A Clockwork Orange (1972)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 16 mins

Where did you watch this movie?

In a near-futuristic society, late teen Alex DeLarge is the leader of a gang of thugs - his "droogs" - who commit acts of ultra-violence, often with sexual components, without any regard for their victims, and purely because it strikes their collective fancies. These acts are largely fueled by drug use. In addition, Alex is a lover of music, especially that of Ludwig van Beethoven, which, when he listens to it during these acts, intensifies his pleasure, and in turn inspires him to commit further such acts. He does not tolerate any challenge to his leadership by his droogs. Although the authorities in general know of Alex's delinquency, they have so far been unable to catch him in the act of his crimes, until one night after a sexual assault of an older woman. Alex and Alex alone is charged, convicted and incarcerated. But Alex sees what he believes is an easy way out when the government looks for subjects to participate in a new rehabilitation therapy, the end result being release from prison after the two week therapy. The therapy ends up having consequences that Alex did not envision. The questions become how Alex will function, and how others will act toward him in his changed state.
Movie Rating
Based on 0 rating
Music Rating
Based on 0 rating
Did you know? The language spoken by Alex and his droogs is author Anthony Burgess's invention, "Nadsat": a mix of English, Russian and slang. Stanley Kubrick was afraid that they had used too much of it, and that the movie would not be accessible. The original edition of the novel suffered from similar criticisms, and a Nadsat glossary appendix was added to the second and subsequent editions. Read More
No reviews available. Click here to add a review.
as Mrs. Alexander
as Mr. Alexander
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor

Direction

Director

Production

Producer
Production Company

Distribution

Distributor

Writers

Screenplay Writer
Novelist

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Art

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

Editorial

Editor
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, Mono
Camera:
ARRIFLEX 35 IIC
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Filming Locations:
Goofs:
Audio/Video Mismatch
When the rampaging Alex is performing "Singing In The Rain," leaning over Frank, his mouth is not moving.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When the two policemen try to drown Alex in the water trough, we can still hear his voice unimpeded.

Character Error
Alex's last name is inconsistent (see trivia). When he goes into jail, he gives his name as DeLarge, but the newspaper articles call him Burgess.

Character Error
There is a running theme of the Government referring to Citizens and the State, implying that Great Britain has abolished the monarchy in this "future". Yet the prison is called "HM Prison Parkmoor", HM being a common designation for Her/His Majesty.

Continuity
The amount of spaghetti on Alex' plate increases after he has already eaten some of it.

Continuity
Just before Alex and Miss Weathers fight in the health farm, the room is full of cats. During the fight, the panning camera reveals that there are no cats in the room. The cats mysteriously reappear immediately after the battle.

Continuity
When Alex was reading from the Bible, and asks the priest to talk with him in private, we see the priest putting his hand on Alex's shoulder, while in an another cut we see him preparing him self to put his hand on him.

Continuity
(at around 33 mins) The water of the flat lot marina changes in turbulence several times, low waves at first and then less choppy while Dim is falling and finally completely still as he hits the water.

Continuity
During the Ludovico scene, the voiceover of Alex says he cannot move his eyes, but does so later on.

Continuity
During Alex's slow-motion attack on his gang members by the Marina River, a dirty black patch appears---then disappears----on the leg of his white trousers.

Crew/Equipment Visible
In the music store, the camera is briefly reflected in the mirrors to the right.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Alex and the Cat Lady are fighting at the house, the shadow of the camera can be seen on each of them.

Miscellaneous
When Mr Deltoid visits Alex, we had already seen Alex's parents talking to each other, and they had now left, yet there is still a set of false teeth in a glass in the bedroom.

Revealing Mistakes
When riding in the sports car at very high speed, Georgie is not holding his hat, so it should fly off.

Revealing Mistakes
The wine Alex drinks appears far too light in color to be a 10 year old Medoc. Stanley Kubrick did use the actual wine described by Alex (specifically a 1960 Chateau Beau Site Haut Vignoble). But after each take water was added, ostensibly to keep the wine level consistent without intoxicating Malcolm McDowell. By the time Kubrick got what he wanted the wine was visibly watered down.

Revealing Mistakes
At the beginning of the movie, it's cold enough to see the breath of Alex and the droogs, but when the tramp is speaking, we don't see his breath.

Revealing Mistakes
During the high speed car ride, the trees and greenery on both sides of the road are illuminated. As the viewpoint is looking backwards from the front of the car, everything that we see is behind the vehicle, and as there are no streetlights it should all be in darkness.

Revealing Mistakes
When the brutal police try to drown Alex in the water trough, you can tell that the water has been warmed because there is steam coming from it.

