Cult Movie Essentials

Cult Movie Essentials: Voyage to the End of the Universe (1963)

Jindřich Polák’s Czechoslovakian highbrow masterpiece Voyage to the End of the Universe (aka Ikarie XB-1) set a high bar upon its release in 1963 and went on to become a distinct influence in the science fiction movie genre from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, through to films like Alien.

Set in the year is 2163. Starship Ikaria XB 1 embarks on a long journey across the Universe, to search for life on the planets of Alpha Centauri. The crew (including Zdenek Stepánek, Frantisek Smolík, Dana Medrická) battle a destructive dark star and their own mental health through their journey. Zdeněk Liška soundtracks the film in way that draws you in on the journey with them.

Obviously a lot of this gets cut and changed in the American Voyage to the End of the Universe version, with American International Pictures changing a number of things:

  • Approximately 26 minutes of footage were removed (including a sequence in a man-made flying saucer carrying dead capitalists, nerve gas and an atomic bomb).
  • The story was changed substantially, the ship’s flight direction reversed (making it an alien ship traveling to Earth), and the Statue of Liberty pasted into the final shot.
  • The cast and staff’s names in the credits were altered significantly to look like English.


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