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Silent Running [DVD] [1972]

Part of our Four DVDs for £10 offer*


Price: £4.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Silent Running [DVD] [1972] + Dark Star, 30th Anniversary Special Edition [DVD] [1974] + 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint, Mark Persons
  • Directors: Douglas Trumbull
  • Writers: Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Steven Bochco
  • Producers: Douglas Trumbull, Marty Hornstein, Michael Gruskoff
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish
  • Dubbed: German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Nov 2008
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UWQT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,520 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

By the year 2008, all that remains of the Earth's plantlife is preserved in space, maintained under huge Geodesic domes on board three ships orbiting the planet Saturn. Botanist and crewman Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) is horrified when the order comes from home to destroy the greenhouses, and kills his three human crewmates in order to prevent them from carrying out the termination. Injured in the process, Lowell is forced to rely on his three service robots as he goes on the run in the one remaining station, determined to preserve what is left of his home planet's ecology.

From Amazon.co.uk

After creating many of the innovative special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Douglas Trumbull tried his hand at directing, and 1971's Silent Running marked an impressive debut. (In addition to creating the visual effects for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and directing 1983's Brainstorm, Trumbull later turned to the creation of high-tech cinematic amusement park rides.) One of the best science-fiction films of the 1970s, Silent Running 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. Dern is superb in this memorable role, representing the lost soul of humankind as well as the back-to-nature youth movement of the 1960s and the pre-Watergate era. (Appropriately, Joan Baez sings the film's theme song.) A rare science-fiction film that combines bold adventure with passionate social conscience, Silent Running will remain relevant as long as the Earth is threatened by the ravages of human carelessness. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Sep 2003
Format: DVD
These are just some of the words you can use to describe this wonderful film. Although it's now thirty years since original release it is anachronistic neither in terms of story nor special effects, and one could argue even more relevant three decades later with America's reluctance to sign the Kyoto Treaty.
For ME it has all the hallmarks of what great art SHOULD contain; a relevance to one's life and the abilty to challenge psychologically and philosophically on a number of levels. Indeed lasting eighty minutes and with only one speaking protagonist for eighty percent of it's duration, much is left implicit for the viewer to interpret. The plot of the film is simple. Cut forward to a time in the future when overpopulation and pollution of the environment has forced the last remaining forests to be moved into outer space on craft orbiting Saturn, until such time that earth is ready to replant. The craft are inhabited by four men, three of which exemplify the socially ordered and homogenous population back on earth, the other Freeman Lowell (played to perfection by Bruce Dern) being more cerebral and less bovine. After eight years they receive an order to destroy the forests and return the craft to commercial service. To save one of these forests Lowell has to murder the other three crewmembers and resign himself to a life of enforced exile without human company. Alone in space, save for two robots for company, Lowell has ample time to reflect on his actions in a way similar to Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment". It is also gives an insight into the psychology of isolation and alienation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jenno66 on 1 Dec 2011
Format: DVD
This is one of my favourite films. I remember watching this with an old partner, i had waxed lyrical about it for months. At the end, i cried my eyes out as i always do and i was shocked that he was so unmoved and ambivalent. I later dumped him.

If you are not moved by the final sequence, if your heart is not racing and your eyes bawling you're not human!!

Seriously though, this is an underrated masterpiece from an inexperienced director who obviously had a great vision. It has ecological themes and is not a space shoot em up, but give it a go if you want a deep and meaningful experience.

The watering can...im welling up...
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By TJ Doc on 19 Nov 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"Natural" is a word that often sprang to my mind while watching Eureka's 'Silent Running' Blu-ray. This is, inherently, a rather soft film with an abundance of grain; and I'm very glad to see it's been kept that way. Grain levels do unexpectedly spike on occasion (leading to "snow storm" instances), but there's always loads of fine detail on show. Take a look at the clearly visible textures on clothing, or the complex exterior shots of the Valley Forge for just a couple of excellent examples of the increased clarity on offer here.

Colours stand out to me as the transfer's most impressive quality. Skin tones are pleasingly normal, while the lush greens and earthy browns of the forest dome genuinely pop - as does Lowell's bright blue jacket. There's no "teal and orange" controversy going on here, that's for sure.

I did notice a small amount of edge enhancement, but it only appeared in one or two scenes and was far less obvious than some of the thick white halos seen burdening other discs. There's also some shimmering here and there, but you can probably put that down to the film's source materials. On the whole, Eureka has done a commendably cinematic job with their transfer.

Also pleasing is the faithfully presented HD mono audio. Dialogue and music is clear and precise, while sound effects are satisfyingly robust. That early scene where the domes are being detached, with everything clanging, screeching and then exploding is a real wake-up-the-neighbours moment. As impressive as a remixed HD 5.1 option can be, I'm a big fan of these more old-school audio presentations.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar 2001
Format: VHS Tape
30 years on, this movie is still powerful and poignant. The environmental message is just as important today as it was in the 70's.
You won't see aliens zooming around and firing lasers at each other, and the only explosions are disturbing images as the very last forests are destroyed forever. This is an emotional film, which goes far deeper than most SF either before or since. The story is about people, not flashy special effects, and must surely be considered a classic.
I cannot imagine any sensible viewer coming away from this movie without pausing to consider its deeper message, which is still highly relevant today.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By T Everson on 17 Nov 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Silent Running is a film that now divides people more than ever, 40 years on from its initial release. Those watching it expecting an action packed science fiction film in the vein of Star Wars will be disappointed. This is a surprisingly tender film, wrapped up in a sci-fi skin. A science-fiction film with a heart. The film was directed by Douglas Trumbull, who had been chief special effects supervisor on Kubrick's epic 2001 - A Space Odyssey, but this was his first film on his own (still at the surprisingly young age of 29). One of the first things that impresses is the standard of effects throughout. Yes, to a modern audience, and considering the extra definition afforded by Blu-ray, there's some scenes that look less than convincing, but on the whole it still holds up well. The story itself is deceptively simple: four men are the crew of the space-station Valley Forge, a vessel containing the last forests from the Earth, now a swelteringly hot planet. As they orbit Saturn, the call comes from Earth that they are to jettison and destroy the domes housing these forests. This is too much for the environmental botanist Freeman Lowell (played by Bruce Dern), and the rest of the film follows his plight to save these forests.

One of the highlights is actor Bruce Dern, who by the nature of the film ends up carrying much of it himself. He's an immensely watchable actor, and though he's not playing the most sympathetic of characters, you understand why Lowell is going to the extremes that he does. The crew are accompanied by three service drones, Huey, Louie and Dewey, and because of their unconventional size, Trumbull hired three double-amputees to play the robots.
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