A Clockwork Orange (1971) Review

A young man named Alex DeLarge is living a life filled with murder and rape, but his luck runs out when his “brothers” turn on him and he is arrested for his vicious crimes.

Last night was the first time I have ever watched this film, I must admit that I was quite scared to watch it as had heard a lot about the violence and rape. I wasn’t sure if this was a film that I wanted to watch, but I eventually gave it a go last night and can understand why it was banned in many places and different cuts of the film had to be made. It is certainly one of the most messed up films I have ever seen, but also engaging as I just wanted to see what happened in the end.

The rape and violent scenes are very extreme and difficult to watch, kind of made me want to turn the film off but something was stopping me doing that as I wanted to find out what happened to Alex and hoping that he would eventually get what he deserved. He then ended up involved in a new psychological experiment with very extreme methods to put people off something. So strapped in a chair with eyes pinned open he had to watch violence and rape and started to feel sick when seeing these scenes.

But does that mean he was actually cured? Well in a way I guess he was, but the only reason he done it was so he could then get back onto the streets of Britain. Again that doesn’t really go to his plan after the new method and people remembering him from before his time in prison and then doing the experiment. As wrong as this will sound, I actually felt sorry for him! I couldn’t believe a film could make you actually feel sorry for a character that you watched do so many awful things.

I can understand why this film caused so much controversy and is often seen as one of the most dangerous films of all time. The subject matter is so difficult and the film was blamed for many people committing different acts of crime not long after its initial release. Something which again caused the film to have so much more attention.

“Singin’ in the Rain” will never be the same again after this film, what a very random song to have involved in a rape scene. I think that made it even worse than if they had not really been saying anything with it having the nice thoughts of Gene Kelly literally singing and dancing in the rain. Probably the most messed up part for me. Plus when the song is on over the end credits it really does make you think about what you have just witnessed in the film.

Having now seen this film I cannot imagine it will be a film that I will be watching again, it could certainly be one of those films that only require one viewing as you can easily remember so much about it that you won’t have to watch it over and over. Or at least I don’t want too!

How do you feel about A Clockwork Orange? Would something this risky be made today?

11 thoughts on “A Clockwork Orange (1971) Review

  1. I totally agree with your assessment that it’s difficult to watch and almost impossible to watch twice. But I do think that’s why it is one of the best films from Kubrick – such powerful viewing.


  2. I think it’s a brilliant film, albeit a pretty disturbing one. I don’t really consider this that extreme by today’s standards, although I agree that a film such as this wouldn’t get the same exposure nowadays. There’s no way such a high profile director would take a chance on a film like this. Maybe, one of the more cult directors, but not one as high profile as Kubrick.


    • Yeah I’ve been thinking about it a lot today and some films now are much worse than this. Crazy that it was pretty much banned in the UK for 27 years!


  3. This is one of those classics that I don’t rate as highly as many others, sure it’s good and delivers thought provoking questions etc, but I think that the book is significantly better.
    Still it’s certainly not a bad film.


    • So is the book worth a read? I think it has so much bad in terms of it being banned surrounding it that it makes you think a lot more than other classics.


      • The point and purpose of the book is lost in the process of adaptation, and so although the film is good when standing by itself, it pales in comparison to the text. It’s worth reading, and isn’t all that long if that helps.


  4. Apparently in the rape scene Stanley Kubrick told Malcolm McDowell to do something random and he decided to sing singing in the rain! Wasn’t even scripted but somehow made that scene so much more disturbing.


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