Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Soylent Green (1973)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Soylent Green (1973)

In Richard Fleischer's dystopic sci-fi detective thriller - it was an early cautionary 70s science-fiction film set in an overpopulated, impoverished and polluted dystopic world in the year 2022. Earth had experienced a climate crisis involving the greenhouse effect (blocked gases in the atmosphere, causing higher temperatures with humid conditions), dying oceans, limited fertility of the soil, food scarcity, and crowded living conditions. Society faced a depleted environment, unhealthy air, deforestation, limited housing, polluted water, and fewer natural resources. The concept of two classes or tiers in society (the affluent elite living in walled-off enclaves, and the masses of oppressed poor) reflected the same class divisions found in George Romero's post-apocalyptic zombie-horror film Land of the Dead (2005).

It had a surprise twist ending, and since its theatrical showings in the early 1970s, it soon became common knowledge what the twist was. The film's conclusion regarding its title "Soylent Green" became well-known due to the film's trailer asking: "What is the Secret of Soylent Green?" The film's lengthy tagline also teased about the movie title:

It's the year 2022... People are still the same. They'll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.

In the revealing trailer, two conveyor belts were shown, one with body bags, the other with green food. The title referred to a type of artificial or processed food substance rationed out to the lower and middle-class populace in the crowded metropolitan areas.

Harry Harrison's 1966 sci-fi novel Make Room! Make Room! formed the basis for the film's script by Stanley R. Greenberg. It told about a dystopian future with massive ecological problems and food supply shortages, and simultaneously a murder investigation of a wealthy industrialist-lawyer associated with a rations and food-manufacturing company known as the Soylent Corporation. A member of the elite, the victim's suspicious death might have been part of a carefully-planned assassination plot, and also might elucidate the true meaning of the phrase "Soylent Green."

  • in the film's opening, a rapid cross-cutting montage from the 19th century to the present year of 2022 displayed vintage photographs of social life and the 'good old times' in the US before innovations in technology and advances in transportation, mass production and industrialization overwhelmed society; the over-dramatized consequences were massive global pollution (air and water), overpopulation, mounds of garbage, crowded highways, ugly landscapes and depleted food supplies
  • a subtitle identified ground zero for environmental problems: "THE YEAR: 2022 THE PLACE: NEW YORK CITY THE POPULATION: 40,000,000; the crowded metropolitan area suffered many dire consequences; although some lived in luxury, the majority of the desperate 40 million people struggled to survive, with piled up trash, cramped and dilapidated tenement housing, lack of affordable food, homelessness (people sleeping on stairs everywhere), 50% unemployment, etc.
  • during a TV interview with NYC's Governor Santini (Whit Bissell) who was up for reelection later in the year, an advertisement was brought to the audience by: "Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow, high-energy vegetable concentrates and new, delicious Soylent Green - the miracle food of high-energy plankton gathered from the oceans of the world"; due to the expense and lack of real food, the population was encouraged to consume red and yellow varieties of a manufactured Soylent Corporation product (made of vegetable concentrates), including a new, tastier and healthier high-protein green version derived from ocean plankton, and processed to be consumed in the form of green wafers
  • in a cramped NYC apartment, unappealing police officer-detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) lived with Jewish Solomon "Sol" Roth (Edward G. Robinson in his final film role); they exhibited a loving but quarrelsome relationship in the opening scene; the bearded, aging Sol was a well-educated, highly-respected ex-university professor - now semi-retired and employed as a police analyst ("ordinary police book") to conduct crime research for Thorn at the "Supreme Exchange"; at breakfast time, the two of them discussed research "Sol" was pursuing on four of Thorn's cases, with Sol's recommendations
  • later, Thorn pressed "Sol" for more information to wrap up his cases as the unreliable lights dimmed; "Sol" repeated his familiar criticisms about their food as "tasteless, odorless crud," and then nostalgically reminisced, once again, about his youth when food was authentic and natural and not highly-processed: ("Food was food. Before our scientific magicians poisoned the water, polluted the soil. Decimated plant and animal life. Why, in my day, you could buy meat anywhere. Eggs, they had. Real butter, fresh lettuce in the stores"); he also complained about the continual heat of the 'greenhouse effect': "How can anything survive in a climate like this? A heat wave all year long. A greenhouse effect. Everything is burning up"; Thorn recommended: "Eat some Soylent Green and calm down...I'll hustle some more on Tuesday"; on his way to night-shift duty, Detective Thorn crawled or leap-frogged over people sleeping on his stairs
Squalor in the Dystopic World of NYC

