Soylent Green

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Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer. Starring Charlton Heston, the film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the brutal murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including "soylent green".

The film, which is loosely based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison, won the Nebula Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1973.



In the year 2022, the population has grown to forty million people in New York City alone. Most housing is dilapidated and overcrowded, and the homeless fill the streets and line the fire escapes and stairways of buildings. Food as we know it in present times is a rare and expensive commodity. Most of the world's population survives on processed rations produced by the massive Soylent Corporation, including Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow, which are advertised as "high-energy vegetable concentrates." The newest product is Soylent Green—a small green wafer which is advertised as being produced from "high-energy plankton." It is much more nutritious and palatable than the red and yellow varieties, but it is—like most other food—in short supply, which often leads to food riots.

Ty Thorn (Charlton Heston) is a New York City Police Department detective who lives in a dilapidated, cramped one-room apartment with his aged friend and roommate, Solomon "Sol" Roth (Edward G. Robinson, in his last film). Roth is a former professor who searches through the now-disordered remnants of written records and books to help Thorn's investigations. Roth and his like are known as "books." He tells Thorn about the time before the ecological disaster and population crisis, when real food was plentiful, although Thorn is generally not interested in the stories, finding most of them too hard to believe.

Thorn is assigned to investigate the murder of William Morris Simonson (Joseph Cotten). At the crime scene, he finds Simonson lying in a pool of blood after having been struck multiple times in the back of the head. Instead of looking for clues, the poorly paid detective helps himself to the wealthy man's food, liquor, shower (with real hot water and soap), and books. He questions Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young), an attractive 20-something year old "kept woman" (euphemistically known as "furniture") who comes with the apartment, and Simonson's bodyguard, Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors), who claims that he was told to escort Shirl on a shopping trip when the attack took place.

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