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Soylent Green (1973)

PG | | Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 9 May 1973 (USA)
3:27 | Trailer

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In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.


Richard Fleischer


Stanley R. Greenberg (screenplay), Harry Harrison (novel)
3,461 ( 304)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlton Heston ... Detective Thorn
Leigh Taylor-Young ... Shirl
Chuck Connors ... Tab Fielding
Joseph Cotten ... William R. Simonson
Brock Peters ... Chief Hatcher
Paula Kelly ... Martha
Edward G. Robinson ... Sol Roth
Stephen Young ... Gilbert
Mike Henry ... Kulozik
Lincoln Kilpatrick ... The Priest
Roy Jenson ... Donovan
Leonard Stone ... Charles
Whit Bissell ... Gov. Santini
Celia Lovsky ... The Exchange Leader
Dick Van Patten ... Usher #1


In 2022, Earth is overpopulated and totally polluted; the natural resources have been exhausted and the nourishment of the population is provided by Soylent Industries, a company that makes a food consisting of plankton from the oceans. In New York City, when Soylent's member of the board William R. Simonson is murdered apparently by a burglar at the Chelsea Towers West where he lives, efficient Detective Thorn is assigned to investigate the case with his partner Solomon "Sol" Roth. Thorn comes to the fancy apartment and meets Simonson's bodyguard Tab Fielding and the "furniture" (woman that is rented together with the flat) Shirl and the detective concludes that the executive was not victim of burglary but executed. Further, he finds that the Governor Santini and other powerful men want to disrupt and end Thorn's investigation. But Thorn continues his work and discovers a bizarre and disturbing secret of the ingredient used to manufacture Soylent Green. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's the year 2022... People are still the same. They'll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

9 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Make Room! Make Room! See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The fact that this was arguably the final movie that was shot on the near derelict MGM backlots, prior to its demolition, gives this movie an added poignancy. A further poignancy when the audience may remember scenes from other (upbeat) MGM movies and tv series shot on the same streets, in effect, memories of "better times" set in periods before the story universe of the Soylent Green. See more »


Thorn and Roth share a small apartment in a tenement stuffed with people, many of whom live in the hallways and stairwells. When Roth makes the stew, there's no apparent reaction by anyone to the odor of what must have been the first meal cooked inside the building in many years. See more »


[first lines]
Voice over PA: First stage removal. First stage removal. Streets prohibited to non-permits in one hour. Streets prohibited to non-permits in one hour.
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Alternate Versions

Deleted scene: When Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors) goes shopping with Shirl, he is mugged, and wins the fight. This scene was filmed, but deleted. See more »


Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op.74: 'Pathetique': I. Adagio - Allegro non Troppo
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Soylent Green Is...
25 July 2007 | by virek213See all my reviews

The world of the 1973 sci-fi drama SOYLENT GREEN is what we could be seeing if we aren't careful. It is a world in which New York City's population has topped the 40 million mark in the year 2022. Overpopulation, air pollution, year-long heat waves, and food shortages are the rule. The only hope comes from a food product called Soylent Green. But what is this particular food stuff really made of? That question is at the heart of this admittedly somewhat dated but still intriguing film, based on Harry Harrison's 1966 novel "Make Room! Make Room!" Charlton Heston stars as Thorne, an NYPD detective who comes across the murder of a top corporate executive (Joseph Cotten). As it turns out, Cotten was on the board of directors of the Soylent Corporation, the people responsible for all those food stuffs that the people have to consume in lieu of the real thing. Heston believes that this wasn't just a garden-variety murder, that Cotten was bumped off for a reason. He gets a lot of help from his slightly cantankerous but very astute "book" (Edward G. Robinson, in his 101st and final cinematic appearance), and a few timely reminders of what the world used to be like. What Robinson finds out about Soylent Green shocks him beyond all imagination; but before he can tell Heston all of what he knows, he has himself euthanized. And when Heston does indeed find out the secret of Soylent Green...well, that part has become immortalized into cinematic history.

Under the very professional guiding hand of director Richard Fleischer (THE BOSTON STRANGLER; FANTASTIC VOYAGE), SOYLENT GREEN is a fairly grim but thought-provoking look at a Dystopian future that humanity might be living if we don't curb our tendency to strip our planet of its natural resources. Indeed, this was a project that Heston himself had had in mind for filming as far back as 1968, after he had struck gold in the sci-fi genre with PLANET OF THE APES--a fact that probably gets lost whenever his ultra-conservative political philosophy comes up in conversation (after all, SOYLENT GREEN is hardly a tract for unrestrained capitalism). Robinson, as always, is the consummate professional in his last role; the sequence where he is euthanized (as he looks at video of the world from a better era, set to the music of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Grieg) is quite simply heartbreaking. The film also benefits from solid supporting help from Chuck Connors (as a very convincing heavy), Brock Peters (as Heston's superior), and Leigh Taylor-Young as the woman who tries to help Heston in his inquiries.

It must seem easy these days to dismiss SOYLENT GREEN for being dated. But those who do it ought to think twice; for this film's world may end up becoming ours in actuality if we don't watch what we do with what we have today.

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