IMDb > Silent Running (1972)
Silent Running
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Silent Running (1972) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 4 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Silent Running -- In this sci-fi classic, a botanist (Bruce Dern) who has spent years aboard a space freighter receives orders to destroy his project and return home, but instead rebels and hijacks the vessel
Silent Running -- Trailer for "Silent Running" with commentary from Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead").


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6.7/10   20,394 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Deric Washburn (written by) &
Michael Cimino (written by) ...
View company contact information for Silent Running on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 March 1972 (USA) See more »
Amazing companions on an incredible adventure... that journeys beyond imagination! See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
You Can't Blow Up My Forest See more (199 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bruce Dern ... Freeman Lowell

Cliff Potts ... John Keenan

Ron Rifkin ... Marty Barker

Jesse Vint ... Andy Wolf
Mark Persons ... the Drone
Steven Brown ... the Drone
Cheryl Sparks ... the Drone
Larry Whisenhunt ... the Drone
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Joseph Campanella ... Neal - Berkshire' Captain (voice) (uncredited)
Roy Engel ... Anderson (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Douglas Trumbull 
Writing credits
Deric Washburn (written by) &
Michael Cimino (written by) (as Mike Cimino) and
Steven Bochco (written by) (as Steve Bochco)

Produced by
Michael Gruskoff .... producer
Marty Hornstein .... associate producer (as Martin Hornstein)
Douglas Trumbull .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Peter Schickele 
Cinematography by
Charles F. Wheeler (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Aaron Stell 
Set Decoration by
Frank Lombardo  (as Francisco Lombardo)
Makeup Department
Dick Dawson .... makeup artist
Production Management
Marty Hornstein .... production manager (as Martin Hornstein)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Brad H. Aronson .... assistant director (as Brad Aronson)
Sound Department
Charles T. Knight .... sound (as Charles Knight)
John H. Newman .... sound editor
Richard Portman .... re-recording
Special Effects by
Vernon Archer .... special effects
Jim Dow .... drone units (as James Dow)
R.L. Helmer .... special effects (as R. L. Helmer)
Richard O. Helmer .... special effects
Marlin Jones .... special effects
Paul Kraus .... drone units
James Rugg .... special effects
Don Trumbull .... drone units
Gerald Endler .... mechanical effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Richard Alexander .... special designs
John Baumbach .... special designs
John Dykstra .... special photographic effects
Leland McLemore .... special designs
Gary Richards .... special designs
Robert Shepherd .... special designs (as Bob Shepherd)
William Shourt .... special designs (as Bill Shourt)
Wayne Smith .... special designs
Douglas Trumbull .... special photographic effects
Richard Yuricich .... special photographic effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Harry Sundby .... special lighting effects
Bill Bohny .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jim Hoover .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Dick Johnson .... camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ann Vidor .... wardrobe advisor
Music Department
Peter Schickele .... conductor
Milt Holland .... musician: tympani (uncredited)
Other crew
Joseph Byrd .... special electronic consultant
Winfield Chitister .... technical advisor (as Chief Winfield Chitister BMCM USN Ret.)
Richard Foy .... titles consultant
George McCart .... technical advisor
Tom Piskura .... video consultant
Ray Quiroz .... script supervisor (as Raymond Quiroz)
Beverly Walker .... unit publicist (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
89 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Mono (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)
Australia:PG | Australia:G (original rating) | Canada:PG | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Netherlands:6 | Norway:12 | Singapore:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:U | UK:PG (2014) | USA:G (edited for re-rating) | USA:GP (original rating) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

According to the commentary on the DVD, Douglas Trumbull gave his blessing when George Lucas (who had approached Trumbull about working on "Star Wars") mentioned his desire to create a robot similar to the drones for his film, which became R2-D2. When 20th Century-Fox sued Universal in 1978, claiming "Battlestar Galactica" was a ripoff of "Star Wars", Universal retaliated by contersuing Fox, claiming "Star Wars" was a ripoff of "Silent Running."See more »
Continuity: When Lowell is driving the vehicle into the storage with the camera on the car, a cargo container on the left hand side is seen with the top lid open, but when the camera position changes, that same container is now closed.See more »
Freeman Lowell:Just sit down and shut up! Sit down, sit down, sit down! Shut up and leave me alone, all of you. Let me eat.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010) (VG)See more »
Silent RunningSee more »


Are there people inside the "Drones?"
See more »
112 out of 135 people found the following review useful.
You Can't Blow Up My Forest, 4 May 2006
Author: Etherdave from Edmonton, Alberta

Universal Studios funded several low-budget productions in the early seventies. By far the best to come out of this program was 'Silent Running', an ecologically-minded 'message film' that stands out today as one of the truly great films of the science-fiction genre.

Bruce Dern stars as Freeman Lowell, a futuristic Park Ranger minding Earth's last forests, sealed in gigantic domes aboard an equally gigantic freighter in space. When ordered to destroy the domes and return home, Lowell is forced to choose between his crewmates and his beloved forests.

The motif of a polluted, or simply, homogenized Earth, the ultimate triumph of human progress over nature and wilderness, is a standard theme of science fiction in the 20th century, and the film is not too different from many other films and episodic television programs seen since the postwar period. Rarely, however, has the theme been explored from the point of view of ecological ethics. The storyline is kept deliberately simple, and asks not the question 'How Would You Act In Such A Position', it merely shows how one particular man might. The characters are given seminal, yet subtle opportunities to flesh themselves out (comments made during meals and card games are particularly noteworthy), and even if the character of Lowell is ultimately dislikeable, he remains oddly sympathetic. Dern produces a remarkable performance here, as a tortured, perhaps even mentally-ill, loner. His work here is still fresh and understated and certainly not of the over-the-top calibre, despite the insistances of some.

The film possesses truly amazing visual images, from the spacecraft itself (the decommissioned and soon-to-be-scrapped aircraft carrier Valley Forge) to the domes (an aircraft hanger at Van Nuys Airport) to the unforgettable Drones, uncanny little robots designed around the amputee-actors that give them life. Visual effects are excellent, the direct prototypes of even more fantastical films to come. The music, composed for the film by Peter Schickele (known internationally as P.D.Q. Bach), is by turns boldly triumphant, softly mournful, and is quite effective; some viewers may hate the vocal work of Joan Baez, but she is a logical choice for this production and time period.

While many films have suffered since the release of 'Star Wars'(which is NOT, strictly speaking, science-fiction) due to dated visuals and obsolete effects technology, 'Silent Running' is still startlingly clean and visionary. A worthy film for all science-fiction fans to see.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Silent Running (1972)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I have always loved this film. tomohara15
The Drones brionjames60
This is a bad movie. zee944
I can't believe so many people take this movie so seriously craig-809
How was this rated G? arkmabat
Douglas Trumbull and Industrial Light and Magic 2004RedSox
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