Beautiful models are murdered after undergoing mysteriously precise cosmetic surgery. A woman uncovers a plot to replace real people with computer generated images in this action thriller.

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsThis movie came about at an odd time in my life. I had worked for a long time on a book and movie called Congo. And after it was all done, and we’d started production, we discovered that it was impossible to get gorillas, because gorillas were an endangered species. So I wanted to do something very, very different, and instead of something like Congo which was really a fantasy, 19th century fantasy at that, I wanted to do something that was much more 20th century.

And the elements that went into Looker really were concerns about this incredible focus on beauty, this idea of perfection. The extent to which we’re all directed by, driven by, advertising and the notion that this emphasis on advertising becomes more extreme as the competition among advertisers increases, that there’s going to be an increasing kind of artifice that appears not only in the ads, but appears in ordinary life as well.

Michael Crichton Signature

From the Official Archives

Advertising Age

In 1981, Advertising Age profiled Michael Crichton and his movie Looker which is set in the world of advertising  Here is an excerpt from “Crichton: A Futuristic View of Ads” by John Revett.

“Let’s just say Michael Crichton has a feeling that some sort of subliminal or high-tech generated advertising is bound to turn up on the tube on of these days. He calls it “below the belt” advertising.

It probably won’t be as blatant as mind control through computerized TV commercials, the theme of his upcoming movie, Looker; it is likelier to be a more subtle intrusion, with more market share at stake.

Mr. Crichton didn’t see it that way when he started the screenplay, in the mid-1970’s.

“From the beginning, I tried to write what I thought was a ridiculous story where people were enticed by computer-animated images.” said the author/movie maker. “It was meant to be a comedy originally. Then when we went around to animation houses asking for bids, this odd thing happened, which was that nobody we talked to said, ‘what a bizarre idea’ or ‘how silly.’ Finally we had a guy who said, ‘Well, of course you know everyone’s doing this work … this is the hot new field,'”

Learn more about Looker in our VISIONARY section.

Looker - Advertising Age - 1981

Michael Crichton in Advertising Age
“Crichton: A Futuristic View of Ads” by John Revett
October 5, 1981

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsIn Looker, I present the idea of below-the-belt advertising for commercial or even political purposes. Do we agree with that? Do we think it is a good idea? Is it happening? Yes. Computer-animated images are the hot new field right now. And it is not so far-fetched to imagine that sophisticated, clever subliminal manipulation through computerized televised images might be used in the future for political purposes.

Photos from the set of Looker

Looker Photo Credits:  Warner Bros.

Michael Crichton on the set of Looker

MIchael Crichton, Albert Finney, Susan Dey on the set of Looker

Michael Crichton and Albert Finney on the set of Looker

Michael Crichton and Albert Finney on the set of Looker

Michael Crichton and James Coburn on the set of Looker

Michael Crichton and the cast of Looker



Release Date: October 30, 1981
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Michael Crichton
Screenwriter: Michael Crichton
Studio: Warner Bros.
Starring: Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey, Leigh-Taylor Young, Dorian Harewood

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsLooker is a totally visual story. It has amazingly little dialogue in it. It’s just picture, picture, picture, and you make the connections on the basis of what you see.