Crowded Stairway with People Sleeping

Crowded Streets with People and Broken-down Cars
  • on a crowded street area with people and junked cars, government representative Mr. Donovan (Roy Jenson) met up with young tough Gilbert (Stephen Young), and handed him a makeshift crow-bar (or meat hook) - predictably to be used in an assassination
  • the next scene revealed the luxurious and spacious living accommodations of one of the elites, a retired attorney and wealthy industrialist and businessman William R. Simonson (Joseph Cotten) - an influential board member of the financially-profitable Soylent Corporation; he was with his pretty young 'concubine' Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young), who was happily playing a 'Computer Space' video game "toy" that he had gifted to her; Simonson lived in the walled-off, exclusive Chelsea Towers West apartments
Precious and Rare Real Food Commodities Bought on the Black Market
  • that evening, Shirl and Simonson's bodyguard Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors) were sent on an errand to visit Mr. Brady (Tim Herbert), the proprietor of an underground black market food store; for $279 dollars, Shirl purchased a fresh apple, tomato, head of lettuce, a stalk of celery, and three small jars of other items; Brady also added one fatty piece of meat: ("something special...really fantastic...Beef like you've never seen before")
  • the same evening while they were gone, outside of the elite's fortified apartments, assassin Gilbert negotiated the surrounding moat, rock wall, moat, and security systems to enter into Simonson's living quarters in Apt. 22A; he confronted the businessman face-to-face with an apologetic statement: "They told me to say that they were sorry, but that you had become unreliable....They can't risk a catastrophe. They say"; the unresistant and understanding Simonson agreed and had suspected his fateful demise was soon coming and would be good for society: "They're right," and claimed his murder was " God"
  • Thorn from the 14th Precinct was assigned to investigate the murder of the wealthy businessman, whose company was manufacturing healthy, high-energy green wafers from ocean plankton; the next morning, he asked questions of the frustrated building manager Charles (Leonard Stone), who claimed Simonson was alive at 10:35 pm, that the building's scanners and alarms had malfunctioned a few days earlier, and that there were problems with obtaining parts to fix them; Thorn also spoke briefly to stone-faced bodyguard Tab and Shirl (who was regarded as "furniture" - she was essentially a prostitute passed along as 'property' from one apartment owner to the next); Shirl and Fielding had returned from shopping at about 11:00 pm and had noticed the jimmy marks on the door
  • as Fielding was ordered by Thorn to produce a written report about his own whereabouts, Thorn was amazed by the stocked kitchen (with a bottle of bourbon), the clean running water from the sink faucet, the fresh-smelling soap, and the cool air-conditioning; he placed several 'luxury' items in a silk pillow case to pilfer and take with him, a supposedly-expected practice
  • during questioning, Shirl suspected that Simonson knew he would be murdered - and wanted to die; as Thorn searched her body for bruises, she told him that Simonson had never abused or mistreated her, and was a kindly man: ("He was a gentle man. He never abused me. I wished he'd lived forever"), and that she never cheated on him with Fielding: ("I'd never risk my job"); a Sanitation Squad led by Wagner (John Dennis) took the body away, to reportedly dispose of it out of town at a waste-disposal plant (although Wagner side-remarked: "They're full up at waste disposal")
Sol Stunned by the Two Volumes and Rare Foods Pilfered from Simonson's Luxury Apartment
  • in the middle of the night, Thorn returned to his tenement apartment and shocked Sol with the stolen items from the apartment of the murder victim - sheets of real paper, pencils, a cake of soap, and the fresh groceries just purchased from the black market ("Beef?"), and then Sol sobbed, asking why no one - including himself - had done anything to save the environment: "Oh. My God. How did we come to this?"; Sol also admitted he'd be better off dead: "Nobody cares. Nobody tries, including me. I should have gone home long ago"; Thorn also supplied Sol with reference books from Simonson's shelves - two volumes of the Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, 2015-2019, for further research into Simonson's company
