A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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A Clockwork Orange

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Being the adventures of a young man ... who couldn't resist pretty girls ... or a bit of the old ultra-violence ... went to jail, was re-conditioned ... and came out a different young man ... or was he ?

Directed By Stanley Kubrick Stanley Kubrick Starring Malcolm McDowell Malcolm McDowell  •  Warren Clarke Warren Clarke  •  Patrick Magee Patrick Magee  •  Adrienne Corri Adrienne Corri  •  Aubrey Morris Aubrey Morris Genres Based-on-20th-Century-Literature  •  Dystopian Film  •  Juvenile Delinquency Film  •  Psychological Sci-Fi  •  Satire  •  Science Fiction Studios &
Academy Award Nominated  •  AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills  •  Academy Award Best Picture Nominated  •  They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?  •  1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die  •  Sight & Sound's Greatest Films of All Time Poll  •  AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition  •  Elder's Film That Changed My Life  •  BAFTA Award for Best Film Nominated  •  Alamo Drafthouse 100  •  Time Out: London's 100 Best British Films  •  Time Out: New York's 50 Most Controversial Movies  •  Complex's 50 Most Disturbing Movies  •  Time Out: London's 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies  •  Time Out: New York's 100 Best Movies of All Time  •  New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film Winning  •  The Cinemaholic's 100 Best Movies of All Time  •  They Shoot Zombies, Don't They? Top 1000 Horror Movies
Release Info 1971-12-19T00:00:00Z December 19, 1971
B&W and Color  •  136 minutes R Rated R
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A Clockwork Orange vs. The Sword of Doom

A Clockwork Orange The Sword of Doom VS.

jamesbaxter said on Wednesday

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Transformers vs. A Clockwork Orange

Transformers A Clockwork Orange VS.

lucaselmz123 said on 7/30/2020

"Danny237 I'll kill you actually because you are a fucking fascist and people like you I want dead" more ►

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Comments (26)


natalielecompte on 4/27/2013 Reply  · 

Although, this film was truly captivating, i just couldn't bring myself to rank it higher because it was so disturbing and sickening, however mcdowell's acting was flawless, which is probably why it was so difficult to watch.

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kanedryhurst on 1/19/2014 Reply  · 

I don't like the fact that some people think that this film is terrible and sick. If they had any brain cells then they could see past this and really appreciate the masterpiece which Kubrick has crafted.

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Area_hulk on 9/14/2014 Reply  · 

Wtf are you talking about? It has nothing to do with brain cells or being smart or anything? If some people think this is disturbing, they have the fucking right to. Seriously, again.... wtf?

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kanedryhurst on 1/19/2014 Reply  · 

I don't like the fact that some people think that this film is terrible and sick. If they had any brain cells then they could see past this and really appreciate the masterpiece which Kubrick has crafted.

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cheesydog1 on 4/13/2014 Reply  · 

The best Kubrick film right next to The Shining

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TheHonestFilmFan on 6/15/2014 Reply  · 

Malcolm McDowell gives the best performance in any Kubrick film. Simply astounding.

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TheMovieJunkie on 8/8/2014 Reply  · 

Boring British movie. I do not know why this is tagged as cyberpunk or sci-fi because it is neither. Just a bunch of British jargon and endless nudity.

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TheHonestFilmFan on 9/9/2014 Reply  · 

Yeah, fuck the British and their jargon, amirite? It's not even cyberpunk, so why does it exist?

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MasterRater on 9/14/2014 Reply  · 

My God, I hope young people nowadays don't consider masterfully movies like these boring?

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AverageMovieBuff on 4/20/2015 Reply  · 

Only the ignorant ones, like The MovieJunkie.

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Arthouse on 10/3/2014 Reply  · 

Film like no other I've seen

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AverageMovieBuff on 10/26/2014 Reply  · 

Have you ever seen a movie LIKE this one? No, you haven't. It is completely original, you will never see a film like this anywhere. It is a twisted satire and extremely dark. It was banned for almost thirty years in Britain and still holds a reputation for being one of the best movies ever, and rightly so. This is a masterpiece. Look up masterpiece on the dictionary and this wouldn't seem out of place as the definition. A timeless Kubrick classic. Not for the weak hearted though.

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hambone88 on 12/3/2014 Reply  · 

A pretty good movie, but there are some scenes that were a little hard to watch. I give it a 8/10

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Danny237 on 3/4/2015 Reply  · 

Seen this again, and like Shining and 2001, is absolutely better

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Danny237 on 3/7/2015 Reply  · 

Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" is an ideological mess, a paranoid right-wing fantasy masquerading As an Orwellian warning. It pretends to oppose the police state and forced mind control, but all it really does is celebrate the nastiness of its hero, Alex.

