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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.



(screenplay), (novel)
3,759 ( 475)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Detective Thorn
... Shirl
... Tab Fielding
... William R. Simonson
... Chief Hatcher
... Martha
... Sol Roth
... Gilbert
... Kulozik
... The Priest
... Donovan
... Charles
... Gov. Santini
... The Exchange Leader
... 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


People need it...in the year 2022. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 May 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Make Room! Make Room!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Detective Thorn's words, near the end, "Ocean's dying, plankton's dying..." turned out to be frighteningly correct and, in 1973, prophetic. It's now commonly accepted that civilized humans have reduced the mass of fish in Earth's ocean by some 90%, and a 2010 study reported that phytoplankton - one of our planet's two lungs - "has declined more than 40 percent since 1950 and the rate of decline is increasing." See more »


At the apparent age of 50, Thorn should be more than old enough to be able to remember the old, fertile world. 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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Referenced in Brad Tries...: Brad Tries Soylent Green (2013) See more »


Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op.68: 'Pastoral': I. Allegro ma non Troppo
Ludwig van Beethoven
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A cop investigates a strange murder in an overcrowded New York City and discovers terrible consequences
23 April 2012 | by See all my reviews

This is a superb sci-fi movie upon a classic novel by Harry Harrison titled : Make room ! Make room ! . In 2022, the population of New York has about forty million inhabitants living in miserable conditions and grossly overcrowded , a real hellhole , and Manhattan has become a big rubbish . In the overpopulated futuristic city , a New York police detective named "Thorn (Charlton Heston) , finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff . Food is so scarce and to combat hunger the government creates a strange product , a synthetic food made of soybeans and lentils , the "Soylent Green¨ (title refers to a precious stuff) for people to eat , but the cop and his old partner named Roth (Edward G. Robinson), a survivor from another era , are investigating killing of bigwig , and they suspect the tracks behind the new food result to be a little unsettling . In the process , Thorn stumbles onto explosive secret .

Richard Fleischer creates a magnificent science fiction film without special effects and full of intrigue , melodrama , thrills , suspense , fights and interesting issues . Charlton Heston starred a pessimistic but well-intentioned trilogy about Distopian Earth : ¨Soylent Green¨ along with "The Planet of the Apes" and "The Omega Man", all great films . The whole film has a great originality from the point of view narrative , dealing with a cop who investigates and discovers an incredible government secret . It has a great argument for a very bitter ending , which is accompanied by a sensible musical score . The best moments are in the privacy of starring Charlton Heston and especially by the presence of Edward G. Robinson in his last film , a kind of testament of his own life where Robinson says us goodbye . In very poor health with cancer, Edward G. Robinson was almost totally deaf when he made this movie, and only able to hear anyone if they spoke directly into his ear. Because of this, scenes with him talking to other people had to be shot several times before he got the rhythm of the dialogue and was able to respond to people as if he could really hear them. And because he was unable to hear director Richard Fleischer yell "cut" when a scene went wrong, Robinson would often continue acting out the scene, unaware that shooting had stopped seconds earlier .The music which played when Edward G. Robinson was "going home" is the following : The overture was the principal theme from the first movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, the "Pathetique." When the visual presentation starts, the music is the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony nº6 ,The Pastoral". When the flock of sheep appear, the music is "Morning" from Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite .

The director Fleischer , shows that we do not need special effects to carry out the horror of the prophecies of Malthus . The last fifteen years the Richard Fleischer's films were not exactly very bright , filming Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris vehicles , but in his first twenty-five years had proved his own right as one of the most interesting directors of American commercial cinema . He was an expert director , including adventure classics (Vikings, 20.000 leagues under sea) and noir cinema (Narrow margin , Clay pigeons , Trapped) . The film will appeal to Sci-Fi buffs with enough though-provoking themes to make it worth looking in on . In other words, it seem likely Charlton Heston enthusiasts and juvenile viewers will be delighted because thrills, action and intrigue are brilliantly presented and edited to offer the maximum impact . Rating : Better than average , watchable movie and well worth seeing .

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