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Soylent Green is People

If the threat of nuclear war wasn’t enough to darken even the sunniest Generation X childhood, there was the doom of Soylent Green, a 1973 science fiction movie about overpopulation, poverty, and unemployment in the year 2022. The movie, starring Edward G. Robinson and Charlton Heston, scared me to death as a kid. I saw it when I was 5-years-old on our 13-inch color Panasonic (or was it an RCA? ) TV while sitting on the living room floor in our house on Sigman Street in Hacienda Heights, California.
Soylent Green Poster

Soylent Green is people!

For years, my sisters and brother would jokingly repeat that line, “Soylent green is people!”
Here are the last lines of that dreadful movie. There’s a reason I ran out of the room every time some network decided to re-air the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston.
DET. THORN: Ocean’s dying, plankton’s dying… it’s people. *Soylent Green is made out of people.* They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!
HATCHER: I promise, Tiger. I promise. I’ll tell the Exchange.

DET. THORN: You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You’ve gotta tell them! Soylent Green is people! We’ve gotta stop them somehow!

Did you see Soylent Green as a kid? What did you think of it?
Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. wildbillyelliott

    We saw this movie at the DRIVE IN with Mom and DAD. It was one of the few movies I ever really remember DAD going to. It was a double-feature (remember them?) with WEST WORLD. These two movies were cutting edge sci-fi in ’73. I couldn’t believe we got to go! Soylent green also had the dubious distiction of being film great EDAWARD G. ROBINSON’s last film. He died shortly after SOYLENT GREEN was released. I have great memories of watching those movies in the back of our chevy station-wagon that night so long ago. WEST WORLD was facinating as well, real scary.
    But when I rented both of them recently, I couldn’t help but think that they both seemed so silly and dated. I guess we’ve come a long way since then. SOYLENT GREEN IS SOYMILK!

  2. Andi

    You know I could never bring myself to watch this movie because I don’t like Charleton Heston, we own it on DVD but I have not watched yet. I may need to take a look!

  3. jenX

    @ALL – P.S. I bet I’m the only blogger on the face of earth that pray for heart of flesh and then blogs about Soylent Green. God and his sense of humor. hahaha!

  4. jenX

    @LIN and BECK – We haven’t laughed about this near enough. The only thing that rivals this is dad and linda playing GROSS OUT in caney when I was 14. Do NOT play gross out with either of them. They will beat you everytime Carbonated blood and zits in the mayo jar. This is my evangelical, straight-laced, little-house-on-the-prairie pa and mary. hahahaha!!!

    @A – Oh, my. I’m revealing my sweet spot for dark humor. That was hilarious.

    @YOGI – Secret Burgers is People? Is that a book?!?!

    @CGHILL – I’ve heard of them!!!

    @JUNKDRAWER – You should write a post about that! I’ll reprint it on my blog!! I love the before 21 part – especially since by the time we all started thinking about sex we learned that it could kill us.

    @ROB – You’re so smart. And, hey – 2022 is only 11 years away. Maybe we dont’ have to worry about social security afterall.

  5. Anonymous

    Jen, kinda makes you wonder what’s in a soy burger? Robert

  6. Anonymous

    I hear soylent green is pretty good and easy to store in the pantry. rob

  7. Anonymous

    Jen, soylent green was a one of those far out sci-fi movies that is proving to be true. It predicted overcrowding, corporate farming, global warming and our dying seas. The processed food we are eating isn’t that far from soylent green energy bars. Rob

    On a side note a GENXER Hideki Matsui won the World Series MVP award and another GENXER Andy Pettit was the game winning pitcher.

  8. junkdrawer67

    “Soylent Green” along with movies like “The Omega Man” and “Night of the Living Dead” planted the seed of dread that the world would end in my life-time (before I was 21 and could legally drink, I was sure back then).

    In the cafeteria line at school whenever they served something particularly disgusting we’d all point and hell the line: “Soylent Green is people!”

    Later movies that added to my apocalyptic certainty include: “Red Dawn” (the remake was filmed, at least in part, here in Michigan in the city of Royal Oak)”Dawn of the Dead” and “Day of the Dead” and “The Day After”. Plus and early Kevin Costner film entitled “Testament” (1983).

  9. Lin



  10. CGHill

    It could be worse. There’s a German punk band called Soilent Grün.

  11. Yogi♪♪♪

    Hah, I never saw Soylent Green but heard a lot about it. I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s futuristic “The Year of the Flood” and its like “Secret Burgers is people.”

  12. jenX

    @REBECCA – The ONLY reason I think I remember it is because after seeing it – I actually saw it on the second pass – as rerun – i was consistently reminded of it when you guys (MOSTLY YOU!!!) would repeat that ridicuous line. I’ve even heard Steve say it over the years. I also remember the scene where they show the guy the paradise movie. All throughout my childhood I remember thinking, “Nobody better come near me with a movie about beautiful nature and paradise! I’ll know what they are up to!”

  13. Rebecca

    When I saw the title of your post I started laughing hysterically. Truthfully, that movie scared me to death! BUT…making a joke out of it made it possible to bear. You were soooo small! I can’t believe YOU remember it!

    Not long ago I watched it on TV and was rolling with laughter again! I could just see Bill, Lin and I SCREAMING OUT “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE” and mom totally freaking out!




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