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So I remember seeing this movie, or maybe an Outer Limits type of show's episode of a family living on Mars or an alien planet, and the colony somehow failed so people are leaving in spaceships.

But this last family lived far away in a farm and missed the last spaceship, so they are left behind. Slowly they all die by heart attacks, etc. But the remaining family members always replace the person who passed away with a robot that looked like the deceased.

It ended with the family looking at five or so tombstones- they all died and the family was now made up by robots only. I remember seeing this around 25 years ago. Not sure if it was in colour or not.

Been tying to find out what this movie was for a decade now. Maybe someone can help me here! Cheers!

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  • 25 years go was 1995. I hope it was in color! :P Though, yeah could have been an old 60s episode of outer limits.I did a quick "mars" search on the list of episodes for both versions of OL via wikipedia and what you describe does not appear. – Casey Feb 16 at 23:17
  • Was this it? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_Mars_Invaded_Earth – Casey Feb 16 at 23:24
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    That vaguely resembled the episode "The Martians" from The Martian Chrnicles Miniseries (29 January 1980) – David Tonhofer Feb 16 at 23:35
  • Oh I checked it, I don't think it was this one. Tho some of the concepts are eerily similar. I also remember a scene where the father gets a heart attack and falls down the stairs. And the robot replacement thing was done without bad intent- to replace loved ones. – Martin Feb 16 at 23:37
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    The Hathaways give Wilder and Father Stone a toast, at which point Peter Hathaway's heart fails. As he dies, he begs Wilder not to call his family because they "would not understand." Wilder then confirms that Alice and Margarite were made by Peter Hathaway. The robot family continues on with its meaningless daily life, alone. Ben Driscoll lands shortly after the rocket has departed. The Hathaway robots appear relieved when Driscoll decides to stay with them. – David Tonhofer Feb 16 at 23:40
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The story you described matches “The Long Years” a story featured in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.

Williamson said, “I went to the graveyard.” -“The four crosses were there?” (Wilder) -“ The four crosses were there, sir. The names were still on them. I wrote them down to be sure.” He read from a white paper: “Alice, Marguerite, Susan, and John Hathaway. Died of unknown virus. July 2007.

Hathaway drank down his wine. He did not cry as he fell forward onto the table and slipped to the ground... “Say good-by to Alice and the children for me.” (Hathaway) -“Just a moment, I’ll call them”. (Wilder) -“No, no, don’t!” gasped Hathaway. “They wouldn’t understand. I wouldn’t want them to understand!”

Some quick research reveals that there is indeed a film adaptation of this story, Episode 3 of “The Martian Chronicles miniseries”: The Martians.

Here's a synopsis from musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog:

More successful is the adaptation of “The Long Years”, which sees Barry Morse (“Space: 1999”) as a lonely tinkerer named Hathaway who uses lasers from his home observatory on Mars to signal passing spacecraft. Hathaway succeeds in gaining the attention of Wilder (who was in the short story as well), along with Roddy McDowell’s Father Stone (who was not). Hathaway has been living with his wife Alice (Nyree Dawn Porter) and 14 year old daughter Marguerite (Madalyn Aslan), who was named after Ray Bradbury’s own beloved wife. Wilder and Father Stone greet Hathaway, who is tremendously excited to see another human being…not quite the reaction one would expect from a man who already has a family for companionship. Hathaway’s excitement turns lethal, as he suffers a heart attack before collapsing dead to the floor of his home. Alice and Marguerite stare blankly at his corpse, unable to cry, since they are androids, built by Hathaway after the real Alice and Marguerite passed away, some years earlier. The truth of Hathaway’s existence deeply saddens Wilder. He and Father Stone decide to leave the two androids ‘on’ in their preprogrammed blissful state, after burying Hathaway near his real family. A coda to the story sees a still-wandering Ben Driscoll walking up to the Hathaway home, introducing himself to the two smiling androids…

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