, speaks to its second-in-command, Sark, as two players named Crom and Ram are held captive in the chambers below, waiting for the MCP to absorb their powers. Meanwhile, in the real world, software engineer Kevin Flynn uses his home computer to control a virtual avatar, or “program,” called “Clu,” which resembles himself, to hack into the computer system of his former employer, ENCOM. Within the computer, Clu navigates the grid in a tank-like vehicle and attempts to access a high-clearance memory bank. However, Clu crashes the tank into a wall, and is taken into custody by virtual ENCOM guards. The MCP then tortures Clu when he refuses to reveal the name of the “user” that created him. In the real world, ENCOM executive Ed Dillinger arrives at his office via helicopter and learns that the MCP suspects Flynn of using Clu to retrieve hidden files. As a result, Dillinger orders the machine to shut down company-wide access to the “Group 7” ENCOM file database until Flynn is stopped. Upon discovering his security clearance has been revoked, engineer Alan Bradley reports to Dillinger’s office. He informs his boss about “Tron,” an independently-operated security program he is currently developing, which can obliterate outside security breaches; when Alan leaves, however, the MCP tells Dillinger that it disapproves of being monitored. Alan then visits his girl friend, Lora Baines, and ENCOM founder Dr. Walter Gibbs in the company laboratory, where they ... +


In an arcade, a teenage boy plays a video game in which two players race along a virtual grid on illuminated, motorcycle-like vehicles called “Light Cycles.” Inside the world of the game, the disembodied voice of the Master Control Program, or MCP, speaks to its second-in-command, Sark, as two players named Crom and Ram are held captive in the chambers below, waiting for the MCP to absorb their powers. Meanwhile, in the real world, software engineer Kevin Flynn uses his home computer to control a virtual avatar, or “program,” called “Clu,” which resembles himself, to hack into the computer system of his former employer, ENCOM. Within the computer, Clu navigates the grid in a tank-like vehicle and attempts to access a high-clearance memory bank. However, Clu crashes the tank into a wall, and is taken into custody by virtual ENCOM guards. The MCP then tortures Clu when he refuses to reveal the name of the “user” that created him. In the real world, ENCOM executive Ed Dillinger arrives at his office via helicopter and learns that the MCP suspects Flynn of using Clu to retrieve hidden files. As a result, Dillinger orders the machine to shut down company-wide access to the “Group 7” ENCOM file database until Flynn is stopped. Upon discovering his security clearance has been revoked, engineer Alan Bradley reports to Dillinger’s office. He informs his boss about “Tron,” an independently-operated security program he is currently developing, which can obliterate outside security breaches; when Alan leaves, however, the MCP tells Dillinger that it disapproves of being monitored. Alan then visits his girl friend, Lora Baines, and ENCOM founder Dr. Walter Gibbs in the company laboratory, where they have been conducting an experiment using laser beams that can reassemble an object’s molecular structure. Complaining about his revoked security clearance, Alan worries that the MCP will soon begin to think independently. That night, Lora brings Alan to Flynn’s arcade to warn her former boyfriend that Dillinger knows he has been hacking into the system. Flynn brings Lora and Alan to his upstairs apartment to explain why he has been trying to access the system: Three years earlier, shortly after Flynn was hired as ENCOM’s new software engineer, Dillinger took credit for five of his video game program designs and rose to the position of the company’s senior executive. To help Flynn find evidence of Dillinger’s plagiarism somewhere inside the system’s programming, Alan and Lora help him break into ENCOM headquarters. Upstairs, the MCP informs Dillinger that it plans to use its advanced intelligence to break into the U.S. Pentagon and Russian Kremlin security systems. Lora takes Flynn to her laboratory, where he is able to grant Alan’s Tron program access to the ENCOM mainframe. Instantly recognizing Flynn as a threat, however, the MCP strikes him with the experimental laser, disassembling and absorbing his molecular structure. Once Flynn is digitized deep inside the computer grid and rebuilt as an avatar wearing an illuminated white and blue bodysuit, the MCP orders Sark to train him to beat the other programs in a series of games. Guards lead him, Ram, and Crom to a training chamber, where Sark gives them an identity disc, which stores information as they learn. From afar, Flynn admires the superior fighting skills of a program called Tron, unaware that it is Alan’s avatar. As part of their training, Flynn and Crom enter a darkened arena and face off in a match that resembles the sport of Jai Alai. When Crom slips, Flynn defies Sark’s orders to let the losing player fall over the edge into the abyss below, forcing Sark to kill him instead. Afterward, Flynn bumps into Tron and realizes that Alan is his user. Flynn pretends that he is a program, under orders from his user to destroy the MCP. While racing Tron and Ram through a Light Cycle maze, Flynn leads them through various tunnels outside of the grid gamespace. Sark sends tanks after them, but their pursuits are unsuccessful. Flynn and Tron spot an Input/Output “I/O” tower in the distance, which allows programs to communicate with their users, and agree to work together to break inside and contact Alan. Before embarking on their journey, they drink from a pool of pure liquid energy, which rejuvenates their power levels. A tank soon destroys Ram and Flynn’s Light Cycles, leaving Tron to continue on his own. Flynn revives among the wreckage and carries the injured Ram to a secluded resting place. Sometime later, they awaken and realize that they are inside the control console of a damaged security hovercraft called a “Recognizer.” Once the Recognizer rebuilds itself, Flynn begins to fly it away, but Ram falls ill and dies, his body disintegrating from the game. Struggling with the controls, Flynn clumsily navigates the Recognizer throughout the system and eventually crashes into a wall. He punches one of Sark’s guards and absorbs his power, which disguises his suit. Meanwhile, Tron encounters Lora’s counterpart, Yori, and together they sneak into the I/O tower, guarded by Dr. Walter Gibbs’ program, Dumont. Inside a communication chamber, Tron’s identity disc rises into the air and opens a channel between himself and Alan. Alan instructs him to insert the disc into the computer mainframe in order to destroy the MCP system. Moments after Tron and Yori’s escape, Sark arrests Dumont, but the MCP grows angry that the others were able to get away. When Flynn catches up with his friends’ programs, he admits that he is actually a user, and Yori commands a “Solar Sailer” vehicle to leads them along an energy beam back toward the central computer. On the way, Sark crashes into the Sailer to cause an energy surge that threatens to eject them from the computer. As Yori begins to disintegrate, Flynn transfers power to save her, severely weakening himself in the process, and Tron is cast overboard, presumed dead. Inside Sark’s shuttle, Yori and Flynn find Dumont trapped in a holding cell with other imprisoned programs, which are then shuttled just outside the MCP’s core and aligned against a wall to be consumed into the central system. Meanwhile, Tron, still alive, clings to the edge of the shuttle as it continues on a course set for imminent self-destruction. When the MCP, resembling a human face imprinted on a large red cylinder, senses Tron’s presence, Sark attempts to kill him. Tron struggles to throw his identity disc into the central console, as the MCP transfers its knowledge and energy into Sark’s body, causing him to grow in size. Aboard Sark’s runaway shuttle, Flynn kisses Yori before jumping into the MCP beam in order to jam the system. As a result, the MCP stalls its defense shield, allowing Tron just enough time to throw his disc into the center and blow up the MCP. Once the console is destroyed, the now-free world of the grid re-illuminates in vibrant colors, and Yori tells Tron about Flynn’s sacrifice. In the real world, the laser beam re-emits Flynn’s molecules, transforming him back into a human, and the computer’s printer ejects a sheet proving that Dillinger stole Flynn’s game programs. The system projects the message throughout ENCOM’s intercom, informing Dillinger of his defeat and Flynn’s usurpation of the company. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.