  • the next day, Thorn reported to his boss in his office, Chief of Detectives Ed Hatcher (Brock Peters), while in the crowded outer-office, indigents were lined up to receive death benefits (with a choice of either cash or food coupons); while reviewing Thorn's recent cases (some of which remain opened and unresolved), Hatcher suggested that the aging Sol should be replaced with a younger "book" - "He's had it!"; Thorn disagreed: "Not now!"
  • Thorn also described his conclusions on the Simonson murder - with supportive statements for his theory, including a crude murder weapon: "Supposed to look like he was killed when he caught some punk burglarizing his apartment...It was an assassination...One: The alarm system was out of order for the first time in two years. Two: The bodyguard was conveniently out shopping. Three: The punk didn't take anything. And four: The punk was no punk. He used a meat hook instead of a gun to make it look like a punk"
  • the two officers split up the proceeds, and then Thorn theorized who was on the "inside": "For my money. It's the bodyguard"; when the misogynistic Thorn was asked about the "furniture," he motioned toward his chest and described the young girl as having grapefruit-like breasts; Hatcher responded that Thorn's answer was odd: "You never saw a grapefruit"
  • to follow-up on his suspicions about bodyguard Fielding, Thorn entered the man's run-down apartment building (with a fat machine-gun-armed guard (Pat Houtchens) positioned on the stairway); in Fielding's spacious upstairs room, he discovered Fielding’s "furniture" companion for four years, Martha Philips (Paula Kelly), wearing a red-silk teddy negligee; he interrupted her spooning out and eating red strawberry jam from a jar; Thorn was surprised by the "terrific place...really nice" - and suspiciously wondered how her keeper could afford living there: ("Tab does pretty well for himself"); after interrogating her, as he left, she offered herself to him, but he declined: ("If I'd had the time. I would've asked for it"); he secretly stole the spoon to have Sol determine what it was, confirming that it was a major luxury-item -- strawberry jam
  • upon Thorn's return home, in a memorable sequence while listening to classical music, Sol had prepared an amazing old-fashioned meal (beef stew, salad, vegetables, etc., with bourbon) from the purloined items from Simonson's apartment; Thorn ate with real silverware instead of yellow plastic utensils; enthralled, Sol exclaimed: "I haven't eaten like this in years," and again reminded Thorn of how life used to be: "And now you know what you've been missing...I was there. I can prove it"; when Thorn stated: "When you were young, people were better," Sol disagreed: "Oh, nuts. People were always rotten, but the world was beautiful"
  • before Thorn left for work, Sol revealed from Simonson's biography that in the late 1970s, he was a principal partner in a law-firm with the present Governor Santini; then, in 1997, he was the director of a Virginia food manufacturing plant that specialized in producing freeze-drying equipment for commercial food processing; and then in 2018, the plant was eventually bought by Soylent; as a result, Simonson became a board member: ("Soylent controls the food supply for half the world"); and then Sol confirmed that the strawberry jam on the spoon would cost $150 dollars for a jar; meanwhile, Thorn was urgently called into his superior's office to meet the next day, to cooperate with the Governor's office
  • that evening when Thorn returned to Simonson's apartment, he realized a group of eight "furniture girl" friends (Joyce Williams, Erica Hagen, Beverly Gill, Suesie Eejima, Cheri Howell, Kathy Silva, Jennifer King, and Marion Charles) were being entertained and having a quiet party with Shirl; in the privacy of the bedroom as she stripped down and laid in bed, Thorn told Shirl that Simonson had been murdered, and was not the victim of a robbery; she confirmed that one of his acquaintances was Governor Santini, and that strangely, twice before in the month before his death, Simonson had appeared troubled and had spoken to an African-American priest Father Paul (Lincoln Kilpatrick) and prayed with him; she also recalled: "He didn't touch me for months. And sometimes for no reason at all. He'd start to cry"

