Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Logan’s Run – The View of the Future in the 1970’s

Written by David Zelag Goodman, William F. Nolan, and George Clayton Johnson
Directed by Michael Anderson

Back when I was young, in addition to all of the re-runs of the original Star Trek television series, there were a few science fiction films that I can remember having great enthusiasm for. One of those was Logan’s Run.

In the future, Earth has been ravaged by the effects of war and overpopulation. Those that remain live their lives in a great domes city, protected from the outside world and having their needs attended to by machines. The only catch is that life ends at 30, whether you want it to or not. All citizens on their 30th birthday go into carrousel which promises the chance for re-birth.

The population is controlled in that babies are not born of a father and mother but in sanitized nurseries devoid of any bond to parents and anything in any way resembling a family.

Logan 7 (portrayed by Michael York) is a “Sandman” – an enforcement officer who goes after the few who dare to run on their 30th birthdays. He enjoys his life for the most part and doesn’t challenge the way things are presented to him. He has bought the story of their paradise hook, line, and sinker.

That is until he meets a woman by the name of Jessica 6 (portrayed by Jenny Agutter). She speaks of a place called Sanctuary where all the runners strive to go. This sparks his interest, but Logan is a “company man” per se who doesn’t challenge authority. That is, until the computer that runs the entire complex assigns Logan to find Sanctuary, and turns him into a runner. Each person has a crystal on their palm which turns red when they reach 30. Logan’s turns red and the computer won’t answer him about whether he will get the years back.

The rest of the film follows Logan on his search for Sanctuary with Jessica. The two travel through areas of the city long forgotten about and unseen except by a few who live in the underbelly. They are pursued by someone who has been Logan’s best friend up until this point, Francis 7 (portrayed by Richard Jordan).

This film works in the same way that Planet of the Apes did at the time. It painted a vision of the future that was somewhat bleak for mankind. It seemed at the time that the world would sooner or later go up in a nuclear fireball and the only question was what would happen after that. The consensus among filmmakers at the time was that some of humanity would survive, it was just a question of what would happen next.

This time after what I assume was a dark nuclear time those left behind took control and decided they knew best for everyone and set up this structured city. After all, there’s nothing left to do in life after you reach 30, is there? Logan walks around with a smile on his face, but his life seems empty and devoid of any real meaning.

There are no high-tech effects to speak of. This is pretty much a character-driven piece and it works very well. Michael York is excellent as Logan, despite having a British accent in a city located somewhere in North America. He is good in the shallow moments as well as the times later on when his character must dig deeper and discover an inner humanity he never knew existed. Jenny Agutter is fine as his love interest, but she really doesn’t bring anything particularly dynamic to the role.

Jon Voight originally was supposed to portray Logan, and Lindsay Wagner was in line to portray Jenny. I don’t know about Voight in that role, but I think I would have liked to have seen Wagner as Jessica. The supporting cast is fine, but Logan is the driving force here, out to save humanity from itself. Look for a young, and at the time unknown, Farrah Fawcett among the cast.

I always liked viewing Logan’s Run when it was on television and now that I can view it on DVD and on my big-screen television I enjoyed it even more. The restoration was good. It’s not as high-quality as the digitally filmed movies of today, but it doesn’t have the fuzzy pictures I remember from my younger years, either.

Logan’s Run is a great picture to watch and the restoration makes it even better. If you like the original Planet of the Apes, then this is right up your alley.


” Commentary by Michael Anderson, Michael York, and Bill Thomas
• Theatrical Trailer
• Featurette

10 replies »

  1. Fun fact: Michael York is the stepdad to Rick McCallum, a film producer who, in the 1990s and 2000s, worked closely with George Lucas in the making of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and the documentaries that were made for the three DVD box sets of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.