Silent Running (1972)

Genres - Drama, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Message Movie  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Blending science fiction with hippiedom, Silent Running (1971) is very much of its early '70s moment, even as its cautions about the environment remain timely. In his directorial debut, Douglas Trumbull skillfully integrates his premier special effects into a story about the glory, beauty, and fragility of nature, as Bruce Dern's long-haired, robe-clad ecologist stakes his life and space station on defending the last remaining ecosystem from a corporate edict to destroy it and use the ship for commerce. Bonding with anthropomorphized androids and tending his space-bound Eden to the strains of Joan Baez songs, Dern's Lowell is a testament to the need for free thought, green living, and firm convictions, no matter the cost. Trumbull's juxtaposition of adorable animals and lush plants with the soulless ship and astronauts carrying them speaks to the devastating effects of complacency. One of a cluster of early '70s dystopian science fiction films that began with Trumbull and with Stanley Kubrick's masterwork 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Silent Running's vistas and message still attract fans.