A Clockwork Orange

By Kigen Shealy and Ajay Dave

The Director: Stanley Kubrick

Kubrick's films are considered by many to be among the most important contributions to world cinema,and he is frequently cited as one of the greatest and most influential directors in the history of cinema. Many leading directors have cited Kubrick as a source of inspiration. Although However, many of Kubrick's films were misunderstood and under-appreciated when first released. Then came the realization that they were masterful works that were unlike any other films released thus far.


Kubrick's films typically involve expressions of an inner struggle, examined from different perspectives. He was very careful not to present his own views of the meaning of his films and leave them open to interpretation. Thus, he was focused on creating as realistic a picture as possible using cutting-edge cinematography and music, even if that picture was controversial. This is especially seen in A Clockwork Orange.
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No Happy Ending

The movie famously does not include the happy ending written and included in British versions of the book, in which Alex renounces his violent past and promises to try to be a good man. Kubrick based his film off of the American version of the novel, which ends with Alex sarcastically pronouncing himself as "cured".
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State of the Government

The government in the film is in shambles and in a state of desperation, while the government in the novel is quite strong. One example of this would be differences in the portrayal of P.R. Deltoid, Alex's "post-corrective advisor". In the novel, P.R. Deltoid has some moral authority, but in the film, Deltoid is sadistic and seems to have an almost sexual interest in Alex. Furthermore, the police in the novel are more adept at their jobs than they are in the film.
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Alex's Sacrilegious Nature

In the novel, references to religion are almost non-existent. In the film, Alex has an obsession with Jesus Christ. However, it is not one of idolatry. Rather, Alex's room is full of statues of Christ that are defiled with phallic images. This could be classified as classic teenage rebellion against an establishment. But later in film, Alex has a fantasy in which he is a Roman soldier whipping a crucified Christ. None of this is included in the novel, and it adds a much more sinister, almost revolting facet to Alex's personality.
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Alex's Age

In the novel, Alex is a 15-year-old juvenile delinquent. In the film, in order to minimize controversy, Alex is portrayed as somewhat older, around 17 or 18. 18 is considered the age of consent and adulthood, and thus Alex's "ultra-violence", rape, and overall sadism is more palatable than if he were a teenager. Malcolm McDowell's mature and harsh persona was picked by Kubrick for just this reason.
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Change in Power

Alex is beaten nearly to death by the police after his rehabilitation. In the film, the policemen are his former droogs, Dim and Georgie. In the book, instead of Georgie, the second officer is Billy Boy, the leader of the opposing gang that Alex and his droogs fought earlier, both in the movie and the book. Kubrick likely had Dim and Georgie attack Alex to create irony, for it is Alex who beats them both at the beginning of the film. Now, it their turn to enact their revenge for that earlier slight.

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Language

The novel at first glance seems to be written partly in gibberish. Burgess chose to use a mixture of Russian, English, and made-up words to create an alien-seeming world. in the film, Kubrick chose to remove the vast majority of the Russian and made-up words to make the film more accessible to viewers.
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Controversy and Acclaim

A Clockwork Orange was banned from several libraries and schools due to its language, violence, and overall sadistic protagonist. However, many of these instances came after the release of Kubrick's popular 1971 film adaptation. The film itself the subject of much controversy, despite its critically acclaim and nomination for several prestigious film awards. Kubrick was forced to remove several scenes to appease rating officials, and the film was blamed for several acts of rape and violence. Ultimately, the film was a step forward (or backward, depending on your view) in the level of depiction of violence in movies.
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