Silent Running (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

Silent Running1972

Silent Running (1972)



Critic Consensus: It doesn't fulfill the potential of its ambitious themes, butSilent Running stands as a decidedly unique type of sci-fi journey marked by intimate character work and a melancholic mood.

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Movie Info

After the end of all botanical life on Earth, ecologist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) maintains a greenhouse on a space station in order to preserve various plants for future generations. Assisted by three robots and a small human crew, Lowell rebels when he is ordered to destroy the greenhouse in favor of carrying cargo, a decision that puts him at odds with everyone but his mechanical companions. Lowell and his robots are forced to do anything necessary to keep their invaluable greenery alive.

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Bruce Dern
as Freeman Lowell
Jesse Vint
as Keenan
Ron Rifkin
as Barker
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Critic Reviews for Silent Running

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (7)

Douglas Trumball's Silent Running is a flawed classic, but that still makes it a classic.

January 7, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The production lacks much dramatic credibility and often teeters on the edge of the ludicrous.

June 4, 2007 | Full Review…

The film is enjoyable for its intimacy, seriousness, and intelligent character work, virtues not perpetuated by the subsequent new wave.

June 4, 2007 | Full Review…

A wonderful film.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Silent Running is no jerry-built science fiction film, but it's a little too simple-minded to be consistently entertaining.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5

A movie out of the ordinary - especially if you like science fiction.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Silent Running


A thought-provoking science fiction that may feel dated today even with its good visuals but raises interesting philosophical questions about solitude, the value of life and what it is like to risk everything for a conviction - which outweighs the ecological message intended.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Ma Earth can no longer grow food after we pollute the bejesus out of her and so we build a greenhouse in space to preserve the idea of growing food. "Ahhh, its only a knucklehead idea anyway. What were we thinking? We got synthetic food, don't we? Close it up!" Bruce Dern is the idealist who fights the powers-that-be in this not-too-far-from-hippie sci-fi horror story. The action's okay is all. There's terrible bits of Joan Baez singing that'll make you put the work end of a shotgun in your mouth. Eh.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Silent Running is an entertaining and exhilarating Sci Fi classic with a great cast and a good story. The film is quite engaging, and the effects are well done and like 2001 before it, have influenced the genre. Bruce Dern is great in the lead role, and this ranks up there as one of the finest examples of 1970's Sci Fi. Of course Star Wars would reinvent the genre altogether, but you simply can't deny that Silent Running broke ground in terms of effects. Though not a perfect film, Silent Running will certainly please genre fans. The idea behind its story is quite simple, but the execution is well done, and it would later set the stage for future genre films. Dern like I said is good here, and he holds things together. If you're expecting an action packed thrilled ride, you'll be disappointed. This is more of a Sci Fi drama, but it it's quite entertaining nonetheless. Silent Running is a must watch for genre fans, or anyone looking for a classic Sci Fi film that has a well structured story. Enjoyable, but slow paced, Silent Running is one of those films that you need a few viewings to get into. The film stands out as a great genre film, one that helped shape the genre for what it is. Even if it's not a great movie, it's still a Sci Fi classic for what it helps achieve in terms of ideas and concepts in the genre. Sure, it may be tedious at times, but it definitely is worth seeing if you love this genre of film.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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