|Steven Lisberger Director||previously directed Animalympics|
Arcade game aficionado Kevin Flynn gets sucked into a computer world by an overzealous program and must fight his way out with the help of a computer security program called Tron.
Peter O'Toole was originally attached to play Dillenger/Sark, but quit the project after learning that most of the sets and effects would be generated in the computer.7 More Trivia
24 More Quotes
The best programmer ENCOM has ever seen and he ends up playing Space Cowboy in some back room.
|Jeff Bridges||Kevin Flynn|
|David Warner||Edward Dillinger|
|Cindy Morgan||Lora Bradley|
|Barnard Hughes||Dr. Walter Gibbs|
|Tony Stephano||Peter / Sark's Lieutenant|
|Craig Chudy||Warrior #1|
|Vince Deadrick Jr.||Warrior #2|
|See Full Credits|
In the world of Tron Sark ( David Warner) defeats another player on the light cycle game grid. He is then called by the Master Control Program, who tells Sark that he will start playing against some kidnapped military programs from Strategic Air Command. In the holding cells Ram ( Dan Shor) meets a freshly captured program named Crom. When asked why he is there Ram explains that Master Control is rounding up anyone that believes in the Users. He forces them to play games so that they kill themselves off. Crom explains to Ram that Master Control is even controlling the cities outside of the games.
In the real world Kevin Flynn ( Jeff Bridges) uses his program Clu to hack into ENCOM, his ex employer. When working at ENCOM Flynn developed several popular video games but never got credit. The files he needs would have his signature on them allowing Flynn to take ENCOM to court and get the credit he deserves. However when Recognizers discover Clu accessing memory they chase him down and crash his game tank. Clu is taken to Master Control Program who tortures him to discover who his user is. However Clu refuses to talk so Master Control has him de rezed. Master Control contacts Edward Dillinger (also played by David Warner), the current senior executive VP of ENCOM. The two of them conspire to keep Flynn out of the system.
Working at ENCOM Alan Bradley, a friend of Flynn, is working on a new program named Tron (both roles are played by Bruce Boxleitner). Tron is a security program that monitors the communication between and within computer systems. When Alan tries to launch Tron into the system he finds out that his access to the system has been cut off. Alan reports to Dillinger who asks him if Tron is part of the MCP (Master Control Program). Alan says that Tron is an independent program that can even watchdog the MCP. When Alan leaves the MCP tells Dillinger that Tron cannot be allowed to have free roam due to the fact the MCP has illegally accessed dozens of systems.
Fustrated Alan visits his girlfriend Dr. Lora Baines ( Cindy Morgan) and Dr. Walter Gibbs ( Barnard Hughes) who are working on a laser that can create real objects into digital ones. Lora tells Alan that the tampering may be caused by Flynn since Flynn had been trying to access the system ever since he was fired. They visit Flynn’s arcade and find him playing Space Paranoids, the game he originality created but was stolen. Lora confronts Flynn about sneaking into the ENCOM system. He tells them that if he had a direct connection to the system he could find the memory files that would give him the evidence he needs.
When the MCP argues with Dillinger about how he is running things the MCP reveals that he is about to hack the Pentagon. With that system under the MCP’s control he could run things 900 to 1200 times better than humans. The trio decide to sneak into ENCOM and get direct access. When Flyn sits down to access the system the MCP uses the laser that Lora and Gibbs where working on to digitize Flynn and bring him into the system so that the MCP can kill him.
In the system Flynn is taken by MCP’s guards. Sark is informed on Flynn’s arrival, including the fact that Flynn is an all powerful user. Although nervous about the situation, Sark accepts his orders to kill Flynn in the games. In the holding cells Flynn meets Ram and Tron. Flynn’s first game is against Crom. When Sark demands that Flynn finish Crom off Flynn refuses and de-rez’s Crom anyway. On the lightcycle board Flynn meets up with Tron and Ram again and together they decide to go after the MCP. The three of them battle their way off the board and escape the games.
