Why Is Formula 51 Called The 51st State?

Formula 51, also known as The 51st State in some countries, is a 2001 British action comedy film directed by Ronny Yu. It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Emily Mortimer, and Meat Loaf. The film got its unusual name “Formula 51” for a couple of different reasons.

Introduction To Formula 51

Formula 51 centers around a chemist named Elmo McElroy (Samuel L. Jackson) who invents a powerful new drug called POS-51 that he believes will take the rave and clubbing scene by storm.
However, various criminals become interested in the drug and McElroy must evade their clutches and try to make a sale himself.
The film co-stars Robert Carlyle as a local gang chief named “The Lizard,” Emily Mortimer as a formidable chemist, and Meat Loaf as an American mobster.
It has an eclectic mix of action, comedy, and crime drama. Jake Abraham, an up-and-coming actor, landed a minor role in the film as one of The Lizard’s henchmen.

Reason 1: Reference To The 50 US States

The most straightforward reason it is called Formula 51 is that it is referred to as the “51st State,” implying it would be a new, fictional addition to the 50 U.S. states. The number 51 is a direct reference to that concept.
While the film takes place primarily in Liverpool, England, the plot revolves around American characters played by Samuel L. Jackson and Meat Loaf trying to sell the drug in England.
So the film plays up the concept of Americans coming to the UK and bringing this powerful new substance with them.
Calling it the 51st state was likely meant to be a clever and metaphorical way of saying the Americans aim to “conquer” England with their drug. The name builds on the theme of culture clash central to the film. If you enjoy high-speed action, be sure to watch Formula 1 racing when it’s on TV.

Reason 2: Reference To Area 51

The number 51 within the name may also be a reference to the famous vicinity 51, the particularly categorized U.S. Air force facility in southern Nevada. area fifty one has lengthy been a source of fascination and conspiracy theories about extraterrestrial life, UFOs, and experimental era as a result of its extreme tiers of secrecy.
The drug POS-51 that grants users enhanced abilities and energy mirrors some of the speculative ideas about the revolutionary technological innovations rumored to be developed at Area 51. So “Formula 51” likely drew inspiration from the infamous, experimental nature of Area 51 to underscore the power and secrecy around the new substance in the film.

Reason 3: The 50 US states + England

Another theory is that the 51 refers to the 50 U.S. states plus the addition of England. Since a core theme of the movie is the cultural differences and clashes between Americans and Brits, the title “Formula 51” helps drive home the concept of bridging the American and British cultures through this highly sought-after new drug.
If the 50 states represent America and the 51 represent England, it highlights how the drug brings these two worlds together, for better or worse. So under this interpretation, the 51 calls out England in particular as becoming integrated with the American culture and ideals through POS-51.

How Did Critics Receive Formula 51?

Formula 51 received mixed but generally unfavorable reviews upon its release in 2001. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 29% critics score and a 51% audience score.
Many critics felt the film had strong production values and acting but an overly convoluted plot that fell flat. Roger Ebert gave it 1.5 out of 4 stars, writing “Formula 51 is entertaining while we’re waiting to see what will happen, but afterward we realize nothing much did.”
Others were put off by the dark subject matter involving drug use and felt it lacked the emotional depth to properly explore those themes. There was also criticism that the cultural clash between England and America became too exaggerated.
However, some praised elements like Samuel L. Jackson’s lead performance and the soundtrack featuring acts like Gorillaz. Overall, while it was not a critical success, Formula 51 has maintained a cult following over the years.

Significance Of The Title Formula 51

While it may seem cryptic at first glance, the title Formula 51 contains important references that tie back to core themes and elements of the film.
The 51 calls out the ideas of the 51st American state expanding into new territory and the experimental, boundary-pushing nature of Area 51. It also bridges the American and British cultures central to the story.
So while not incredibly obvious, the title choice was an intentionally creative way to underscore the cultural commentary and hypothetical scenario at the heart of this unusual hybrid crime/comedy film.
The title succinctly hints at many of the thought-provoking questions and themes viewers can expect to explore by watching Formula 51.

What Year Did Formula 51 Release In Theaters?

Components 51, a British movement-comedy film directed via Ronny Yu and starring Samuel L. Jackson, used to be released in theaters within the uk and Europe in 2001.
The film is known for its blend of action and humor and features Jackson as a kilt-wearing chemist. It later had a limited release in the United States in 2002 under the title The 51st State.

Who Directed Formula 51?

“Formula 51,” a British action-comedy film released in 2001, was directed by Ronny Yu. This film, additionally called “The 51st State” inside the united states, portrays Samuel L. Jackson plays a chemist who becomes entangled in a drug trafficking scheme with strange people.

Ronny Yu’s course introduced a unique mixture of movement and humor to the film, making it a memorable and special addition to the crime-comedy genre.

Most of the events in Formula 51 take place in Liverpool, England.


In conclusion, The film “Formula 51” was titled “The 51st State” for its American release, a play on the notion of annexing a new state to the union. The film’s plot revolves around a drug deal set in motion in the 51st state, which is a reference to the notion of a hypothetical additional state to the existing 50. This clever twist adds a layer of intrigue and humor to the movie’s concept.


Q: Does Samuel L. Jackson Star In The Film?
Ans: Yes, Samuel L. Jackson plays the lead role of chemist Elmo McElroy in Formula 51.

Q: What Genre Is Formula 51?
Ans: Formula 51 crosses genres, belonging in the action, comedy and crime drama genres.


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