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Soylent Green (1973)

tomatometer

40

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

71

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 22,901

My Rating

Movie Info

Richard Fleischer directed this nightmarish science fiction vision of an over-populated world, based on the novel by Harry Harrison. In 2022, New York City is a town bursting at the seams with a 40-million-plus population. Food is in short supply, and most of the population's food source comes from synthetics manufactured in local factories -- the dinner selections being a choice between Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow, or Soylent Green. When William Simonson (Joseph Cotten), an upper-echelon

Aug 5, 2003

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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (10) | DVD (19)

The somewhat plausible and proximate horrors in the story of Soylent Green carry the production over its awkward spots to the status of a good futuristic exploitation film.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Uneven and slightly muddled futuristic horror story -- not really science fiction, more like an antipollution PSA gone berserk.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Good, solid stuff, assembled efficiently enough to be pretty persuasive.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Their 21st-century New York occasionally is frightening but it is rarely convincingly real.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not well thought-out and a genuine disappointment for all its visibility in the popular conversation

June 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Where so many science fiction visions of the era have dated, this gritty creation of a depressed (and depressing) future... looks all the more real.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Seanax.com | Comment (1)
Seanax.com

...a movie based on an ending. And if you can't figure out that ending ten minutes into the movie, you aren't paying attention.

September 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The film was a typical seventies sci-fi effort, scientifically illiterate and unimaginatively composed.

June 15, 2007

A sluggishly directed look at life and death in the 21st century.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Comment (1)
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Modestly entertaining.

May 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This futuristic thriller just seems to keep getting better with age. An entertaining sci-fi flick done before special effects took over the genre.

October 10, 2005
Fantastica Daily

The future never looked as retro...

July 5, 2004

A doozy.

October 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

still contains enough pleasures even with the 'secret' so well known

August 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Thanks to Phil Hartman's riotous Saturday Night Live impersonation of Charlton Heston's hysterical detective from Soylent Green, people who've never seen Richard Fleischer's film know its surprise ending.

August 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

It's quite an amusing movie.

August 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

The SNL skits are better

August 2, 2003
Pasadena Weekly

A stoic Heston, a nice turn for Robinson, and see-through ironies.

April 2, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It would have made a great episode of The Twilight Zone, but feature length is too much for its premise.

January 11, 2003
Flipside Movie Emporium

Great sci-fi with a surprisingly environmentalist message -- you have to wonder if Heston paid close attention.

November 15, 2002
New Times

Audience Reviews for Soylent Green

In a near future where the world is vastly over-populated and nature's resources have become decimated, a cop investigating the murder of a rich executive uncovers his globe-spanning uber-corporation's dirty little secret. Soylent Green is clearly a victim of its own reputation as its almost inevitable that you will already know how it ends, which removes the shocking revelation that would have provided the punchline to the story. As it stands, the film is surprisingly accurate in its predictions and is one of the first corporate conspiracy theory stories to reach the big screen; it is also one of the first to marry the styles of Film Noir and science fiction. The problems lie in its rather dated and cheap looking visual effects and rather workmanlike, TV quality direction. I would also have to say that with the exception of Edward G. Robinson's ageing bookworm, none of the cast are particularly likeable; Heston comes across as a selfish and corrupt asshole and women in this future society are nothing more than "furniture" - essentially live-in prostitutes. Worth a watch if you are one of the few who haven't absorbed the big plot twist through cultural osmosis but otherwise it's little more than a dated curiosity.
February 28, 2012
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

No idea why this movie gets so much bad reviews these days, sure, it's the "future" with people wearing 70s haircuts and clothes, big fucking surprise. The message is blunt, but still effective, and while the detective parts of the story don't go anywhere seeing the characters enjoying such mundane things that we take as granted today are fascinating to watch. Enjoy your apples, steaks and alcohol, you might not see them in the future.
September 24, 2011
DragonEyeMorrison
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

A dark and disturbing look at a future that may surface, though hopefully not in the next 11 years as the film suggests. Heston is a police officer in an overcrowded world. Food is but a luxury as people are fed Soylent products. There's a wonderful scene in which Heston steals a number of items from the home of a murder victim. They are common everyday things, but the film creates such an emotional intensity about them, Robinson breaks down into tears at the thought of meat. Taylor-Young plays one of the most tragic love interests in cinematic history. She's referred to as "furniture" as she comes with the apartment, a choice of living for many attractive women, as they get to live with the wealthy and experience rare items. Looking through time, this is something that rings true on a terrifying scale. Like many of Heston's pieces, it mixes B-Movie charm with social commentary. Many will know the twist, as did I, but when the final line of dialog rings out it really shocks.
May 7, 2011
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

Directed by Richard Fleischer and Starring Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joseph Cotten, Brock Peters and Paula Kelly.

I was one of the very few people who had never really ever heard of the ending before...And how shocked it left people. But is Soylent Green all too true? I mean is this type of scenario going to be happening by 2022? I mean Overpopulation...War...Pollution...Devastation of the world's eco-system...Etc?
But the way our way of life is at the moment I am not really all that shocked if Soylent Green was some type of film sending us a message about the extreme dangers of Over-Population and too be fair I am not surprised if the ending was to come real.

Robert Thorn is a detective living in New York City in 2022 with the city's population at over 40,000 million people with a boss of a major production company has been murder with him on the case, but he might have just entered what is the biggest human conspiracy in the future.

Again I had never heard of the ending before and when I found out I could not stop saying WTF.

84% for Story: Very well told and very well put together this Sci-fi/Disaster movie and the mystery elements are awesome despite some of the films short comings.

96% for Acting: I think this is the films biggest strong point, and one of Charlton Heston's best performances by far and really the whole film is full of great and brilliant acting...Minus our lead female who was just annoying near the end.

90% for Special Effects: The films visuals show a major bleak and dark society that one cannot simply explain.

85% for everything else: Some impressive shots showing the set construction made to look like a futuristic NYC.

Though it's a pretty solid Mystery film and it will be one that might likely never be forgotten for a long (Even more the ending).

Keiko's score 87-100
May 6, 2011
Keiko A. --Samurai--
Keiko Aya

Super Reviewer

    1. Detective Thorn: Soylent Green is people!
    – Submitted by Dutch E (13 months ago)
    1. Detective Thorn: I can't figure this Simonson. If I was like him. Rich. Important... ...plenty to eat... ...real bourbon... ...and a girl like you... ...you wouldn't see me in church.
    – Submitted by Allen D (2 years ago)
    1. Sol Roth: There was a world, once, you punk.
    2. Detective Thorn: Yes, so you keep telling me.
    3. Sol Roth: I was there. I can prove it.
    4. Detective Thorn: I know, I know. When you were young, people were better.
    5. Sol Roth: Aw, nuts. People were always rotten. But the world 'was' beautiful.
    – Submitted by Filipe M (2 years ago)
    1. Detective Thorn: Soylent Green is People!!!!
    – Submitted by Tyler C (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Jahr 2022 - Die überleben wollen (Soylent Green) (DE)
  • Soleil vert (FR)
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