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Tobor the Great (2008)

Hal Baylor , Karin , Lee Sholem  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hal Baylor, Karin, Peter Brocco, Billy Chapin, Jack Daly
  • Directors: Lee Sholem
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014Y4VQ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,273 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tobor the Great" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TOBOR IS ROBOT SPELLED BACKWARDS! July 12, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
TOBOR is one of the most delightful juvenile sci-fi B-movies of the 1950s, and one of the best movie robots of all time! Although TOBOR was closer related to the tin-can clanking robots in the old Republic movie serials of the 1940s than to more futuristic versions like Robby and R2-D2, he endeared himself to 1954 audiences of kids who loved to see a 7-foot-tall robot as a hero. The archetypal boy-and-his-robot movie, like Robby in The Invisible Boy (1957) this one works as sheer entertainment and no doubt inspired many young boys in the Fifties to grow up to be scientists. Billy Chapin as Gadge heads an all-star cast of sterling character actors during the cold war McCarthy era. Stephen Geray is tops as the villainous spy you love to hate, and was supported by top character heavies Peter Brocco and Henry Kulky. They were nicely counterbalanced with Taylor Holmes as TOBOR's inventor, Professor Nordstrom, and Charles Drake as a pre-NASA-era rocket scientist. Highly recommended! Great fun for all ages! Three cheers for TOBOR THE GREAT!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the best kids robot b-movies. October 15, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
Tobor is Robot spelled backwards. Invented by a scientist (Taylor Holmes) for the space program, Tobor is befriended by the scientist's grandson, played by Billy Chapin (who appeared in the Christmas episode of Dragnet, the one in which someone stole a statue of Jesus from the church, and is the brother of Lauren Chapin, who played Kathy on Father Knows Best). But foreign spies are after Tobor to turn his technology to evil uses.

This is one of the best Robot movies for kids from the 1950s, though not quite as entertaining as the Disney movie The Invisible Boy, which featured Robby The Robot from Forbidden Planet. The name Tobor was used again for a robot in a more recent movie - Sharkboy and Lavagirl.

The cast includes some of the most familiar and prolific B-move character actors including Robert Shayne, who portrayed Inspector Henderson on the Superman TV series; William Schallert, best known as Patty Duke's dad on The Patty Duke Show, with 300 film & TV credits - and still appearing in films today, like Sweetzer (2006); and Lyle Talbot, who appeared in everything from The Clyde Mystery (1931) to Newhart, including Plan Nine From Outer Space, Batman and Robin, and 42nd Street.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Advanced Than Meets the Eye August 22, 2012
***** SPECIAL NOTE FOR TOBOR the Robot FANS *******

Tobor wasn't limited to this movie!

Apparently, years later Guild Films made a TV pilot featuring Tobor (and a kid named Tommy). The series was to be called: "Here Comes Tobor", and the pilot was called: "Tobor and the Atomic Submarine". There are many citations about this TV show on the Internet, even Amazon, so check it out if you are a Tobor fan!


Movie: Tobor the Great Review

When I was 8 years old, I saw "Tobor the Great" at summer camp. To my 8 year old mind in the 1950's, the idea of robots was the most exciting thing I could imagine. So I was thrilled with "Tobor the Great", seeing it as a child did in those days, days in which we had dial telephones, B&W small screen TVs, comic books, and "Leave it to Beaver" attitudes.

Tobor looked magnificent!

It is probably hard for anyone in the 21st Century to look at this film with such eyes, so much has been developed since this movie came out. It is important to remember that the iconic "Robby the Robot" of "Forbidden Planet" would not appear for several years, and when he did, the budget was much higher!

For its time, and especially for its budget and studio, "Tobor the Great" was actually groundbreaking on a number of levels, visual style, and characterization. This is what to look for in the film. When looked at in comparison with other films of the time put out by Republic, it is possible to understand this.

