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3 things Westworld should borrow from the movie

The original 1973 film, despite being very different from the HBO series, has many ideas that can still make for fascinating TV reveals.

Mike Sorrentino Senior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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Mike Sorrentino
3 min read

Warning: This story contains spoilers from the 1973 Westworld movie. If you haven't already seen it, it's available for streaming from most digital stores and on Blu-ray/DVD. You'll also find mild spoilers from the first season of HBO's Westworld.

The 16-month wait for Westworld's second season finally ends this Sunday, and the long gap has left me ravenous for more robot-host adventures. So ravenous, I decided to track down a Blu-ray copy of the original 1973 Westworld film starring Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin to look for clues that could give a glimpse at what to expect in season 2.

For instance, while the HBO show doesn't reveal the existence of other parks until the first season's finale, the movie reveals Delos' Roman World and Medieval World right away. While the movie has a very, very different feel than the television show -- my colleague Rich Trenholm takes a deeper revisit here -- there are some fascinating ideas that could find a way into season 2 or beyond.


As the Gunslinger (Brynner), chases down tourist Peter Martin (Benjamin), we get a peek into the cowboy's field of view: a special-effects scene advanced for its time that shows how the robot is literally designed to track down its target. By today's standards, the scene looks pretty terrible, but we learn that the eyes themselves are replaceable.

As Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton) continue their campaigns for independence on the HBO show, could either of them get a hardware upgrade? So far we've seen Maeve manipulate Delos employees into upgrading her personal attributes and rebuilding her to remove explosives. Might Dolores do the same? Dolores is also referenced as being one of the longest-running hosts in HBO's Westworld. Does that have an impact on how well she runs compared with newer models?


The Gunslinger gets some maintenance done before he turns on human tourists.

Warner Bros. Entertainment


Both the movie and the HBO show reference how weapons that hosts fire at humans aren't supposed to actually kill. That certainly changes by the end of the season, but the movie also explains exactly why in scientific terms: the guns are designed to avoid killing anyone with a heat signature, i.e. humans.

Now that HBO's Westworld features robot hosts perfectly capable of killing humans, what's stopping the hosts from reverse-engineering the weapons so humans are unable to shoot the hosts? Maybe they just need Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), who recently learned he's a host and not a human, to start tweaking some guns?


It's heat that allows Peter Martin's (Richard Benjamin's) gun to shoot the Gunslinger (Yul Brynner).

Warner Bros. Entertainment


We know little about the world outside of the Delos empire of robot parks on the HBO show, but the 1973 movie leads off with a cheesy advertisement asking departing guests how they felt about their pricey visit to either Westworld, Roman World or Medieval World. They talk about getting to become mayor of Westworld, falling for muscular men in Roman World and other fantasies they can't believe became real.

So how does a company like Delos manage to lure guests to its destination? So far, we've seen a glimpse of video advertising that plays inside of Delos headquarters, but is there something fundamentally wrong with the outside world that makes traveling to the old west so appealing?

And now that the robots are killing humans in a fight for freedom, does their PR department have a way to spin this in their favor?


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