"Soylent Green" Movie Facts

by James Stuart

"Soylent Green" takes place in a dystopian future where overcrowding is a serious problem.

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Starring Charlton Heston, "Soylent Green" is a movie about an overcrowded future in which a food shortage results in the selling of human beings as a new miracle food. "Soylent Green" has become an iconic science-fiction film and has been analyzed, discussed and even parodied in popular culture. You might know the general plot of this movie, but a number of interesting details are often overlooked.


"Soylent Green" takes place in 2022, when overpopulation threatens to destroy humanity and food is scarce. A new food product, called Soylent Green, is being advertised as the solution to the food problems. The film tells the story of police detective Robert Thorn (Heston) as he attempts to solve a murder case. Government agents begin to pursue Thorn as the investigation leads him in a strange direction. He eventually uncovers a connection between new mass-euthanasia clinics and the new miracle food.


When Thorn reaches the food factory he discovers that Soylent Green is being made from corpses from the euthanasia clinics. The discovery causes Thorn to snap and run through the city declaring, "Soylent Green is people!"

Cultural Impact

The movie has been parodied and referenced in a number of different sources. On "The Simpsons," Homer is seen ordering Soylent Green at the concessions stand of a movie theater. Similarly, the character Bill does an ad for Soylent Green in an episode of the 1990s sitcom "NewsRadio." Heston's famous line "Soylent Green is people!" is often quoted, and it has appeared in shows such as "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and "Barney Miller."

Statistics and Facts

"Soylent Green" was released May 9, 1973 with a PG rating. It has a running time of 93 minutes and was the last film released by the production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The film has been released in a number of formats, including Blu-ray in March 2011. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and written by Stanley R. Greenberg. It stars Heston, Edward G. Robinson and Leigh Taylor-Young.


The term "Soylent Green" comes from a combination of the words "soy" and "lentil." The movie "Soylent Green" is based on the novel "Make Room! Make Room!" published in 1966, but it features a completely different story. The title was also changed because producers were afraid that people would confuse it with a television show that had a similar name. The original cut of the film contained a scene revealing a second family rooming with Thorn, but this scene was removed from subsequent releases.

Photo Credits

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