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Silent Running (1972)

G | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 10 March 1972 (USA)
3:04 | Featurette

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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.



, (as Mike Cimino) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Cliff Potts ...
Mark Persons ...
Steven Brown ...
Cheryl Sparks ...
Larry Whisenhunt ...
the Drone


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


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


Drama | Sci-Fi


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Running Silent  »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to SciFiMovieZone, scenes in the forest environments were supposed to be shot in the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The movie's production budget forced these scenes to be filmed in an aircraft hangar in Van Nuys, California. See more »


When Huey hands Freeman a small gray book while he is looking in a microscope. Overlooked is that Freeman has moved -- and in a later scene Freeman is in a different chair, reading a different much larger book. See more »


Freeman Lowell: [after jettisoning the last dome with Dewey] You know when I was a kid, I put a note into a bottle and it had my name and address on it. And then I threw the bottle into the ocean. And I never knew if anybody ever found it.
[presses button on nuclear charge, destroying his ship]
See more »


Featured in 'Silent Running': By Director Douglas Trumbull (2002) See more »


Rejoice in the Sun
Lyrics by Diane Lampert
Music by Peter Schickele
Performed by Joan Baez
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User Reviews

Not just special effects, but a poignant question: what would YOU do?
7 February 1999 | by See all my reviews

Recently someone asked me what was the best sci-fi movie I'd ever seen. "Best"? On what basis -- story, acting, special effects? Generally one would usually choose one of the high-tech, high-priced, superstar biggies.

But I had to say "Silent Running." Oh, it has special effects all right, and I think they're good enough for the purpose; I certainly felt the cramped dimness of the station against the vast implacability of space. Maybe you'd say it doesn't have enough action, surprises, or gore. But maybe this story doesn't need them.

Then why is it my nomination? Because when it was over, I had to turn off the TV -- couldn't let its mood and memory be violated by a late-nite commercial -- and just quietly weep for its poignancy. Anything less (or more) would have denied it the respect it deserved.

If you must, watch it as just more fodder for your entertainment urge. But if your soul is deeper than that... if you can, as Bruce Dern does, put yourself in the place of a character who so cares about the earth and its place in the cosmos ... you'll appreciate the eloquent statement of this film and the way it's presented.

A man, not a god. But if it were you, if you were there... would you, COULD YOU do what he did?

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