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Silent Running (1972)

GP | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 10 March 1972 (USA)
In a future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth's botany, kept in a greenhouse aboard a spacecraft.

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, (as Mike Cimino) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
John Keenan
...
Marty Barker
...
Andy Wolf
Mark Persons ...
the Drone
Steven Brown ...
the Drone
Cheryl Sparks ...
the Drone
Larry Whisenhunt ...
the Drone
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Storyline

In a future Earth barren of all flora and fauna, the planet's ecosystems exist only in large pods attached to spacecraft. When word comes in that the pods are to be jettisoned into space and destroyed, most of the crew of the Valley Forge rejoice at the prospect of going home. Not so for botanist Freeman Lowell, who loves the forest and its creatures. He kills his colleagues taking the ship deep into space. Alone on the craft with his only companions being three small robots, Lowell revels in joys of nature. When colleagues appear to "rescue" him, he realizes he has only one option available to him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Amazing companions on an incredible adventure... that journeys beyond imagination! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Running Silent  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the success of Easy Rider (1969), Universal Studios hit upon the idea to let young filmmakers make "semi-independent" films for low budgets in hopes of generating similar profits. The idea was to make five movies for low budgets (one million dollars or less), not interfere in the filmmaking process, and give the directors final cut. The movies were: this movie, The Hired Hand (1971), The Last Movie (1971), Taking Off (1971) and American Graffiti (1973) See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie it's established that the galley is on the starboard side of the ship; the final shot of the vessel shows the lighted galley window on the port side. See more »

Quotes

Freeman Lowell: [after Huey and Dewey botch a simple planting of a tree in the dome] Well, that's pitiful. Pitiful! That's exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to be.
Drone 1: [Squeaks with indignity]
See more »

Connections

References Donald's Nephews (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Rejoice in the Sun
Lyrics by Diane Lampert
Music by Peter Schickele
Performed by Joan Baez
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An amazing, wonderful film
7 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember first seeing this film on television I think in 1973 and being mesmerized by it. Even though I found the the premise to be absurd (more on that below), the story and movie triumphs regardless. This is flim making at its most brilliant. With the exception of Terrence Malick's "Badlands," I cannot think of a finer directorial debut. It is one of the tragedies of contemporary cinema, that Douglas Trumbull could not find any work as a director for years afterwards. What a loss! The studio completely blew it.

The movie. Yes, the premise is incoherent and it has to be dealt with. Sometime in the early years of the next century what is left of America's forests are gathered up and put on space freighters and shipped to . . . Saturn. Why is most unclear. Putting the forest domes in orbit around earth would have made perfect sense. Moreover, the film goes to great lengths to show that the robots are fully capable of tending to them alone so the whole bit about the unhappy human crew is unnecessary. But off to Saturn we go (where the light for the plants -- surprise -- is really bad).

I understand that Trumbull was thinking of an alien contact story initially -- I am certain to be going out on a limb on this one -- which seemed to bear some resemblence to the Poul Anderson novella "Southern Cross." The aliens were soon dumped, however. What remained turned out to be an utterly compelling psychological drama of a man alone in space that is unlike any SF movie I have seen (it does bear some similarity to a few Twilight Zone episodes, however).

This is an astonishing technical achievement in movie making. Everything about this film works: music, effects, photography, sets, acting, editing, direction, you name it. Folks, this was done for all of one million dollars and is a hundred times more compelling than films that cost a hundred times as much. This is art. This is literature. Get the DVD. Just sit down an watch it. This is a lovely, timeless, piece of work.

Then weep because they don't make 'em like this anymore. .


67 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This is a bad movie. zee944
I can't believe so many people take this movie so seriously craig-809
Avatar or Silent Running? fortean2
I have always loved this film. tomohara15
I didn't see our lead as the hero fontroy5
Off the Wall Question JimSpy
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