Time Out says
A wonderful film. The message of 2001: A Space Odyssey (for which Trumbull did the special effects) was that man needed guidance from beyond; the message of Silent Running, symbolically set in the year 2001, is that man (and his creations: the film's robots) must, even at the risk of madness, be his own saviour. Adrift in space in a literal Garden of Eden that was intended to refurbish an Earth devastated by nuclear war, Bruce Dern refuses to destroy his private world when ordered to. Instead, with the help of his drones (robots), he tends his garden, and then sends it out into deep space to seed a possible second chance for mankind. Full of stunning visuals, the ideas in the film more than compensate for the awkward scene-setting of the beginning.