Shirl's Recollections to Thorn of Simonson's Strange Behavior Before He Died

In Bed Just Before Sex, and An Interruption by the Building Manager

Shirl Tempting Thorn to Stay Overnight or At Least For a Hot Long Shower Together
  • as they began to make love, the girls in the apartment's living room were violently assaulted and reprimanded by the building's upset manager Charles for breaking the building's regulations: "I'll teach you to break my rules! Furniture stays in units!..."; Thorn heard the disruptions and halted Charles, but to keep it "friendly," both decided that they (or the girls) wouldn't press charges against each other; after the "furniture" girls and Charles left, Shirl tempted Thorn to stay longer with a lengthy hot water shower or bath, a rub-down afterwards, the A/C set to cold, and a chance to sleep together before the morning's breakfast
  • after a hot shower together, the same evening, Thorn left to speak to the Catholic priest Father Paul in his church, who was clearly tired, dazed and exhausted ministering to the sick, starving and oppressed masses seeking refuge; when questioned about "rich man" Simonson's visit, the Father initially had no recollections of Simonson: ("My memory's eroded"), and also was not able to divulge his confession, but admitted: ("I can't help you. Forgive me. It's destroying me...The truth...All truth...Sweet Jesus")
  • in the office the next day, Thorn was informed by his superior Hatcher that the Simonson murder case had been closed down permanently, due to orders and directives received from "someone high and hot" (Governor Santini); after all his work while being tailed by an unknown stalker, Thorn was incensed: "Something stinks here!...A member of the board of the Soylent Corporation was torn apart with a meat hook! You can't sweep that carcass under the rug. Who bought you?"; when Thorn refused to comply and sign a falsified report (fearing he'd lose his job for filing a false report), he was instead transferred to riot control duty
  • meanwhile, Governor Santini met with Gov't Agent Mr. Donovan (who had hired assassin Gilbert); Donovan informed him that the the board was determined to "resolve the Simonson investigation immediately," but that police officer Thorn refused to close the case after briefly speaking to the Catholic priest who had taken Simonson's confession; distressed, Santini authorized "just do what you have to do" - presumably to prohibit any further study of the Soylent Corporation that could reveal the secret of Soylent Green, and to possibly eliminate any troublesome people
  • shortly later that afternoon, bodyguard Fielding was dispatched to murder the Priest in the confessional booth with a silencer-gun blast to the left temple
In the Ration Distribution Center on the Street

Bland Red and Yellow Soylent Wafers

Bags of Soylent Crumbs

The More Flavorful Square Soylent Green Wafers
  • in a busy and bustling street ration distribution center on a day of greenish smog known as "Soylent Green Day," vendors sold rubber-soled sandals, hubcaps, slightly-defective plasticware and food items including red and yellow soylent (made of genuine soybeans), soylent buns, and green soylent crackers-wafers; thousands of people standing in line began to riot when by the late afternoon, the supplies of the newer and more flavorful Soylent Green had run out; in his new duty position of riot control with a group of understaffed police, Thorn attempted to control the frustrated crowds that violently rebelled when supplies of Soylent Green were exhausted (due to a "foul-up at transport"); an announcement threatened: "the Scoops are on their way" - large riot-control trucks (crowd-dispersion vehicles) called "scoopers" drove in to literally shovel up protesters and dump them into the backs of the vehicles like waste trash, but the people rioted anyway