I don't know quite how to explain my disgust at Alex (whom Kubrick likes very much, as his visual style reveals and as we shall see in a moment). Alex is the sort of fearsomely strange person we've all run across a few times in our lives -- usually when he and we were children, and he was less inclined to conceal his hobbies. He must have been the kind of kid who tore off the wings of flies and ate ants just because that was so disgusting. He was the kid who always seemed to know more about sex than anyone else, too -- and especially about how dirty it was.

Alex has grown up in "A Clockwork Orange," and now he's a sadistic rapist. I realize that calling him a sadistic rapist -- just like that -- is to stereotype poor Alex a little. But Kubrick doesn't give us much more to go on, except that Alex likes Beethoven a lot. Why he likes Beethoven is never explained, but my notion is that Alex likes Beethoven in the same way that Kubrick likes to load his sound track with familiar classical music -- to add a cute, cheap, dead-end dimension.

Now Alex isn't the kind of sat-upon, working-class anti-hero we got in the angry British movies of the early 1960s. No effort is made to explain his inner workings or take apart his society. Indeed, there's not much to take apart; both Alex and his society are smart-nose pop-art abstractions. Kubrick hasn't created a future world in his imagination -- he's created a trendy decor. If we fall for the Kubrick line and say Alex is violent because "society offers him no alternative," weep, sob, we're just making excuses.

Alex is violent because it is necessary for him to be violent in order for this movie to entertain in the way Kubrick intends. Alex has been made into a sadistic rapist not by society, not by his parents, not by the police state, not by centralization and not by creeping fascism -- but by the producer, director and writer of this film, Stanley Kubrick. Directors sometimes get sanctimonious and talk about their creations in the third person, as if society had really created Alex. But this makes their direction into a sort of cinematic automatic writing. No, I think Kubrick is being too modest: Alex is all his.

I say that in full awareness that "A Clockwork Orange" is based, somewhat faithfully, on a novel by Anthony Burgess. Yet I don't pin the rap on Burgess. Kubrick has used visuals to alter the book's point of view and to nudge us toward a kind of grudging pal-ship with Alex.

Kubrick's most obvious photographic device this time is the wide-angle lens. Used on objects that are fairly close to the camera, this lens tends to distort the sides of the image. The objects in the center of the screen look normal, but those on the edges tend to slant upward and outward, becoming bizarrely elongated. Kubrick uses the wide-angle lens almost all the time when he is showing events from Alex's point of view; this encourages us to see the world as Alex does, as a crazy-house of weird people out to get him.

When Kubrick shows us Alex, however, he either places him in the center of a wide-angle shot (so Alex alone has normal human dimensions,) or uses a standard lens that does not distort. So a visual impression is built up during the movie that Alex, and only Alex, is normal.

Kubrick has another couple of neat gimmicks to build Alex into a hero instead of a wretch. He likes to shoot Alex from above, letting Alex look up at us from under a lowered brow. This was also a favorite Kubrick angle in the close-ups in "2001: A Space Odyssey," and in both pictures, Kubrick puts the lighting emphasis on the eyes. This gives his characters a slightly scary, messianic look.

And then Kubrick makes all sorts of references at the end of "A Clockwork Orange" to the famous bedroom (and bathroom) scenes at the end of "2001." The echoing water-drips while Alex takes his bath remind us indirectly of the sound effects in the "2001" bedroom, and then Alex sits down to a table and a glass of wine. He is photographed from the same angle Kubrick used in "2001" to show us Keir Dullea at dinner. And then there's even a shot from behind, showing Alex turning around as he swallows a mouthful of wine.

This isn't just simple visual quotation, I think. Kubrick used the final shots of "2001" to ease his space voyager into the Space Child who ends the movie. The child, you'll remember, turns large and fearsomely wise eyes upon us, and is our savior. In somewhat the same way, Alex turns into a wide eyed child at the end of "A Clockwork Orange," and smiles mischievously as he has a fantasy of rape. We're now supposed to cheer because he's been cured of the anti-rape, anti-violence programming forced upon him by society during a prison "rehabilitation" process.

What in hell is Kubrick up to here? Does he really want us to identify with the antisocial tilt of Alex's psychopathic little life? In a world where society is criminal, of course, a good man must live outside the law. But that isn't what Kubrick is saying, He actually seems to be implying something simpler and more frightening: that in a world where society is criminal, the citizen might as well be a criminal, too.

