Tron (movie)

Template:Infobox Movie

Tron is a 1982 Walt Disney Productions science fiction movie starring Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn (and Clu), Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley (and Tron) and Cindy Morgan as Lora (and Yori). David Warner plays the villain, Dillinger (and Sark, as well as the voice of the 'Master Control Program'). It was directed by Steven Lisberger. One of the first films to use computer graphics extensively, Tron has a distinctive visual style.



Past: Flynn was a young and gifted programmer, who used to work for a software mega-corporation. One of the executives of this corporation is Dillinger (David Warner). Flynn, an up-and-coming programmer was cheated out of the profits and royalties for games that he created, by Dillinger. Dillinger, in fact, stole Flynn's games and passed them off as his own. Being unable to prove his authorship, and quitting the company, Flynn is reduced to running a video game arcade. Many of the games he created are featured in the arcade.

Present Day: After some freedom-of-information issues arise from the current employees (Boxleitner and Morgan), Dillinger increases the security of the Master Control Program (an artificial intelligence mainframe that runs the company). This effectively locks the programmers out of the company. They go to Flynn for help in bypassing the increased security of the MCP. Alan and Lora are looking to gain more freedom in their programming. Flynn is looking for evidence of his stolen creations.

After the trio break into the building after-hours, Flynn confronts the MCP, and is absorbed ("digitized") into a digital world tyrannically ruled by the MCP. In the "real world", the MCP's interface resembles an exceptionally high-tech boardroom desk. From inside the computer system, the MCP resembles an enormously forboding face, glowing red with energy.

In this world, programs are represented by characters who resemble their creators; Flynn is initially mistaken for a program, "Clu", that he had previously written. Flynn needs to find "Tron", a security program created by Alan. Tron can help Flynn fight against the despotic MCP to free his company's mainframe and escape to the real world. Along the way he has to participate in several gladiatorial action games including "Light Cycles" and a kind of Jai-Alai.

The "Light Cycles" game is similar to an old computer game sometimes known as Surround. The players are in constant motion on a playfield, creating a wall behind them as they move. If a player hits a wall either by accident or by having no more room to move, he is out of the game, and the last player wins. Tron depicts this game as being played by the humanoid programs in futuristic two-wheeled vehicles that resemble motorcycles which create walls of colored light. Countless versions of this game have been created since the release of the movie.

There are many not-so-subtle political and religious overtones in Tron. Inside the computer, the MCP rules by a Fascist-style oppression, with help from his main general, Sark (Warner), and an army of troops. Regular programs are herded into concentration camp-style detention cells, and forced to battle each other to the death. If they do not comply, they are derezzed (terminated, killed). Most programs believe, or want to believe, in a higher entity, referred to as "Users". They claim that these Users, who are their programmers in the Real World, are their Creators. Programs who believe in these Users are also subject to derezzing.

In Tron, the character Tron plays a martyr-type, who "battles for the Users." When a User himself (Flynn) is dropped in to the environment, and found to be a User, he assumes the role of a Messiah-type of character, who can perform what seems like miracles to other programs.


Tron was one of the first movies to use long computer-generated sequences. About thirty minutes of computer-generated animation (blended with the filmed characters) were used. Though the movie has been criticized for woodenness of acting and -- perhaps unjustly -- incoherence of plot, the movie is celebrated as a milestone of computer animation.

To be able to create the film, Disney acquired the Super Foonly F-1, the fastest PDP-10 ever made (and the only one of its kind).

The film, however, contains less computer-generated imagery than is generally supposed. Many of the effects that look like computer graphics were created using traditional optical effects. In a technique known as "backlit animation," the live-action scenes inside the computer world were filmed in black-and-white, printed on large-format high-contrast film, then colorized with traditional photographic and rotoscopic techniques to give them a "technological" feel. The process was immensely labor-intensive, and would never be repeated for another feature film; with multiple layers of high-contrast large-format positives and negatives, it required truckloads of sheet film, and a workload greater than even that of a conventional cel-animated feature.

The well-known French artist, Moebius (of Silver Surfer fame), was the main set and costume designer for the movie.


Missing image
Tron's light-cycle race is one of the movie's best-remembered action sequences. In the game, players must race each other around a track, trying to force opponents to crash into walls or trails left by the cycles.

Although the film was initially unsuccessful, it has retained a cult like status due to its use of CGI and its computer plot line. The movie also inspired several popular video games. The Tron arcade game earned more than the film's first release and made it a cult favorite. Disneyland featured the Tron SuperSpeed Tunnel in its PeopleMover attraction.

Tron 2.0, a computer game sequel, was released on August 25, 2003. In this first person shooter game, the player takes the part of Alan Bradley's son Jet, who is pulled into the computer world to fight a computer virus. Versions of this game were released for Windows, Macintosh, Xbox and Game Boy Advance.

On January 13 2005, Walt Disney Pictures announced a remake of Tron, with more emphasis on the Internet.


The background music for Tron was written by Wendy Carlos, who is most well-known for her album, Switched On Bach and for the soundtrack to The Shining. The music featured a mix of (then) state-of-the-art synthesizers and pipe organs. Additional music was provided by the band Journey.

See also

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