Gilbert Crushed To Death Under Heavy Scooper Bucket
Protestors Scooped Up by Riot-Control Front-Loader Buckets And Deposited in Back of Trucks
  • and then Thorn realized in the confusion that his unknown stalker (assassin Gilbert) was firing gunshots at him with a silencer gun, and accidentally killing innocent bystanders; as Thorn pursued Gilbert, he was shot and wounded in the right calf, but as Gilbert turned to escape, he was accidentally crushed to death under one of the heavy, people-shoveling bulldozing buckets
  • Thorn proceeded to Fielding's apartment and hid until Fielding arrived; he brutally beat up and assaulted Fielding, asking: "Why did you set up Simonson?" while Martha recoiled in fear; Thorn had deduced that Fielding had to be associated with the Soylent Corporation since his salary alone as a bodyguard wouldn't allow him to purchase exorbitantly-priced strawberry jam: ("Who pays your bills?")
  • when Martha joined the fight to help defend Fielding, he also punched her in the face and pushed her into the wall; after kicking Fielding in the groin and striking him further, Thorn threatened him for striking a cop and for following him: "You get life for that. Jerk! Life in a waste disposal plant in a Soylent factory someplace"; he again asked how Fielding was associated with Soylent: "How about that big fat Soylent Corporation? Do you work for them like Simonson did? How much did they pay you for that one, tiger? Does Soylent buy your strawberries?"; as he left, he warned Fielding and his accomplices to quit tailing him any further: ("Anybody tails me, bothers me one more time, l'll come back here and kill you both. Got it? Get off my back!")
  • Thorn immediately sought comfort at Chelsea Towers in the embrace of Shril who had just emerged from a shower; shortly later, she bandaged his injured right calf, and then, revealing her romantic feelings for Thorn, suggested that he leave his job to flee to the countryside with her; he reminded her that flight to rural farm areas was disallowed and that there wasn't anywhere for them to find refuge: "Those farms are like fortresses...Good land's gotta be guarded, the way they guard the waste disposal plants and the Soylent factories, and the plankton ships. You know, there are idiots in this world who wanna take everything we've got. Maybe Simonson was one of them"; Thorn was sorry that a new tenant (Carlos Romero) was arriving that evening to take possession of her, and crassly remarked before leaving: "He'll like you. You're a hell of a piece of furniture"
  • once the brash tenant arrived, one of his first degrading questions to Shirl was if his frequent guests would think she was fun: "Are you fun?"
  • meanwhile, Sol had taken Simonson's two volumes of the Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report to the "Supreme Exchange" - a vast library, repository and storehouse of historical newspapers, books, and documents from the past, where he showed them to other aging "books" (researchers who were former professors or legal scholars); they agreed with the elderly, white-haired Exchange Leader (Celia Lovsky) after studying the volumes, that the evidence of a major and horrible Soylent secret was "overwhelming" and would provide the reason for Simonson's murder - their specific finding was not specified until later, however
  • as an influential board member, the troubled Simonson had become unreliable to the Corporation after learning the results of the survey: ("He learned these facts, and they shook his sanity"); company agents expediently eliminated him, fearing that he would divulge the true findings of the report; the Exchange Leader also mentioned that they needed proof of what they were doing before bringing it to the Council of Nations - international record keepers

Sol Entering the Euthanasia Center

Sol's Note to Thorn

Sol Asked For His Personal Preferences

Sol Led to Private Clinic Chamber

Preparing for Euthanasia in a Private Chamber

Getting Comfortable Before a 20-Minute Assisted Suicide
  • after learning the oceanographic survey's secret and feeling that the world was too degraded - and that he no longer had the will to live, the resigned Sol walked to a government-sponsored Euthanasia Center or Clinic (a converted Madison Square Garden, known as "Home"), to seek God (who was "perhaps at Home") where he could request government-assisted suicide; he was warmly greeted at the facility's entrance by a young female attendant; when Thorn returned to the apartment, he found Sol's note: ("Thorn - I'm going home. Sol") and he raced off on his injured leg to find him
  • Sol answered questions from another attendant about his favorite color (orange) and favorite music (light classical) before being led in by another yellow-uniformed usher (Dick Van Patten) to one of the clinic's private chambers; he was placed on a comfortable bed in the orange-hued room amidst his choice of light classical music playing during the assisted-suicide procedure; he had been promised that it would last for 20 minutes
  • Thorn arrived at the "Home" and demanded to see and stop Sol's procedure, but he was too late; he was restricted and only allowed to watch from a viewing room adjacent to Sol's chamber - he was prohibited from speaking to Sol or being with him during much of the "ceremony"; Thorn refused to be blocked out and silenced, and threatened the usher to allow him to watch Sol's choice of a poignant, painless and suicidal death in the euthanasia clinic's chamber; from a control room through a window, Thorn was able to watch as Sol was presented with a visual montage of projected video (of a peaceful and "beautiful" green Earth ages ago when animal and plant life thrived and there was no pollution), accompanied by Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony No. 6, Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6, and segments of Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite"
Death of Sol Roth in Euthanasia Center
  • when the two were finally permitted to speak to each other through the communications system, the dying Sol confessed: "Oh, dear God, I've lived too long"; Sol told Thorn: "I love you, Thorn," and Thorn replied: "I love you, Sol"; Sol asked: "Can you see it?...Isn't it beautiful?"; Thorn was completely astounded by the large-screen and its panoramic, serene and gorgeous images of flowers, wildlife, rushing fresh water, flocks of birds, deer, oceanic fish and other displays of nature - visuals of how the world once looked; Thorn began to shed tears when Sol bemoaned and revealed how flawed humans had destroyed the tremendous beauty and wonders of the Earth ("I told you"), and Thorn replied: "How could I know? How could I, how could I ever imagine?"
  • and then after the wide-screen turned off and went black, Sol urged Thorn in his last dying words to expose the terrible truth of what he had learned about Soylent Green and its major secret - without describing any details; his discovery had prompted him to choose assisted suicide with a lethal drug: "Horrible. Simonson. Soylent. Listen to me, Thorn. Thorn, listen....You've got to prove it, Thorn. Go to the Exchange. Please, Thorn. Prove it, Thorn. The Exchange"
  • once Sol expired, bright lights were turned back on and the two attendants wheeled his bed out of the room on tracks through a wall opening; Thorn raced to the basement's loading and unloading area of the facility, and saw the bodies of those recently euthanized being deposited into the backs of large Sanitation Squad dump trucks, driven by blad-clad, masked workers; Thorn jumped onto the back of one of the human disposal trucks to hitch a ride, and hid atop the truck as it entered a heavily-guarded waste disposal plant or center
  • at the plant, the black-clad drivers were then escorted at gunpont out of each truck, and directed to drive out with already-emptied trucks to retrieve more bodies; meanwhile, white-clad plant workers took over and drove the new loads of bodies into the highly-secure plant

