'Soylent Green Is People!' Charlton Heston's Strange Sci-Fi Movie Quote

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Source: IMDB

When Charlton Heston delivers the line "Soylent Green is people!" at the end of the film Soylent Green (1973), it's a clumsy collision of cinematic drama and science-fiction. Soylent Green looked at some serious real-world issues, like overpopulation, inequality, and scarcity of resources, and the future it depicted was a scary one. Yet with one hammy line -- just four words -- Heston tells us something we already knew, boiling down the sci-fi complexities to a childish simplicity.

"Soylent Green is people" is a movie line that lives on not because it is clever or even climactic -- it's just obvious and weird. Many aspiring screenwriters dream of coming up with something as perfect as Dirty Harry's tough talk or a Corleone-style euphemism. Few, if any, would hold up "Soylent Green is people" as a line worth emulating -- yet it's consistently listed as one of the most memorable lines in movie history.