And this is why I recommend this film -- to see a change in approach to sci-fi that had only once before been attempted, in "The Day The Earth Stood Still.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tobor the Great - DVD review June 11, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Purchased through This was a favorite robot movie from the early 1950s. I remember watching this movie on WGN's "Family Classics" with Frazier Thomas back in the 1960s. A little corn, but fun just the same. Very capable cast and the robot is fun to watch (you may have to smile a little, you know . . . come on!) Picture and sound quality are first rate. Hope you will consider adding to your collection. You'll be glad you did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tobor is no Robbie but still saves the day with ESP April 18, 2012
This is a fun little sci-fi movie from 1954. We see all the good guys and the bad guys at the height of the commie scare.

Human kind is planning to go into space. However we do not know what to expect. So an independent scientist and an ex-official of the government space project ban together to find a better way to explore space before sacrificing human life. It looks like there experiment can have nefarious applications if placed in the wrong hands. We know the story as we've seen it played out many times. However this one is well done and allows us to kibitz as the characters actually do not "stay in the car."

Don't look to me to give away the story as it is fun is seeing how it evolves.

An added plus of this film is the 1954 era where we see the technology (especially cars from the inside out) of the time and take a small sojourn to Griffith Observatory better known as Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park - 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA. Unfortunately they only show a small part of the façade had a dark spot on the inside of the Observatory. This would've been a perfect opportunity to show Focault's Pendulum a large pendulum that is free to swing in any direction. As it swings back and forth, the earth rotates beneath it, so its perpendicular plane of swing rotates in relation to the earth's surface. Devised by J.-B.-L. Foucault in 1851, it provided the first laboratory demonstration that the earth spins on its axis. A Foucault pendulum always rotates clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. I was in the observatory in 1954 and was very impressed by this pendulum.

Much of the rest of the film is shown in Iverson Ranch - 1 Iverson Lane, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA, where many of our favorite films were made.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Seeing Ya, Tobor
This B-movie, "Tobor the Great" holds up well after a 60-year wait for this sci-fan buff. After seeing the other sci-fi films with robots, some achieving academy awards and such... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gene Cisco
5.0 out of 5 stars Tobor the Great
Another good addition to my library. It takes me back to the time I first saw this film, almost 60 years ago.
Published 15 months ago by PMJOHN
5.0 out of 5 stars FUN SCIFI
Published 17 months ago by James H. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars GIGANTOR? WELL SORT OF
Could this have been one of the influences that inspired Mitsuteru Yokoyama to create Tetsujin 28 Go, what we affectionately know as Gigantor? Read more
Published on November 22, 2010 by JACK LOBO
4.0 out of 5 stars SyFy winner
If you love robots and sci fi adventure check this out. It gets more interesting as time goes by.
Published on February 5, 2010 by Allartifacts
2.0 out of 5 stars Tobor is R-O-B-O-T spelled backwards
One of the worst sci fi robots of all time, but he makes a great pal for "Gadg", short for Gadget, the knickname of the grandson of Tobor's inventor. Read more
Published on August 18, 2009 by S. M. Przybylinski
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reminder of Saturday afternoons in the sixties
How can you go wrong when you spell robot backwards, chuckle. Definitely one of the Sci-Fi classics of the 50's and 60's that I remember watching on Saturday afternoons on the... Read more
Published on November 19, 2008 by GRK_Astronomer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nostalgic Reminder
I bought this title because I remembered watching it on Chicago's WGN Series "Family Classics". Although the "special effects" are very dated, the story is, surprisingly, as... Read more
Published on September 9, 2008 by W. Kirchmeyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Tobor the Great
Excellent 1950's B&W sci-fi. I haven't seen "TOBOR the GREAT" since I was a child. What a classic!
Published on August 22, 2008 by G.Wells
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a kid's flick
Believe it or not, I saw this film when it was almost new. Yeah, that long ago. But I always remembered it as I thought the "robot spelled backward" thing was clever. Read more
Published on August 20, 2008 by Timothy P. Scanlon
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