The MCP’s recognizers and game tank programs give chase. After finally losing them, they deactivate their light-cycles. Tron explains that they need to contact Alan to take down the MCP. To do so they have to make their way to an input/output tower. With Sark’s game tanks on them Tron is separated from Flynn and Ram. Flynn pulls an injured Ram out of harm’s way into a broken down recognizer. Using his newly found powers as a User, Flynn reconstructs the broken recognizer. As Ram de-rez’s he asks Flynn if he is a User and tells Flynn to help Tron.
Tron makes it to the input/output tower and finds Yori who runs the solar sailer hanger. He asks for her help to contact Alan. She takes him to Dumont who is the guardian of the I/O tower. Meanwhile Flynn makes his way to the I/O tower and disguises himself as an MCP loyalist. Dumont allows Tron to communicate with Alan while Sark attempts to break into the guardian’s room to stop Tron. In the I/O tower Alan tells Tron that he is reprogramming Tron’s ID disc so that it can destroy the MCP and change the system. Just before Sark breaks in, Tron is able to escape with Yori leaving the Guardian Dumont behind to be arrested by Sark.
Sevaral soldiers, including a disguised Flynn, chase Tron and Yori to the Solar Sailer. After Tron de-rez’s the soldiers he recognizes Flynn and brings him aboard for a close escape from Sark’s carrier. On board the Solar Sailer, Flynn tells Tron that he is a User and explains that User’s are not much different than programs and not really gods. The MCP tries to stop them and disrupts the Solar Sailer with a power surge, the Recognizer’s catch up to the heroes putting them in danger of being caught. Flynn uses his User powers to create a new junction and escape the Recognizers.
Sadly Sark’s carrier catches up to them and knocks the Solar Sailer off the energy beam. Sark catches Yori and Flynn but Tron had fallen with the Sailer. Sark gloats in front of Flynn and Yori as he takes Dumont to another holding cell aboard the carrier. As the carrier makes its way to the MCP we see that Tron had escaped the Sailer and hung onto the side of the carrier.As Sark takes the other Guardians to the MCP Flynn and Yori escape from the carrier that Sark had rigged to de-rez. Outside the MCP’s hub Tron fights Sark to stop the MCP from absorbing the Guardians to gain complete control of the system.
Tron defeats Sark but the MCP, with no real defenses, gives Sark his power creating a Super Sark. Unable to get his disc into the MCP Tron is stopped by Super Sark. Overhead Flynn flies the, mostly de-rezzed, carrier over the MCP. Flynn decides to make a jump into the MCP’s power beam to give Tron some time. Once inside Flynn infects the MCP giving Tron time to get his ID disc into it, destroying the all powerful program. Flynn is sucked out of the system as Tron and Yori celebrate their victory.
Back in the real world Flynn is reconstructed only moments after he had left. He then recovers the memories he needs to take down Dillinger. After some unknown time Laura and Alan greet Flynn on the helipad as he flies in as the new boss of ENCOM.
In the mid seventies Steven Lisberger and Eric Ladd created Lisberger Studio’s. They worked on a variety of independent cartoons until 1977 when they were nominated in the Student Academy Awards for “Cosmic Cartoon.” Quickly they realized the money and time that went into making cartoons was taxing and they switched over to making commercials in Boston. John Norton and Roger Allers were brought on as animators and created some of the first back lit characters. With the neon colors and animation style produced they made a very electronic looking character and nicknamed him Tron. The first animation was sold originally as a radio spot for WCOZ 94.5.
From there Lisberger felt an entire film could be made using the Tron character. To start animating feature length films Lisberger and Donald Kushner, a lawyer for artists, sold two animated films to NBC called the Animal Olympics which had both season’s summer and winter ready for broadcast during their respective years.
By 1979 Lisberger Studio’s was ready to make a Tron film. However due to budget the studio alone couldn’t fund the film. With the onset of computers Lisberger believed in the idea of imaginary worlds within cyberspace and decided to get artists involved to bring the metaphysical to this brand new world.
