The Formula (1980 film)

1980 film by John G. Avildsen

The Formula is a 1980 film about a detective who uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in World War II to make gasoline from synthetic products, thereby eliminating the necessity for oil—and oil companies. A major oil company finds out about it and tries to destroy the formula and anyone who knows about it.

Directed by John G. Avildsen. Written by Steve Shagan, based on his novel.
In a world starved for energy, no secret is more valuable. taglines

Lt. Barney Caine

  • Let me tell you something. If I didn't have a son that still loved me, I'd blow your fuckin' brains out all over that wall back there... right here, right now. But I'm not in the murder business... and you're not worth one more minute of my time.
  • [to Adam Stieffel] What do you know about this nation? Don't you ever give a second thought to American citizens? You're the reason their money's worthless. You're the reason old people are eating out of garbage cans, and kids get killed in bullshit wars. You're not in the oil business; you're in the oil shortage business! You're an ivory-tower hoodlum-a common street killer. I wish to Christ there was some way I could nail ya'.


Arthur Clements: [proposing that Titan Oil can raise its gasoline prices] The people will accept the 12 cents now because we can blame it on the Arabs!
Adam Steiffel: Ah, Arthur, you're missing the point: We are the Arabs.

Barney Caine: Check the car.
Sgt. Yosuta: Lieutenant Caine, I gotta talk to you. You know, we're supposed to be working this case together, so let's get some ground rules straight-up front. I have a name and I'd like you to use it-understood?
Barney Caine: You're absolutely right. I should have said, "Check the cars, Louis", or, "Would you be good enough to check the cars, Sergeant Yosuta?" but it's Sunday and I'm not with my son and it bothers me, so you'll forgive my sudden lack of charm, okay?
Sgt. Yosuta: Okay.
Barney Caine: Good-now check the fuckin' car.


  • In a world starved for energy, no secret is more valuable.
  • Big Oil. Big Money. Big Mystery. Everyone's out to make a killing.
  • From the best-selling mystery thriller that rips the truth from behind today's headlines
  • What happens when the oil runs out? Two men know. They both want... The Formula.


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