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Director  Allan Arkush
Writer  John Hill
Budget  10 million USD
Country  United States
4.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Sci-Fi, Comedy
Initial DVD release  September 13, 2005
Language  English
Heartbeeps movie poster

Release date  December 18, 1981 (1981-12-18)
Cast  Andy Kaufman (Val), Bernadette Peters (Aqua), Randy Quaid (Charlie), Kenneth McMillan (Max), Melanie Mayron (Susan), Christopher Guest (Calvin)
Similar movies  Mad Max: Fury Road, Ex Machina, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Blackhat, Automata, Salt
Tagline  Meet a modern nuclear family unlike any other.

Heartbeeps is a 1981 romantic science fiction comedy film about two robots who fall in love and decide to strike out on their own. It was directed by Allan Arkush, and starred Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as the robots. This was Kaufman's final performance in a theatrical film.


Heartbeeps movie scenes

Stan Winston's make-up work for Heartbeeps made him one of the nominees for the inaugural Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1982, losing to An American Werewolf in London.

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Heartbeeps clip


Heartbeeps Amazoncom Heartbeeps Andy Kaufman Bernadette Peters Randy Quaid

Val Com 17485 (Andy Kaufman), a robot designed to be a valet with a specialty in lumber commodities, meets Aqua Com 89045 (Bernadette Peters), a hostess companion robot whose primary function is to assist at poolside parties. At a factory awaiting repairs, they fall in love and decide to escape, stealing a van from the company to do so.

Heartbeeps Heartbeeps Alchetron The Free Social Encyclopedia

They embark on a quest to find a place to live, as well as satisfy their more immediate need for a fresh electrical supply. They assemble a small robot, Phil, built out of spare parts, whom they treat as their child, and are joined by Catskill, a mechanical standup comic (which is seen sitting the entire film).

Heartbeeps Andy Kaufman Bernadette Peters in Heartbeeps

A malfunctioning law-enforcement robot, the Crimebuster, overhears the orders of the repair workers to get the robots back and goes after the fugitives. With the help of humans who run a junkyard, and using Catskill's battery pack, the robots are able to save Phil before running out of power and being returned to the factory. Brought back to the factory the robots are repeatedly repaired and their memories cleared. Because they continue to malfunction they are junked. They are found by the humans who run the junk yard and reassembled. In the junkyard they live happily and build a robot daughter. The film ends with Crimebuster, after only pretending to have his mind erased, continuing to malfunction, going on another mission to recover the fugitive robots.


Heartbeeps Heartbeeps BMovie Review

  • Andy Kaufman – ValCom-17485
  • Bernadette Peters – AquaCom-89045
  • Randy Quaid – Charlie
  • Kenneth McMillan – Max
  • Christopher Guest – Calvin
  • Melanie Mayron – Susan
  • Richard B. Shull – Factory Boss
  • Dick Miller – Factory Watchman
  • Kathleen Freeman – Helicopter Pilot
  • Jack Carter (voice) – Catskill-55602
  • Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead (voice) – Phil
  • Ron Gans (voice) – Crimebuster
  • Mary Woronov – Party House Owner
  • Paul Bartel – Party Guest
  • Wally Ann Wharton – Party Guest (as Anne Wharton)
  • Barry Diamond – Firing Range Technician and Catskil Performer
  • Stephanie Faulkner – Firing Range Technician
  • Jeffrey Kramer – Party Butler Robot
  • David LeBell – Robot Forklift Driver
  • Production

    Heartbeeps SciFi Movie Poster of the Day Heartbeeps Moviefone

    Sigourney Weaver was offered a role and was interested in the film, as she wanted to work with Andy Kaufman, but Weaver's agent persuaded her to turn down the film.

    Because of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild, filming was shut down in July 1980 (along with numerous other motion picture and television series). The strike ended at the beginning of October 1980 (filming had started in June). The film was aimed at children and was a failed experiment: Universal Pictures gave Andy Kaufman a blank check to make this film after focus group testing indicated that children liked robots, apparently in the wake of R2-D2 and C-3PO.

    In his book Andy Kaufman: Revealed, Bob Zmuda wrote that Kaufman and Zmuda had "pitched" the screenplay of Kaufman's The Tony Clifton Story, a movie about the life and times of his alter-ego Tony Clifton to Universal Studios. The Universal executives were concerned that Kaufman had not acted in films, except for a small role, and arranged for him to star in Heartbeeps to test whether he could carry a movie. Because the movie was "a box office disaster", plans for making the Clifton movie were cancelled.

    John Hill adapted the screenplay into a novel, Heartbeeps, published in December 1981.


    Reviews of the film were negative. Film website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 0%.

    Vincent Canby wrote, in a negative review in The New York Times, that it was "unbearable" and a "dreadfully coy story." Gary Arnold from the Washington Post noted how the film's stars Kaufman and Peters were "unlikely to face serious career setbacks from a minor fiasco only a handful of people will ever see," adding that he faulted the film for having "so little inherent momentum that it seems to need rewinding every few minutes."

    Kaufman felt that the movie was so bad that he personally apologized for it on Late Night with David Letterman, and as a joke promised to refund the money of everyone who paid to see it. Letterman's response was that if Kaufman wanted to issue such a refund, he'd "better have change for a 20 (dollar bill)."


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