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A Clockwork Orange Details


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 Sam Peckinpah), 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. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:February 2, 1971


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Malcolm McDowell Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1971 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Stanley Kubrick Best Director 1971 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Stanley Kubrick Best Director 1971 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Stanley Kubrick Best Director 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Stanley Kubrick Best Director 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Stanley Kubrick Best Adapted Screenplay 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Stanley Kubrick Best Picture 1971 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Stanley Kubrick Best Picture 1972 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bill Butler Best Editing 1971 Nominee


Malcolm McDowell
as Alex
Patrick Magee
as Mr. Frank Alexander
Adrienne Corri
as Mrs. Alexander
Warren Clarke
as Dim
Aubrey Morris
as P.R. Deltoid
Clive Francis
as Lodger
Michael Gover
as Prison Governor
Gillian Hills
as Sonietta
John Clive
as Stage Actor
David Prowse
as Julian
Steven Berkoff
as Constable
Margaret Tyzack
as Conspirator
Shirley Jaffe
Lee Fox
Richard Connaught
Carol Drinkwater
as Nurse Feeley
Madge Ryan
as Dr. Branum
Godfrey Quigley
as Prison Chaplain
Carl Duering
as Dr. Brodsky
Miriam Karlin
as Cat Lady
Cheryl Grunwald
as Rape Victim
Jan Adair
Vivienne Chandler
as Handmaiden
Michael Tarn
as Pete
Pauline Taylor
as Psychiatrist
Gaye Brown
Paul Farrell
as Tramp
Prudence Drage
Peter Burton
Katya Wyeth
as Girl
John Savident
as Conspirator
Barrie Cookson
Sheila Raynor
as Mum


Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Anthony Burgess
Book Author
Henry Purcell
Featured Music
Walter Carlos
Composer (Music Score)
Russell Hagg
Art Director
Bernard Williams
Associate Producer
Si Litvinoff
Executive Producer
Milena Canonero
Costume Designer
Dusty Symonds
First Assistant Director
Derek Cracknell
First Assistant Director
Roy Scammell
George Partleton
Freddie Williamson