Director Douglas Trumbull, who famously worked as a special effects supervisor on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, fashions a moving, environmentally-themed science fiction in which a plea for the protection of earth's natural resources is poignantly played out within the film's speculative storyline.
Taking place in the not-too-distant future, Silent Running presents a bleak picture of an earth stripped of its plant and animal life. Most of the action takes place on a spaceship carrying a small cluster of greenhouses containing the last of earth's vegetation and wildlife.
When a directive to destroy the greenhouses and return to earth reach the sole keeper of these habitats, our ecological warrior (played with quiet resolve by Bruce Dern) reacts with murderous determination.
A film very much of its time, Silent Running plays like a last hurrah for the fading hippie movement. Its lasting appeal, however, points to how prescient its themes were.