With the movie entirely storyboarded out, Lisberger took the project to Disney. Although not really understanding the concept of Tron Disney was looking for something different and brought on the project. A helping factor was also the marketing push that could be made with the onset of the video game boom of the late seventies and early eightiesEarly test footage
The only challenge left was the unexplored world of computer animation. To ease the tension Richard Taylor, Visual Effects Supervisor, gave them a demo reel he had made with computer graphic effects. Disney was convinced the film could work and gave the green light with the idea that shooting would begin in April of 1980.
With the help of Syd Mead, of Blade Runner fame, and Moebius, Lisberger was able to nail down the exact look of the film. With the influence of Moebius the film found its cinematic feel which spilled over to the team re storyboarding the entire film with Moebius over seeing.
Disney, at the time, was not that big of a studio so casting the film was a little bit more of task. Jeff Bridges found the project fascinating and didn’t think twice about playing Flynn.
Having mostly done westerns Bruce Boxleitner read the script for Tron while waiting to shoot a Wyatt Earp TV film. At first he was dismissive but after they brought him into the studio and showed him the concept art Bruce signed on.
Originally Peter 0’Toole was going to play the part of Sark. He had envisioned that the sets where going to be made in the real world but when he discovered that it was going to be made in computers he dropped out giving the role to David Warner.
All the actors had to deal with the uncomfortable suits which at the time no actor was really comfortable with. The men had to wear dance belts underneath the costume making sitting down painful while Cindy Morgan went on a strict workout schedule to fit into the suit to her liking.
To inspire the cast and crew Lisberger filled the set with arcade cabinets. Lisberger’s idea was that the actor’s could look at the moving images of the games and transpose those ideas onto the blank set that they had to work on. Many times they would be called onto set but where busy playing their games including director Lisberger.
Working on the entirely black set all the actors had a very hard time understanding what was going on. The main complaint was they had nothing to act off of.
Knowing how heavily the film would be animated Lisberger had every frame of the film blown up to animate. Instead of animating on the fly, the studio animated Tron like a traditional animated movie.
Very little of the film is actually computer animated. Instead the majority of the film is the back lit technique. Every frame of the film had about five passes to create the overall effect of the Tron world.
With filming finished in July 1981 the team had to put together a show reel for an exhibitors showing in Las Vegas. As an idea of how long it would take to finish the film they put together two minutes of finished film together for the show. What they discovered was that it took more people than they anticipated to create the final effect. Doing the math it would have taken eighty months to finish the film. To cut that time down the film was sent to Cuckoos’s Nest Productions in Taiwan where around 85 people finished the inking and painting. However when the film returned the cells had not dried and the team had to carefully peel all the film apart so that it could be properly photographed.
With several new technologies being used on the set it was important to find ways to meld them together. One way was to paint the backgrounds in such a way to make them look like the CG effects used in the film.
Several companies worked on various parts of the CG elements of the film. Due to the fact that no one had really gone full-fledged CG animation it was spread out so that no one company was overwhelmed withe the work load. Magi-Synthavision, Information International, Robert Able and Assocates, and Digital Effects were the studios hired on Tron. Each had unique capabilities in CG effects and the work was given accordingly.
Even though Tron was not the mega hit that E.T. was that year, Disney was ultimately satisfied on how well the film did at the box office. The Academy Awards did not nominate the film for special effects however because they believed that they cheated by using computers.
Being ahead of its time had its downside however. Most audiences, and the press, didn’t understand what made Tron special at the time which resulted in a sufficient but underwhelming box office take.
Over the years Tron has gained a large following. Both young and older crowds have enjoyed the world and concepts in the film Tron. This film has generated fan films to being a pop culture icon that has been referenced for years.A Fan made modern Trailer
If You Like Tron...
Rorie shares some films you might also enjoy, if you like Tron.
|forum||EiBA: Tron (1982)||IndeedCodyBrown|
|blog||Fictional and dated sports in fillms||GiveUpNed|
|news||TRON 3 In Development?||Rorie|
|blog||Favourite Films of All Time||Ghosthead84|
|news||Sunday School: Defining the '80s Through Film||Alex|
|forum||Tron blu-ray box art revealed.||ThePaleKing|
|blog||Tron: Legacy, Joseph Kosinski dir. (2010)||andthenpatterns|
|blog||Whiskey Media Box Office Battle: TRON||AHR|