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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother Special Edition)
Genres:
Black Comedy, Drama, Juvenile Delinquency Film, Psychological Sci-Fi, Satire, Science Fiction
Director:
Stanley Kubrick Stanley Kubrick
Starring:
Malcolm McDowell Malcolm McDowell
Patrick Magee Patrick Magee
Michael Bates Michael Bates
Warren Clarke Warren Clarke
John Clive John Clive

8.8 / 10 - 66 votes

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Protagonist Alex DeLarge is an "ultraviolent" youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, his eventually runs out and he's arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programmed to detest violence. If he goes through the program, his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex's ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: September 29, 2004
Alex (Malcolm McDowell) leads a gang consisting of three of his fellow "droogs", including a seemingly half-retarded fellow by the name of Dim (Warren Clarke), Georgie (James Marcus), a guy who's eying Alex's spot as the leader, and Pete (Michael Tarn), who is just sort of there in the background. Together, the foursome get into all sorts of mischief, including "the ol' ultra-violence" (beating random people senseless), as well as "a bit of the ol' in-out" (rape). They decide to have some fun with a couple living on the outskirts of town, which leads the gang to cripple Frank Alexander (Patrick Magee), an old man who had no hope of defending himself (all the while, Alex is singing "Dancing In The Rain"), and rape his wife (Adrienne Corri) in front of him. The next night, they decide to rob a cat-loving lady who runs a health resort (Miriam Karlin), as rumor suggests that she is quite loaded. Things don't quite go as planned, however, as Alex gets arrested for the unintentional murder of this woman, and is sentenced to forty years in prison while his buddies get away before the police arrive. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental treatment that will force a criminal to be a good-natured, honest citizen, which would allow said person to be released from prison early. Alex decides to try this treatment, and the rest of the film generally deals with the results of said treatment.

If you're one of the few who hasn't seen this classic, don't let the above description lead you to believe that that's all that happens. No sir, there's a huge amount of ground that I chose not to cover, to avoid spoiling it for those who may not have seen it. There's four main "chapters" to the film, with each covering a complete change in lifestyle and surroundings for Alex, with each having its own twists and memorable characters. Also, the movie is much more storyline-oriented than what the description up above would lead you to believe, as the rape and violence are very briefly shown, as well as being few and far between. Basically, this is one of those movies that's damn near impossible to describe to someone who hasn't seen it. However, if you do decide to check this one out, be prepared to enjoy one of the best films from legendary director Stanley Kubrick, as well as one of the best movies from the last thirty years.

When watching a movie with the intent to later review it, I'm much harder on films that have been deemed "classic" by a significant portion of viewers, as I believe that that label is tossed around much too easily in this day and age. Though I've seen this movie a number of times, I was indeed looking for anything that could be wrong on this viewing. Surprisingly enough, not a single thing was found. Though this movie runs for more than two hours in typical Kubrick fashion, it never slows down or gets boring enough to start checking the elapsed time on the DVD. Everything is balanced enough so that it never gets dull or repetitive, while simultaneously telling a great story (which does have a great underlying message). The slang that is used throughout the film also adds to the overall entertainment value for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on. I'm not sure if it was some sort of '70's UK slang, or if parts were made up solely for this film; I'd never heard a lot of these words, but then, I wasn't around in 1970-era UK either. Either way, it definitely added to the film. The acting here is also great, with nary a disappointing performance to be found. Malcolm McDowell (Alex) is by far the greatest character / actor here, turning in one of the best movie roles of all time. Another character that I was particularly fond of was the Hitler'esque jail guard, whose name I missed. That guy was beyond great in all of his scenes, almost stealing the show away from Malcolm. The great thing about the casting decisions here, is that the director chose not to use the standard formula that Hollywood uses in almost every one of their films (two-eight main characters, everyone else is basically an extra). This is not the case at all here, as there's really only one main character (Alex), but that doesn't mean that everyone else is an extra either. There's a number of characters who are integral to the storyline and pull out excellent performances, but are only needed for a few scenes. This was definitely a unique approach to things, one that should be explored more by other directors but sadly, isn't.

If you've already seen this film, I'd imagine that most would agree with my final rating. If you haven't seen this, you really need to at least find a copy to rent. It won't disappoint, and will probably be one of the best movies you've seen in quite some time. Final rating, 10/10.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 09/26/2004, 12:23 AM
About time this movie was added to the MvMMDI lineup!
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 09/30/2004, 05:17 AM
Most of the slang wasn't actually used in life at all and was made up for the book. Most of the words stem from the Russian language
KaOTiK #3: KaOTiK - added 02/08/2005, 08:57 AM
in one word, classic
Hammer P #4: Hammer P - added 05/23/2005, 01:35 AM
My favourite movie of all time...YOU MUST WATCH IT!!!
Symx #5: Symx - added 05/26/2005, 01:46 AM
I believe this is where Dave Mustaine, of Megadeth, got the name for his fans, who he calls Droogs
BuryMeAlive #6: BuryMeAlive - added 10/21/2005, 11:06 PM
A classic, it got some more hype then it is worth, still it is a masterpice.
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 12/29/2005, 04:26 PM
I own the soundtrack, original movie poster, t-shirt, book, DVD, and bobble head. My favorite movie of all time. Also my favorite book of all time.
Ginose #8: Ginose - added 12/31/2005, 08:16 PM
Kick-ass movie. but I couldn't stand the book. To damn in-coherant...
Tristan #9: Tristan - added 08/22/2007, 01:49 AM
Luckily I'd seen the movie first, so it made a bit more sense. The ending in the book is completely different then the movie. I kind of like the movie's ending better.
bluemeanie #10: bluemeanie - added 08/22/2007, 10:02 AM
Amazing film, but certainly not Kubrick's best. 8/10.
johannesfaust #11: johannesfaust - added 01/28/2009, 07:56 PM
one of the best...
Lucid Dreams #12: Lucid Dreams - added 05/26/2010, 11:27 PM
First time I saw this I was suppose to be standing watch, but I said fuck it and watched this instead. I wouldn't say it was perfect to me, but it was still a great movie. 9/10
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