A Clockwork Orange

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriters: Anthony Burgess, Stanley Kubrick

Institute History

  • 1992 Sundance Film Festival


If 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey out toward the limits of the universe, then A Clockwork Orange is a journey in, into the labyrinth of human consciousness, its needs and its desires. Again Kubrick creates a surreal world, this time the 1984ish milieu of Anthony Burgess’s novel, where order and morality are imposed through psychological conditioning, reducing man to a “clockwork orange,” a creature which appears human but acts like a machine. Our hero, or more aptly antihero, is Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a libidinous youth who lives by night, prowling the undersides of society with his gang of “droogs” in search of thrills. After a bold invasion of a middle-class home, Alex is captured and subjected to the Ludivico Technique, behavioral therapy which will subdue and civilize him at the expense of his individuality. The film creates a moral and emotional dilemma: do we side with Alex who, although socially repugnant, still represents freedom and creativity, or do we choose the B.F. Skinner environment which would render him docile but lifeless?

— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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