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.


Douglas Trumbull


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





Complete credited cast:
Bruce Dern ... Freeman Lowell
Cliff Potts ... John Keenan
Ron Rifkin ... Marty Barker
Jesse Vint ... Andy Wolf
Mark Persons Mark Persons ... the Drone
Steven Brown Steven Brown ... the Drone
Cheryl Sparks Cheryl Sparks ... the Drone
Larry Whisenhunt 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


Earth's last battle will be fought in space. See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Bruce Dern plays a botanist in this film. His daughter Laura Dern plays a paleo-botanist in Jurassic Park. See more »


During the space walk when Huey and Dewey show Louie's foot to Freeman, Freeman is wearing a blue space suit that looks like an ocean diver's dry suit, with a thin helmet. The suit does not look overly tight, nor is it inflated, it merely fits snugly without being skin tight. However, in space, he would need an atmosphere inside the suit, meaning it would have to be inflated, and the vacuum of space would explode that foam suit in an instant. See more »


Freeman Lowell: On Earth, everywhere you go, the temperature is 75 degrees. Everything is the same; all the people are exactly the same. Now what kind of life is that?
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Alternate Versions

In the Italian version, the three drones are named after "Paperino", "Paperone" and "Paperina" ("Donald Duck", "Uncle Scrooge" and "Daisy Duck") because calling them "Qui", "Quo" and "Qua" ("Huey", "Dewey", "Louie") would have been cacophonous: "Vieni qui, Qui!" ("Come here, Huey!"). See more »


Referenced in Moon (2009) See more »


Silent Running
Lyrics by Diane Lampert
Music by Peter Schickele
Performed by Joan Baez
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User Reviews

Space-opera ecology story well performed by Bruce Dern and glamorously directed by Douglas Trumbull
7 July 2008 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is a fictional tale with worthwhile message about a botanist named Lowel(Bruce Dern) and his fighting into futuristic space station to keep a giant greenhouse. The large aircraft contains the last surviving forests and remnants of Earth. He receives the order from Earth to destroy the vegetation, then he efforts to preserve those plants and trees . Lowel confront against the remainder crew(Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint and Cliff Potts). He's only accompanied by three robots drones which help him to preserve the greenhouses.

This thoughtful movie packs ecological message, passionate natural conscience, glittering images and is quite entertaining. Outstanding acting by Bruce Dern as the nature-loving and rare member of the Valley Forge space station. Glimmer and colorful cinematography by Charles Wheeler. Sensitive and emotive songs by Joan Baez . Interesting screenplay by Steven Bochco and Michael Cimino. Marked directorial debut of FX whizz Douglas Trumbull who he also lavishly produced along with Michael Gruskoff. Douglas is a legendary visual effects pioneer along with John Dykstra and Richard Yuricich. He achieved several Academy Award nominations and won Award for his extraordinary contribution in this field. Trumbull is currently involved in the evolution of FX utilizing electronic cinematography and digital sets. He was the main crew of the special photographic effects for '2001, Space Odyssey' and supervisor for 'Close encounters in third phase, Andromeda strain and Blade Runner' and director of 'Brainstorm'. The motion picture will like to Sci-Fi buffs and people looking for message about back to nature movement of the 1960s. Rating : Above average, well worth watching.

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Release Date:

10 March 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Running Silent See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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