I'm trying to find an obscure 1960's or 1970's movie I once saw on tv. It's about a society where bodily pleasures are encouraged, and pain & discomfort hidden with a "Soma" pill, they even taught this lifestyle to their children.

In one part, a group took a day excursion out of the protected city into the "wilderness," there was an accident and they stayed too long. They became "contaminated" and needed to be reintroduced to their protected city and way of life.

This MAY have included a time traveler who was appalled at their life style. I remember they frequently, and casually asked: "Who are you engaging tonight?" and referred to a chill pill as "Soma." They tried to avoid all pain and discomfort with this "Soma" pill.

I've searched several Time Travel, and Futuristic Sociey movies sites, but have not found it. Does anyone else remember this lost movie, or have a clue about where I might find it?

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    You say "Soma pill" and I hear Brave new world but I'm not aware of a 60s-70s adaptation. Homage maybe? – Jenayah Oct 15 at 18:46
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    Your memory that "this may have included a time traveller" is probably a memory of The Savage. He was raised on the Reservation and was unfamiliar with, and appalled by, modern society. He frequently resorted to Shakespeare. – Ross Presser Oct 16 at 18:59
  • What a nice coincidence I just started reading that book two days ago – rath Oct 17 at 9:33
up vote 14 down vote accepted

The use of "Soma" as a "chill pill" is distinctive to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

The inclusion of a time traveler, however, sounds much more like Woody Allen's Sleeper -- in which a man is accidentally put into suspended animation during a dental visit, and wakes up in a dystopian world in which sex is open and free, everyone is wealthy, and a glowing ball provides a drug-like effect that calms -- but the facade hides a dictatorship led by the "Beloved Leader." The odd thing, here, is that Sleeper is a comedy...

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    Sleeper came out in 1973, and had some significant nods to Brave New World. – Zeiss Ikon Oct 15 at 18:52
  • THANK YOU Jenayah and Fuzzy Boots. The movie I was describing was indeed Brave New World 1980. You both made that look simple. Again, Thank you. – Joseph Fleming Oct 15 at 20:08
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    @JosephFleming you should tick the grey check mark below one of their answers to indicate that it answered your question – Tim Oct 15 at 22:44
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    @JosephFleming Based on your comment, are you sure you've accepted the answer you intended to? If the movie was the 1980 version of Brave New World, you should have accepted the other answer (from PlutoThePlanet). – Zeiss Ikon Oct 17 at 11:20

The story is definitely taken straight from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Similarities:

  • A "chill pill" called soma
  • A society with a completely relaxed and open attitude toward sex and intimacy (in the book people refer to it as "enjoying" someone, as in "Have you enjoyed so-and-so lately?")
  • A method of teaching this behavior to children; the beginning of the book is devoted almost entirely to their child-procurement and -teaching process
  • A journey into the wilds outside the utopian city
  • A man from long before that society is appalled at their lifestyle (he was actually born and raised outside the city, but is not a time-traveller)

However, the earliest film adaptation was made in 1980, which is slightly later than your stated timeline. Since the subtitles of the 1980 version match what you remember about their use of the word "engaging" instead of "enjoying," I suspect this is the version you saw. (Credit to FuzzyBoots for the find!)

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    The subtitles show that they use that phrase, "Who are you engaging tonight?" (yousubtitles.com/Brave-New-World-1980-id-2105548) – FuzzyBoots Oct 15 at 19:11
  • I'm not saying OP is wrong, I'm just providing more detail about the similarity. – PlutoThePlanet Oct 15 at 19:14
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    :) I just figured it was one more detail you could add to your answer. The site I linked has the subtitles as a transcript, so you can find that phrase in there and say "The 1980s version includes that phrase..." – FuzzyBoots Oct 15 at 19:18
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    Technically, 1980 is the last year of the eighth decade of the twentieth century (that is, 1971-1980, what might be labeled “the 1970s”), rather than the first year of the ninth decade. See also 2001 as the start of the new millennium rather than 2000. So this does kinda-sorta fit in the stated timeline! ;) – KRyan Oct 16 at 15:33
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    Another very distinctive feature for either the op or others that will have the same question: everyone was wearing a coloured overall with their "level" from A+ down to E denoting their (genetically engineered) intelligence and social status. Some were not to dumb and not too smart.. – PlasmaHH Oct 17 at 6:30

I suspect that you’re slightly out on the timing, and it was the 1980 TV movie adaptation of Brave New World. I’ve not seen that movie, but all the elements you mention are in the plot of the book (your “time traveller” was actually raised on a “Savage Reservation” separated from the rest of society).

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