Clockwork Orange
  • Clockwork Orange
  • Clockwork Orange

Clockwork Orange

4.5 37
Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates


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Stanley Kubrick dissects the nature of violence in this darkly ironic, near-future satire, adapted from Anthony Burgess's novel, complete with "Nadsat" slang. Classical music-loving proto-punk Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on "a little of the old ultraviolence," such as terrorizing a… See more details below

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Stanley Kubrick dissects the nature of violence in this darkly ironic, near-future satire, adapted from Anthony Burgess's novel, complete with "Nadsat" slang. Classical music-loving proto-punk Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on "a little of the old ultraviolence," such as terrorizing a writer, Mr. Alexander (Patrick Magee), and gang raping his wife (who later dies as a result). After Alex is jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady (Miriam Karlin) to death with one of her phallic sculptures, Alex submits to the Ludovico behavior modification technique to earn his freedom; he's conditioned to abhor violence through watching gory movies, and even his adored Beethoven is turned against him. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims, with Mr. Alexander using Beethoven's "Ninth" to inflict the greatest pain of all. When society sees what the state has done to Alex, however, the politically expedient move is made. Casting a coldly pessimistic view on the then-future of the late '70s-early '80s, Kubrick and production designer John Barry created a world of high-tech cultural decay, mixing old details like bowler hats with bizarrely alienating "new" environments like the Milkbar. Alex's violence is horrific, yet it is an aesthetically calculated fact of his existence; his charisma makes the icily clinical Ludovico treatment seem more negatively abusive than positively therapeutic. Alex may be a sadist, but the state's autocratic control is another violent act, rather than a solution. Released in late 1971 (within weeks of Sam Peckinpah's brutally violent Straw Dogs), the film sparked considerable controversy in the U.S. with its X-rated violence; after copycat crimes in England, Kubrick withdrew the film from British distribution until after his death. Opinion was divided on the meaning of Kubrick's detached view of this shocking future, but, whether the discord drew the curious or Kubrick's scathing diagnosis spoke to the chaotic cultural moment, A Clockwork Orange became a hit. On the heels of New York Film Critics Circle awards as Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, Kubrick received Oscar nominations in all three categories.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A splendidly cynical adaptation of Anthony Burgess's controversial novel, Stanley Kubrick's cult classic initially revolted moviegoers with its savage violence and apocalyptic view of a not-too-distant future. Three decades later, this bravura film, perhaps Kubrick's greatest, retains the ability to shock; moreover, its message seems more timely than ever. Malcolm McDowell is brilliant as the ringleader of a small band of thugs who roam the city streets by night seeking thrills, preying upon hapless citizens. Finally apprehended by the authorities, he is subjected to reconditioning in a government-implemented aversion-therapy program and returned to a dystopian society. Kubrick presents the depredations of McDowell and his "droogs" in a manner that is unremitting yet highly stylized; with his signature elegance and control, the director manages to suggest much more than he shows, and the effect is chilling. While differing from the Burgess novel in minor narrative details, Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange captures the book's essence much more completely than most literary adaptations. Although Kubrick leavens the stomach-churning violence with satire, he hews closely to the message set down in Burgess's book: Free will must be preserved, whatever the consequences, because attempts at governmental control of thought and behavior pose a far greater danger.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
After the visionary journey through space and time of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick offered a very different look at the future (which seemed uncomfortably close to the present) in A Clockwork Orange. But if one has to compare A Clockwork Orange to any of Kubrick's other films, it comes closest to Dr. Strangelove: for all its horrific violence and troubling moral ambiguity, it is ultimately a satire, and, like Dr. Strangelove, it wrings a shocking amount of humor from situations that few people would think of as funny. With the notable exception of Alex (Malcolm McDowell in the best performance of his career), most of the characters are little more than cartoons (with dialogue to match), while a great deal of the violence walks a fine line between Looney Tunes absurdity and crushingly vivid brutality. Kubrick's future state is often garish and ugly, veering between an amusingly hideous riot of color and texture gone wrong and the decaying remnants of a cinder-block nation (remarkably, Kubrick and production designer John Barry built only one set for the entire film, with everything else shot on existing locations that were dressed in "futuristic" style). And Kubrick throws in plenty of crude comic relief that suggests some degenerate variation on a Carry On film; from the overexcited school representative to the doctor and nurse enjoying recreational sex as Alex regains consciousness, Kubrick places his grim vision in an England where foolish absurdity is the order of the day. And while Alex seems one of the few characters capable of making a complex moral choice (never mind how sinister his choices happen to be), he also takes his choice more seriously than anyone else in the film. Alex has adopted violent hedonism not out of profit, politics, or pragmatism, but because he likes it, and, while this makes him difficult to admire, he's still the smartest and freest man in the film's moral universe.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Disc 1: ; Commentary by Malcolm McDowell and historian Nick Redman; Theatrical trailer; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français, & Español; (Main feature. Bonus material/trailer may not be subtitled).; ; Disc 2: ; Channel Four documentary Still Tickin': The Return of Clockwork Orange; New featurette Great Bolshy Yarblockos!: Making A Clockwork Orange; Career profile O Lucky Malcolm! produced/directed by Jan Harlan, edited by Katia de Vidas

