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1966 Science Fiction Film (starring Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasence) about a shrinking machine used to send a minisubmarine and its crew inside the body of a defecting scientist. During the Cold War, both the United States and "The Other Side" have discovered the shrinking technology, with a time limit that turned it into a curiosity. But the scientist Jan Benes had discovered how to overcome the limit, and enemy agents will stop at nothing to prevent the secret from escaping from behind the Iron Curtain. Benes, wounded in an attack, is comatose and dying from a externally inoperable bloodclot, so the U.S. miniaturization taskforce organizes an expedition to be shrunken to remove the clot from the inside, operating on it at the cellular level.

But for the same reason they need to save the scientist, they have a time limit to get out of the body (or they'll grow back to normal size while inside of it). Even further, an enemy agent is trying to stop them; the protagonist Charles Grant, who smuggled the scientist from behind the Iron Curtain, has to make sure the mission succeeds while not knowing who he can trust on the crew.

The film also received a novelization by Isaac Asimov, as well as an Animated Adaptation. Very often homaged or parodied -- see Fantastic Voyage Plot.

Tropes used in Fantastic Voyage (film) include:


  • Adaptation Expansion: The novel, big time. Besides correcting countless scientific errors, Asimov added several elements to the book that were absent in the movie. Here, Grant is a bit of a detective, essentially figuring out who The Mole is before he reveals himself. Michaels is less of a traitor, and more of an obsessed pacifist - he believes (not entirely unreasonably) that both sides are currently in balance with regard to miniaturization (*cough* mutually assured destruction *cough*), and either side having the advantage of unlimited shrinking could pressure the other side into shooting first before the new development can be used against them.
  • Art Major Biology: The blood cells don't look anything like they should (they should look like tires), being essentially a closeup of a lava lamp. The heart has too many crossed fibers to efficiently pump blood (to make it look hard to find their way through the heart), etc.
  • Bald of Evil: Michaels
  • Bigger on the Inside: Played With - The Proteus was built as a single set, with removable exterior panels to allow filming. However, some have argued that the remaining volume is insufficient for the air tanks, engines, etc.
  • The Big Board: A vertical diagram of the scientist's body, where the location of the Proteus is marked.
  • Blob Monster: The White Cells
  • Communications Officer: Grant's cover
  • Cool Ship: The Proteus
  • Defector From Commie Land: Benes, who holds the secret to unlimited miniaturization.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: CMDF HQ
  • Enforced Method Acting: Donald Pleasance really was screaming as he was devoured by the white cell, the goo that they poured over his face stung his eyes painfully
  • Fan Service: Raquel Welch is in the movie, and was 26 at the time. 'Nuff said.
  • Fantastic Voyage Plot: The Trope Namer
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The surgical laser, it has a constant beam and slices cleanly through what it's aimed at - but would a doctor really be using a -rifle- for brain surgery?
  • Future Spandex : Under the neat white jumpsuits. Justified, both for the Fanservice, and because they're diving suits.
    • Fridge Brilliance: The spandex helps prevent dust and fibers from coming off their bodies when they swim in the bloodstream, which could be a problem when they re-enlarge.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Combined Miniature Deterrant Forces (CMDF).
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed For Your Protection: The Soviet Union and its allies are only referred to as "The Other Side".
  • Mega Microbes: Inverted - Tiny Humans, normally sized Microbes...
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: The movie is a 1 or 2. The novel is at least a 4, more like a 4.5 (with miniaturization instead of FTL).
  • Novelization First: Isaac Asimov was hired to write the novelization of the film; notoriously, the book came out early enough that the movie was frequently mistaken as an adaptation. Asimov also corrected several plot holes that remained in the film, and expanded some story elements, making it look even more like the book came first.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Who's the enemy agent on the crew that's responsible for the series of disasters threatening the mission. Why, it's Dr. Michaels, the sweaty scientist played by Donald Pleasence!
  • The Radio Dies First: Technically, the laser dies first -- the wireless is cannibalized to fix it.
  • Scenery Porn: The body interior sets, built full scale.
  • Seeker White Blood Cells: White blood cells are mentioned but not seen until the near end, antibodies make a earlier appearance.
  • Science Marches On: While accurate on a basic level, our knowledge of the immune system has improved beyond strangler antibodies and all devouring white cells
  • To the Batpole!: The Elevator to CMDF HQ
  • War Room: The CMDF Operating Theater
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A number of elements that should be problematic are ignored The wreckage of the Proteus, and Dr. Michaels' body, after being eaten by the white blood cell -- somehow that keeps them from re-enlarging once time runs out. This is one of the most memorable plot holes of the film, and Asimov made sure to close it in his novelization. Massively averted by the novelization, which accurately depicts, as well as we know, what it would be like if humans could in fact be miniaturized to this degree. Even Brownian Motion (random molecular motion of a fluid or gas) is noticed and commented on. Most of the flaws of the movie are explained or elaborated on so as to be acceptable to reality, making the book as much a corrective Retcon as a novelization.
  • Zeerust : Varies - Being set Twenty Minutes Into the Future in 1960's, some elements, like the Laser Rifle don't hold up well, while the Proteus itself varies from a sleek futuristic but practical exterior, to an interior that could be considered Used Future. What dates the film most of all are the 60's contemporary elements, such as computers, cars and uniforms.
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