This 1976 movie is based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. It was an extraordinary film for its time due to the fine acting and visual effects. Jerry Goldsmith wrote the musical score.
The story takes place in the 23rd century and the year is 2274. Known society lives in a domed city where they are completely cared for and their every desire is accommodated. The one catch in this utopian world is that they are allowed to live until their 30th birthday before they are renewed or born again. A few of the more astute people figured out that they aren’t renewed but outright killed in a ceremony called carrousel. It’s sort of a futuristic government run health care and overpopulation plan.
The citizens of the city have a crystal embedded in their palm which is called a life clock. When they reach the age of 30, the life clock blinks red and their time is up, so to speak. They are then required to attend the carrousel ceremony. If they try to run, they are pursued by Sandmen, the policemen of the society. When they are cornered, they are terminated by the Sandmen.
The society and the city is run by a computer or series of computers, not unlike our Congress of today whose members are more automaton than human.
Logan Five (Michael York) is a Sandman along with his best friend Francis Seven (Richard Jordan). Logan and Francis terminate a runner during the carrousel ceremony. Logan retrieves the unfortunate individual’s belongings and takes them to the computer to be scanned. Among the items is a jewelry-like piece in the shape of ankh. Ankh was used by the Ancient Egyptians as a symbol of life. The computer is more than a little interested in the ankh. So interested, in fact, that it informs Logan that it is linked to a place called sanctuary and orders Logan to proceed outside the city and search for this sanctuary.
Logan teams up with Jessica (Jenny Agutter), a sanctuary believer, to use her contacts to escape from the city. Francis believes that Logan is running and sets out in pursuit to bring him back or terminate him.
There are many trials and tribulations during their escape from the city, not the least of which is Box, a cyborg played by Roscoe Lee Brown, whose job it is to store food for use by the residents of the city.
When they reach to outside, Logan and Jessica travel to the ruins of a city where they meet an old man who is played by Peter Ustinov. They’ve never seen an old person before so they a quite fascinated by him.
There are many criticisms of this movie including the costumes, the settings inside the domed city, and some plot discrepancies. These critics should be basically ignored because it is a great film, even though there are major differences between the movie script and the novel.
- Michael York – Logan
- Richard Jordan – Francis
- Jenny Agutter – Jessica 6
- Roscoe Lee Browne – Box
- Farrah Fawcett – Holly
- Michael Anderson Jr. – Doc
- Peter Ustinov – Old Man
- Randolph Roberts – 2nd Sanctuary Man
- Lara Lindsay – The Woman Runner
- Gary Morgan – Billy
- Michelle Stacy – Mary 2
- Laura Hippe – Woman Customer
- David Westberg – Sandman
- Camilla Carr – Sanctuary Woman
- Greg Lewis – Cub
- Ashley Cox – Timid Girl
- Bill Couch – Sandman
- Glenn R. Wilder – Great Hall Runner