Well, enough philosophy. We'll probably be debating "A Clockwork Orange" for a long time -- a long, weary and pointless time. The New York critical establishment has guaranteed that for us. They missed the boat on "2001," so maybe they were trying to catch up with Kubrick on this one. Or maybe the news weeklies just needed a good movie cover story for Christmas.

I don't know. But they've really hyped "A Clockwork Orange" for more than it's worth, and a lot of people will go if only out of curiosity. Too bad. In addition to the things I've mentioned above -- things I really got mad about -- "A Clockwork Orange" commits another, perhaps even more unforgivable, artistic sin. It is just plain talky and boring. You know there's something wrong with a movie when the last third feels like the last half.
EBERT, Roger
My God...

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AverageMovieBuff on 4/20/2015 Reply  · 

I really don't understand the complaints you're making with the film. Alex is our protagonist, sure but we have the CHOICE to sympathize with him. He is a terrifying fiend, that's for sure but Kubrick wasn't promoting this sort of behavior.

Alex is most likely representative of the youths living at the time, clueless delinquents, selfish monsters who glorified crime and did as they pleased. The film focuses on the criminal acts of Alex as he is the main character and only to empahasise his moral corruption. In fact, everyone in the film is somewhat morally corrupt. The teacher is an obvious pedophile, the police officer is extremely brutal, the priest is condoning of torture and the scientists are sadistic.

Alex is not the only representation of corruption in the film so don't complain about his significance with presenting criminality. After Alex is released, he then experiences karma from all of those he abused and took for granted: His parents, his gang members, the homeless and the old man. Alex could be sympathized with here or the audience could be satisfied with the result.

Alex is then driven to suicide to show how a civilian of the corrupt society will go to extremes in order to achieve satisfaction with revenge. The ending in which he glorifies his fantasies just shows the returning of his sick ways and this is unambiguously revealed to be his 'cure' of his prior inabilities to love such crude things.

The subtle political theme in play is just a way of presenting the corruption of the future society and how Alex is a product of that. He resides in the Korova Milk Bar at night, seeing it as his fortress in which he rules. He is a self-entitled, brutal and sadistic delinquent, yes. He is also adapted from Burgess' novel and is clearly expressed to be a product of corruption.

Anyway, that's my outlook on the film. I regard it as a masterpiece and my favorite movie of all time. I don't know if I hit all your points, if you wanna debate A Clockwork Orange or any movie, just comment on my profile.

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AverageMovieBuff on 4/20/2015 Reply  · 

Oh shit, sorry. This was what Ebert said, or you? Anyway, I oppose to what was said anyway.

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PiccoloKing on 6/5/2018 Reply  · 

This is why Ebert was a master film critic. Saw right through this pretentious garbage.

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thejamin on 4/12/2015 Reply  · 

I absolutely love A Clockwork Orange! Probably my favorite Kubrick film! I think it gets better with every viewing.

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seve24 on 5/23/2015 Reply  · 

One of the best movies ever made. One of Kubrick's top three best films.

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jakesnake21 on 5/25/2015 Reply  · 

I don't understand people who say it's hard to watch ... It's not that violent .

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TommyDoyle78 on 11/24/2015 Reply  · 

My 300th ranked movie!

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Eagleskywalker87 on 9/1/2017 Reply  · 

There's a lot to love in this film (the character of Alex, the art direction, most of the social commentary, the overall futuristic vibe, etc.) but I personally didn't love it. It goes a little too far with some of its themes and I thought Alex's character development went backwards in the end.

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PiccoloKing on 9/28/2018 Reply  · 

Anthony Burgess was not a fan of Kubrick's Lolita, and he feared what would happen to his A Clockwork Orange when all the sex and violence had to be visualized on the big screen. "Lolita could not work well," Burgess had written, "because Kubrick had found no cinematic equivalent to Nabokov's literary extravagance. Additionally, Burgess realized he'd been cheated because he wasn't paid anything for A Clockwork Orange. Years earlier, Burgess had sold the film rights for a few hundred dollars, and regardless of how the film version performed at the box office, Burgess would see no profit points. Worse, "Kubrick went on paring his nails in Borehamwood," complained Burgess, leaving the publicity chores to McDowell and the novelist, who was even called upon to attend the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards on Kubrick's behalf. There at Sardi's restaurant, Burgess got his revenge, since he quickly won the hearts and laughter of the assembled film reviewers when he declared, "I have been sent by God – Stanley Kubrick – to accept his award!" Burgess, for his part, grew to hate the film. Or Kubrick. Or both. When he adapted his novel for the stage, he made sure to include the following stage direction: "A man bearded like Stanley Kubrick comes on playing, in exquisite counterpoint, 'Singin' in the Rain' on a trumpet. He is kicked off the stage."

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