STARRING: Bruce Dern, Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint

1972, 89 Minutes, Directed by: Douglas Trumbull

silent.jpg (11702 bytes)Description: Stars Bruce Dern as Freeman Lowell, a nature-loving crewmember aboard the Valley Forge, a gigantic spaceship in a small fleet that carries the last surviving forests of the Earth, which has fallen victim to overpopulation and ecological neglect. Freeman's name reflects his nonconformist philosophy, which runs counter to the prevailing recklessness of his three ill-fated crewmates, who are eager to jettison their precious payload and return to the bleakness of Earth. Before they can sabotage the forests, Freeman does what he must, and spends the remainder of his mission with three robotic "drones" as his only companions, struggling to maintain his sanity in the vastness of space.

Bruce Dern is a crew member of a giant orbital space ship that houses the last remaining forests of earth. When they get instructions to jettison the forests (no explanation is given why - but that's bureaucracy for you) he kills off his fellow crew members and shoots off into space with the three robots (called Huey, Dewey and Louie!) who are his only companions now.

Although the director is Douglas Trumbull, a special effects expert who has only directed two features as of date (the other being Brainstorm) the film isn't a special effects film as such and is surprisingly good, albeit slightly melancholy.

Director Trumbull is a bit of a special effects legend in the business. If you have been impressed by the effects in a movie then the chances are good that Trumbull had a hand in the affair. He did the effects for, amongst others, 2001, Blade Runner and some of the Star Wars movies. Yes, the effects in Silent Running are good but they don't overwhelm the pic.


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Thoughtful, understated, melancholy. Forget the scientific mistakes and immerse yourself in this 2001-like lament on man's disregard for nature. Directed by special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull, the effects are above-average for its time but doesn't overwhelm the movie.


# 82
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time



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