Logan’s Run is a 1976 American science fiction action film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett, and Peter Ustinov. The screenplay by David Zelag Goodman is based on the 1967 novel Logan’s Run by William F.
Produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film uses only the novel’s two basic premises: that everyone must die at a set age, and that Logan and companion Jessica attempt to escape while being chased by another Sandman named Francis. After aborted attempts to adapt the novel, story changes were made including raising the age of “last day” from 21 to 30 and introducing the idea of “Carrousel” [sic] for eliminating 30-year-olds. Its filming was marked by special-effects challenges in depicting Carrousel and innovative use of holograms and wide-angle lenses.
The film won a Special Academy Award for its visual effects and six Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film.
In the year 2274, the remnants of human civilisation live in a sealed city contained beneath a cluster of geodesic domes, a utopia run by a computer that takes care of all aspects of life, including reproduction. The citizens live a hedonistic lifestyle but, to prevent overpopulation, everyone must undergo the rite of “Carrousel” when they reach the age of 30. There, they are killed under the guise of being “renewed”.
To track this, each person is implanted at birth with a “life-clock” crystal in the palm of the left hand that changes color as they get older and begins blinking as they approach their “Last Day.” Most residents accept this chance for rebirth, but those who do not and attempt to flee the city are known as “Runners”. An elite team of policemen known as “Sandmen”, outfitted in predominantly black uniforms, are assigned to pursue and terminate Runners as they try to escape.
Washington D.C., 2274 – Logan 5 and Francis 7 are both Sandmen. After terminating a Runner, to whose presence they were alerted during a Carrousel rite, Logan finds an ankh among his possessions. Later that evening, he meets Jessica 6, a young woman also wearing an ankh pendant. Logan takes the ankh to the computer, which tells him that it is a symbol for a secret group whose members help the Runners find “Sanctuary”, a mythic place where they will be safe to live out the rest of their lives.
York, Agutter, and William Devane were cast in the lead roles, with Devane announced to play an “elite” Sandman in May 1975. Devane withdrew from the project and replaced Roy Thinnes in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1976 film Family Plot.
Richard Jordan stepped in for Devane and was best known for his performances in Lawman.
In its first five days in theatres in 1976, Logan’s Run grossed $2.5 million, a substantial sum at the time. The film finished its run with a gross of $25 million in North America, and a solid performance in other territories.
Logan’s Run explores utopian and dystopian themes, with the idea that characters willingly die instead of reaching advanced ages, reflecting the idea that “Utopias require its participants to give something up in order to create harmony and uniformity”. Common dystopian themes include an evil ruling authority, the confiscation of children from parents, life in a city, and the idea of human overpopulation, in this case causing the protagonists to leave the urban environment.