Recently-Euthanized Corpses Loaded into the Back of Sanitation Squad Trucks in the Basement of the Euthanasia Facility

Thousands of Bodies Dumped Out of Trucks at the Waste Disposal and Processing Plant

Bodies Moved on Conveyor Belts in Processing Plant

Bodies Dropped Into Large Vat

Bodies Processed into Soylent Green Wafers for Mass Consumption

Conveyor Belt of Finished Product - SOYLENT GREEN Biscuits
  • Thorn entered the plant and watched the progression of the bodies from the trucks onto long conveyor belts that eventually dropped them into a large vat; up a stairway to another conveyor belt, Thorn saw the result - bodies had been converted into edible processed food - Soylent Green wafers-biscuits
  • when Thorn was discovered roaming around by two disposal center workers, he fled by a series of ladders; he kicked one of the workers off an upper level to his death, and fought off a second worker and tossed him onto the soylent green conveyor belt; as alarms sounded, Thorn was able to escape from the plant in the back of a departing body-truck
  • outside the Supreme Exchange, he noticed some suspicious-looking men possibly awaiting his arrival; he accessed a private police call box, but was unable to reach Hatcher by phone; he then contacted Shirl at Simonson's apartment and bluntly rejected her; he ordered her to remain with the new tenant: "I want you to stay with him always," although teary-eyed, she still wished to be with him; then, he briefly spoke to Hatcher and asked for help to defend him at the Exchange, as four men noticed Thorn and ominously approached
  • Thorn was ambushed by Fielding and three other government agents and a gunfight ensued; he sought to escape by fleeing through deserted and dark back alleyways (due to the curfew) toward Father Paul's church; Thorn shot and killed three of the men, but Fielding continued the pursuit, and shot him in the back, piercing through his right lower abdomen; inside the church amongst the hordes of homeless sleeping on the floor, the two fought until Thorn was able to stab Fielding to death in the chest with a large, rusty butcher knife
  • when Hatcher arrived to arrest Fielding and his accomplices, the insistent Thorn divulged his discovery of Soylent's secret (the reason that Simonson was murdered); he desperately pleaded with Hatcher to tell the Exchange researchers and others, and spread the horrible truth: "Hatcher, get to the Exchange. You've gotta tell 'em they're right"; when Hatcher basically ignored him, Thorn continued: "You don't understand. I've got proof. They need proof. I've seen it. I've seen it happening. They've gotta tell people...The ocean's dying. Plankton's dying. It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people"
  • as he was put on a stretcher to be taken away to be treated for his serious gunshot injury, the semi-hysterical Thorn shouted out to Hatcher - while the many homeless in the church were also listening and heard his warnings: "They're making our food out of people. Next thing, they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell 'em, you've gotta tell 'em...You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher! You're gonna tell 'em! Soylent Green is people! We've gotta stop 'em somehow!"