Revealing Mistakes
When Alex is licking the stage man's shoe, it's supposed to be filthy but is visibly clean.

Revealing Mistakes
In the final scene in the hospital, two large speakers are moved to the foot of Alex's bed. One of the actors slightly bumps the right hand speaker which moves easily, indicating that it is an empty box.

Revealing Mistakes
During the Ludovico scene, the voiceover of Alex says he cannot move his eyes, but does so later on.

Factual Mistake
When Alex jumps out of the window, the camera view gives the impression that we are seeing Alex's view of the onrushing ground. However, he does a flip, winding up with his back pointing to the ground so the camera angle is inconsistent.

Revealing Mistakes
After Alex tries to kill himself, we see him in the hospital and he appears to have a bathing suit (or gym shorts) tan line.
Trivia:
The doorbell at the Alexander residence, "Home", plays the first four notes of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" (but in a different key).

The film was released just over a year after principal photography began, the fastest film shot, edited and released by Stanley Kubrick.

As he would go on to do in Barry Lyndon (1975) (to Oscar-winning effect), director of photography John Alcott lit most of the film using only natural light.

The Car used by Alex and the droogs was the "Adams Probe 16", one of three ever made.

The two copycat crimes that prompted Stanley Kubrick to have the film withdrawn in the United Kingdom were the rape of a Dutch girl in Lancashire in 1973 at the hands of men singing "Singin' in the Rain" and the beating of a 16 year old boy who had beaten a younger child whilst wearing Alex's uniform of white overalls, a black bowler hat and combat boots.

Korova Milk Bar is named after the Russian word for cow. Moloko (written on the wall) means milk. The bar's sculptures were based on the work of sculptor Allen Jones. Stanley Kubrick had the milk dispensers emptied, washed and refilled every hour, as the milk curdled under the studio lights. A painting on the wall reappears in Kubrick's The Shining (1980).

Rated #2 of the 25 most controversial movies of all time by Entertainment Weekly, 16 June 2006. Rated by Premiere as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies". Rated as the #70 Greatest Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute, 2007. Rated #4 out of 10 by the American Film Institute's "Sci-Fi" list, June 2008.

When Alex is being waterboarded, there is a barely perceptible microcut - in which Malcolm McDowell was able to use the oxygen mask that was hidden in the water. The bath was muddied by using Bovril, a beef extract.

It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned when his breathing apparatus failed during filming of the waterboarding scene. This is not true. Daily records indicate that the scene was filmed in repeated takes with no stoppage from equipment failure. McDowell has never reported a near drowning, while he does report many similar close calls in other scenes.

The doctor standing over Alex as he is being forced to watch violent films was a real doctor, ensuring that Malcolm McDowell's eyes didn't dry up.

Alex performing "Singing in the Rain" as he attacks the writer and his wife was not scripted. Stanley Kubrick spent four days experimenting with this scene, finding it too conventional. Eventually he approached Malcolm McDowell and asked him if he could dance. They tried the scene again, this time with McDowell dancing and singing the only song he could remember. Kubrick was so amused that he swiftly bought the rights to "Singing in the Rain" for $10,000.

The snake, Basil, was introduced into the film by Stanley Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles.

When Malcolm McDowell met Gene Kelly at a party several years later, the older star turned and walked away in disgust. Kelly was deeply upset about the way his signature from Singin' in the Rain (1952) had been portrayed in A Clockwork Orange (1971).

Anthony Burgess originally sold the movie rights to Mick Jagger for $500 when he needed quick cash. Jagger intended to make it with The Rolling Stones as the droogs, but then re-sold the rights for a much larger amount. Ken Russell was then nominated to direct because his style was considered well-suited for the material. He would have cast Oliver Reed as Alex. Tinto Brass was another possible director. At some point, someone suggested rewriting the droogs to be girls in miniskirts or old-age pensioners. Tim Curry and Jeremy Irons turned down the role of Alex. Stanley Kubrick once said "If Malcolm McDowell hadn't been available I probably wouldn't have made the film." Author Anthony Burgess initially distrusted Kubrick as a director, but was happy with the results. He felt the film later made the book, one of his least favorite books he had written, overshadow his other work.

Stanley Kubrick had his assistant destroy all unused footage.

According to Malcolm McDowell (on the commentary track from the 2007 DVD release), the sped-up sex scene was originally filmed as an unbroken take lasting 28 minutes.

