50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

From cosmic head trips to adventures in galaxies far, far away

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24. 'Soylent Green' (1973)

Forget the shrieking, infamous, now-iconic climax for a second. Richard Fleischer's 1973 film is actually less a sci-fi melodrama than it is a moody noir – more Blade Runner than Planet of the Apes. It takes place in a very lived-in, ragged New York City, where population growth and climate change have turned the city into a wasteland where people are forced to live like animals. (To be fair, when it comes to NYC, that's always been the case.) Charlton Heston – back then, still the kind of actor who might have appeared in a film with such a strong environmental message — is the detective whose investigation of a top executive's murder leads him to uncover some uncomfortable truths about the generic foodstuff that everyone is eating. The overall tone is one of melancholy rather than sci-fi wonder, and the film's cynicism is hard to shake. BE

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