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Malcolm McDowell Alex
Patrick Magee Mr. Frank Alexander
Michael Bates Chief Guard
Adrienne Corri Mrs. Alexander
Warren Clarke Dim
Aubrey Morris P.R. Deltoid
Steven Berkoff Constable
Gaye Brown Actor
Peter Burton Actor
Lindsay Campbell Inspector
Vivienne Chandler Handmaiden
Carol Drinkwater Nurse Feeley
Lee Fox Actor
Gillian Hills Sonietta
Barbara Scott Marty
Virginia Wetherell Stage Actress
Neil Wilson Actor
Katya Wyeth Girl
James Marcus Georgie
John Carney C.I.D. Official
John Clive Stage Actor
Carl Duering Dr. Brodsky
Paul Farrell Tramp
Clive Francis Lodger
Michael Gover Prison Governor
Miriam Karlin Cat Lady
Godfrey Quigley Prison Chaplain
Sheila Raynor Mum
Madge Ryan Dr. Branum
John Savident Conspirator
Anthony Sharp Minister
Philip Stone Dad
Pauline Taylor Psychiatrist
Margaret Tyzack Conspirator
David Prowse Julian
Richard Connaught Actor
Jan Adair Actor
Barrie Cookson Actor
Prudence Drage Actor
Cheryl Grunwald Rape Victim
Craig Hunter Dr. Friendly
Shirley Jaffe Actor
Michael Tarn Pete

Technical Credits
Stanley Kubrick Director,Producer,Screenwriter
John Alcott Cinematographer
John Barry Production Designer
Bill Butler Editor
Milena Canonero Costumes/Costume Designer
Wendy Carlos Score Composer
Derek Cracknell Asst. Director
Barbara Daly Makeup
Dusty Symonds Asst. Director
Russell Hagg Art Director
John Jordan Sound/Sound Designer
Si Litvinoff Executive Producer
George Partleton Makeup
Max Raab Executive Producer
Roy Scammell Stunts
Peter Shields Art Director
Bernard Williams Associate Producer
Freddie Williamson Makeup

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Clockwork Orange: Feature Presentation
1. Alex and His Droogs [2:15]
2. The Old Ultraviolence on a Tramp [2:10]
3. Battling Billy Boy [3:04]
4. Through the Real Country Dark [1:26]
5. Country House [4:23]
6. Disciplining Dim [3:24]
7. At Home With Ludwig Van [3:15]
8. Home Ill; Mr. Deltoid [5:45]
9. The Music Shop [2:17]
10. Two Ladies [:58]
11. Dissent Among Droogs [4:14]
12. A Real Leader [3:11]
13. The Cat Lady's House [7:01]
14. Now a Murderer [3:48]
15. Prisoner #655321 [5:35]
16. The Chaplain's Remarks [2:33]
17. Big Book Fantasies [5:48]
18. The Minister's Visit [6:00]
19. Arrival at Ludovico [3:53]
20. "And Vidi Films I Would." [4:19]
21. "I'm Cured. Praise God!" [3:42]
22. On Display [4:44]
23. The Sickness [2:17]
24. Your True Christian [1:50]
25. Family Reunion [3:44]
26. No Room for Alex [4:01]
27. Three Familiar Faces [3:35]
28. Droogs With Badges [2:52]
29. Return to the Country House [7:12]
30. Mr. Alexander's Hospitality [11:33]
31. The Hospital [2:53]
32. A Slide Show [3:34]
33. A Very Special Visitor [4:56]
34. "I Was Cured, All Right." [1:22]
35. End Credits [2:40]
Disc #2 -- A Clockwork Orange: Special Features
1. Opening Montage [2:49]
2. Come on, Come On [4:11]
3. If.... [5:35]
4. A Clockwork Orange [7:40]
5. Weird Effect [8:14]
6. O Lucky Man! [7:11]
7. Caligula [1:58]
8. Time After Time [5:20]
9. McDowell Generations [5:46]
10. Gangster No. I, Between Strangers [6:12]
11. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead [5:20]
12. Diabolical Storyteller [4:56]
13. The Company [3:19]
14. Red Roses and Petrol [4:08]
15. As Great As Film Acting Gets [1:52]
16. Evilenko [8:05]
17. Summing up; End Credits [3:21]

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