Soylent Green (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

Soylent Green (1973)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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This 1973 film, based on the novel by Harry Harrison, won a Nebula Award for "Best Science Fiction Film" and marks the final screen appearance of Edward G. Robinson. It predicts a Malthusian future for the human race; overpopulation has overstressed the food-production capacity of the planet, resulting in desperation at all levels. Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) shares an extremely tiny "apartment" with retired researcher Soi Roth (Edward G. Robinson). In the overpopulation depicted here, it is impossible to get anywhere without walking over, under, or around someone. Thorn has been hired to investigate the murder of a top industrialist (Joseph Cotton), the man whose company manufactures the life-sustaining wafers called Soylent Green, the only means of survival for the swarming hordes of poor people.

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Cast

Charlton Heston
as Det. Thorn
Chuck Connors
as Tab Fielding
Joseph Cotten
as William Simonson
Brock Peters
as Hatcher
Roy Jenson
as Donovan
Whit Bissell
as Santini
Celia Lovsky
as Exchange Leader
Jane Dulo
as Mrs. Santini
Jan Bradley
as Bandana Woman
Carlos Romero
as New tenant
Pat Houtchens
as Fat Guard
Forrest G. Wood
as Attendant
Faith Quabius
as Attendant
Joyce Williams
as Furniture Girl
Beverly Gill
as Furniture Girl
Cheri Howell
as Furniture Girl
Jennifer King
as Furniture Girl
Erica Hagen
as Furniture Girl
Suesie Eejima
as Furniture Girl
Kathy Silva
as Furniture Girl
Marion Charles
as Furniture Girl
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Critic Reviews for Soylent Green

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5)

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…
Top Critic

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

June 5, 2007 | Full Review…

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

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

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

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

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

June 20, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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…

Audience Reviews for Soylent Green

Chuck Heston as a very nearly corrupt cop in a messed up future New York peeling back one helluva ugly scab on societal expediencies. Still vibrant, still timely, still effectively told and loaded with a top notch cast. Yet it gets no respect. So wrong!

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

The greenish cinematography and '70s visuals for a futurist dystopia look terribly dated today, and even if the film has an interesting idea and a beautiful death scene, Fleischer's direction (more focused on the procedural and the action) makes it look silly and unimaginative.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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