Thorn's Final Words: "You're gonna tell 'em! Soylent Green is people! We've gotta stop 'em somehow!"

Last Image: Thorn's Bloody Outstretched Hand
  • the horrifying, predictable discovery was the true composition of the Soylent Corporation's new artificial food product Soylent Green - it was not composed of ocean plankton as avowed - that was ruled an impossibility by The Supreme Exchange (the group of researchers); they concluded that barren ocean conditions devoid of all life had ceased to produce plankton; instead, Soylent Green was composed of recycled human remains of the deceased inhabitants of the society's euthanasia centers - the closest protein match to plankton; it was frightening to learn that the only remaining food source on Earth was its own people, and Earth was apparently soon to experience a complete collapse of humanity and civilization
  • the film's final image was a brief blurred glimpse of Thorn's bloody hand outstretched into the air, within a shrinking black frame - symbolizing that he will be unheard
  • the cast and crew credits scrolled, over images of an earlier fertile and beautiful Earth

Introduction: A Vintage Photo From the Past

TV Advertisement for Soylent Green - Available in Small Green Wafers

Solomon "Sol" Roth (Edward G. Robinson)

Police Officer-Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston)

Gilbert with Gov't Agent Mr. Donovan (Roy Jenson) and Future Assassin Gilbert (Stephen Young)

Video Game "Toy"

William Simonson (Joseph Cotten) with Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young)

Assassin Gilbert Entering the Perimeter of the Chelsea Towers Apartments to Confront Simonson and Kill Him

Detective Thorn Asking Questions At Chelsea Towers About the Murder During His Investigation

Thorn at the Scene of the Crime with Bodyguard Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors)

Thorn Inspecting "Furniture" Shirl For Body Bruises

Thorn's Boss, Chief of Detectives Ed Hatcher (Brock Peters)

Fielding's Female Companion or "Furniture" Martha Philips (Paula Kelly)

The Spoon With a Sticky Red Substance on It

Sol's Memorable Beef-Stew Meal

Sol Taste-Testing the Spoon with Strawberry Jam ("Hundred and fifty bucks a jar of strawberries")

Exhausted, Wandering About and Dazed Catholic Priest Father Paul (Lincoln Kilpatrick)

Governor Santini Informed by Agent Donovan That Thorn Refused to Close the Case

Bodyguard Kip Fielding in the Catholic Confessional Before Murdering Father Paul

Thorn on Riot Patrol Duty In the Marketplace on "Soylent Green Day"

Stalker-Assassin Gilbert in the Riot Crowd Pursuing and Shooting at Thorn

Thorn Confronting Fielding: "Why did you set up Simonson?"

Seeking Comfort in the Arms of Shirl in Chelsea Towers

Thorn's Rejection of Shirl's Idea to Escape to the Country

Shirl's New Tenant (Carlos Romero): "Are you fun?"

Sol's Arrival at the "Supreme Exchange" With Two Volumes of Soylent's Oceanographic Study

The Exchange Leader and the Other Researchers Uncovered a Terrible Secret in the Survey-Study - the Reason for Simonson's Murder

Thorn in an Adjacent Viewing Room To Witness Sol's Euthanasia

Thorn Shedding Tears Over the Gorgeous Beauty of a Past Earth, and Sol's Passing

Sol's Last Dying Words to Thorn: "Please, Thorn. Prove it, Thorn. The Exchange"

Sol's Actual Death - The Orange Light Was Extinguished

After Death, the Corpses Were Taken from Private Chambers to the Basement's Loading Zone

In the Church, Fielding Dead From a Stab Wound to the Chest

Thorn Seriously Injured, but Ready to Tell the Secret of Soylent Green to Hatcher: ("Get to the Exchange. You gotta tell them they're right")

Thorn: "I've got proof. They need proof...Soylent Green is made out of people..."


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