Before filming the scene where he had to carry Patrick Magee's wheelchair up the stairs, professional bodybuilder David Prowse went up to Stanley Kubrick and asked if he could make sure that (due to the difficulty of the task) he got the scene in as few takes as possible, saying, "You're not exactly known as 'one-take-Kubrick', are you?" The rest of the crew was horrified at such a famous director being talked to like this, but Kubrick just laughed and promised to do his best. The scene was filmed in only three takes, an incredibly small amount for a perfectionist like Kubrick. Even so, Prowse was near exhaustion after the repeated takes of him carrying Frank and his wheelchair down the stairs.

During the filming of the Ludovico scene, star Malcolm McDowell scratched one of his corneas and was temporarily blinded. He suffered cracked ribs during filming of the humiliation stage show.

Contrary to popular claims, this was never banned in the UK. It originally received an "X" rating in 1971 and was withdrawn from distribution in 1973 by Stanley Kubrick himself. One of Kubrick's reasons for withdrawing the movie in the UK was that, according to his wife Christiane Kubrick, he and his family received several death threats because of the film. In the 1980s and 1990s, British fans who wanted to see this movie would have to order it from video stores in other countries, usually France. In 1993 London's popular Scala Film Club showed this movie without permission. At Kubrick's insistence, Warner Brothers sued and won, causing the Scala to close in near bankruptcy. In 2000, the year after Kubrick's death, the film was released again throughout Great Britain and received an "18" rating.

Before the rape scene was filmed, Adrienne Corri walked up to Malcolm McDowell and said, "Well, Malcolm, today you're going to find out I'm a real redhead".

Stanley Kubrick's first cut (before hiring several assistant editors) ran almost four hours.

Malcolm McDowell chose to play Alex speaking in his normal Northern English accent instead of a Cockney accent. McDowell felt his softer accent would strike an interesting contrast with Alex's menacing personality and also help him stand out amongst his friends.

Although he is playing a 15-year-old (17 in the latter half), Malcolm McDowell was actually 27 at the time of filming.

Unusually for a film of this period, all the credits are at the end.

While recording narration, Malcolm McDowell would often feel the need to stretch his legs. So to satisfy McDowell and quite possibly get better narration from him, Stanley Kubrick and McDowell would play table tennis (a sport featured in Kubrick's own Lolita (1962)), and although they played many games, Kubrick never beat a rather skilled McDowell at table tennis. McDowell was later irritated to find that his salary had been docked for the hours spent playing the game. McDowell often kept Kubrick highly amused by his ability to belch on command (as illustrated at various points of the movie). They would play chess as well, and with Kubrick being the excellent chess player he was, McDowell never managed to beat him at Chess, something that was a regular thing with many actors in Kubrick's films. He would regularly beat George C. Scott at Chess while making Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) , and also Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall on The Shining (1980).

In the scene after Alex talks with the priest about Ludovico therapy, we see the prisoners marching in a circle around the exercise yard, recreating an 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh, "Prisoners Exercising (after Gustave Doré)".

Anthony Burgess was raised a strict Roman Catholic and originally wrote his novel as a parable about Christian free will and forgiveness. His take on it was that to be a true Christian, one had to forgive the most horrifying of acts, something Burgess knew only too well, having seen his wife be assaulted and beaten by soldiers during World War II. This attack resulted in a miscarriage and a lifetime of gynecological troubles for his wife.

In the police station scene when Mr Deltoid (Aubrey Morris) spits in Alex's face, it is actually Steven Berkoff doing the spitting. After several takes, Morris complained to Stanley Kubrick that he had run out of saliva, and Berkoff volunteered his services until Kubrick's cameras captured the perfect 'spit-shot'.

The final scene was done after 74 takes.

The first movie to make use of Dolby sound, it used Dolby noise reduction on all pre-mixes and masters, but a conventional optical sound track on release prints.

The language spoken by Alex and his droogs is author Anthony Burgess's invention, "Nadsat": a mix of English, Russian and slang. Stanley Kubrick was afraid that they had used too much of it, and that the movie would not be accessible. The original edition of the novel suffered from similar criticisms, and a Nadsat glossary appendix was added to the second and subsequent editions.

The Korova milk bar at the start was the only set built for the film.

Malcolm McDowell is actually urinating in the toilet scene early in the film, when he goes home and prepares for bed. He drank a lot of coffee before filming the shot.

Malcolm McDowell's eyes were anesthetized for the torture scenes so that he would film for periods of time without too much discomfort. Nevertheless his corneas got repeatedly scratched by the metal lid locks.

The film was unavailable for public viewing in the UK from 1973 until 2000, the year after Stanley Kubrick's death. British video stores were so inundated with requests for the movie that some took to putting up signs that read: 'No, we do not have A Clockwork Orange (1971).'