A Clockwork Orange (film)
|A Clockwork Orange|
Theatrical release poster by Bill Gold
|Directed by||Stanley Kubrick|
|Produced by||Stanley Kubrick|
|Screenplay by||Stanley Kubrick|
|Based on||A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess
|Narrated by||Malcolm McDowell|
|Music by||Walter Carlos|
|Editing by||Bill Butler|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||137 minutes|
A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 film written, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick, adapted from Anthony Burgess' 1962 novella of the same name. It features disturbing, violent images, facilitating its social commentary on psychiatry, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian, future Britain.
Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the main character, is a charismatic, sociopathic delinquent whose interests include classical music (especially Beethoven), rape, and what is termed "ultra-violence". He leads a small gang of thugs (Pete, Georgie, and Dim), whom he calls his droogs (from the Russian друг, "friend", "buddy"). The film chronicles the horrific crime spree of his gang, his capture, and attempted rehabilitation via controversial psychological conditioning. Alex narrates most of the film in Nadsat, a fractured adolescent slang comprising Slavic (especially Russian), English, and Cockney rhyming slang.
A Clockwork Orange features a soundtrack comprising mostly classical music selections and Moog synthesizer compositions by Wendy Carlos (then known as "Walter Carlos"). The artwork of the now-iconic poster of A Clockwork Orange was created by Philip Castle with the layout by designer Bill Gold.
In futuristic London, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is the leader of his "droogs", Pete (Michael Tarn), Georgie (James Marcus), and Dim (Warren Clarke), one of many youth gangs in the decaying metropolis. One night, after intoxicating themselves on "milk plus", they engage in an evening of "ultra-violence", including beating an elderly vagrant (Paul Farrell) and fighting a rival gang led by Billyboy (Richard Connaught). Stealing a car, they drive to the country home of writer F. Alexander (Patrick Magee), where they beat Mr. Alexander to the point of crippling him for life. Alex then rapes his wife (Adrienne Corri) while intoning "Singin' in the Rain".
The next day, while truant from school, Alex is approached by probation officer Mr. P. R. Deltoid (Aubrey Morris), who is aware of Alex's violence and cautions him. In response, Alex visits a record store where he picks up two girls. Alex and the girls have sex in a fast-motion scene.
After the events of the night before, his droogs express discontent with Alex's petty crimes, demanding more equality and more high-yield thefts. Alex reasserts his leadership by attacking them and throwing them into a canal. That night, Alex invades the mansion of a wealthy "cat"-woman (Miriam Karlin), filled with erotic art. While his droogs remain at the front door, Alex bludgeons the woman with a phallic statue. At the climax of the attack, close-ups of the erotic paintings on the walls are barely visible in single-frame sequences. Hearing police sirens, Alex tries to run away, but is betrayed by his droogs. Dim smashes a pint bottle of milk across his face, leaving him stunned and bleeding. Alex is captured and brutally beaten by the police. A gloating Deltoid spits in his face and informs him that the woman subsequently died in the hospital, making him a murderer. Alex is sentenced to 14 years incarceration.
Two years into the sentence, the Minister of the Interior (Anthony Sharp) arrives at the prison looking for test subjects for the Ludovico technique, an experimental aversion therapy for rehabilitating criminals within two weeks; Alex readily volunteers. The process involves drugging the subject, strapping him to a chair, propping his eyelids open, and forcing him to watch violent movies. Alex, initially pleased by the violent images he sees, becomes nauseated due to the drugs. He realizes that one of the films' soundtracks is by his favourite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, and that the Ludovico technique will make him sick when he hears the music he loves. He tries unsuccessfully to end the treatment.
After two weeks of the Ludovico technique, the Minister of the Interior puts on a demonstration to prove that Alex is "cured". He is shown to be incapable of fighting back against an actor (John Clive) who insults and attacks him, and he becomes violently ill at the sight of a topless woman (Virginia Wetherell). Though the prison chaplain (Godfrey Quigley) protests at the results, saying that "there's no morality without choice", the prison governor (Michael Gover) asserts that they are not interested in the moral questions but only "the means to prevent violence".
Alex is released and finds that his possessions have been confiscated by the police to help make restitution to his victims, and that his parents have rented out his room. Homeless, Alex encounters the same elderly vagrant from before, who attacks him with several other friends. Alex is saved by two policemen but is shocked to discover they are two of his former droogs, Dim and Georgie. They drag Alex to the countryside, where they beat and nearly drown him. The dazed Alex wanders the countryside before coming to the home of Mr. Alexander, and collapses. Alex wakes up to find himself being treated by Mr. Alexander and his manservant, Julian (David Prowse). Mr. Alexander does not recognize Alex as his attacker, but has read about his treatment in the newspapers. Seeing Alex as a political weapon to usurp the government, Mr. Alexander intends to expose the Ludovico technique as a step toward totalitarianism by way of mind control. As Mr. Alexander prepares to introduce Alex to colleagues (John Savident and Margaret Tyzack), he hears Alex singing "Singin' in the Rain" in the bath, and the memories of the earlier assault return. With his colleagues' help, Mr. Alexander drugs Alex and places him in a locked upstairs bedroom, playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony through the floor below. Alex, in excruciating pain, throws himself from the window and is knocked unconscious by the fall.
Alex wakes up in a hospital, having dreamt about doctors messing around inside his head. While being given a series of psychological tests, Alex finds that he no longer has an aversion to violence. The Minister of the Interior arrives and apologizes to Alex, letting him know that Mr. Alexander has been "put away". He offers to take care of Alex and get him a job in return for cooperation with his PR counter-offensive. As a sign of goodwill, the Minister brings in a stereo system playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Alex then realizes that, instead of an adverse reaction to the music, he sees an image of himself having sex in the snow with a woman in front of an approving crowd dressed in Beethoven-era fashion. He then states, in a sarcastic and menacing voice-over, "I was cured, all right!"
- Malcolm McDowell as Alex
- James Marcus as Georgie
- Warren Clarke as Dim
- Michael Tarn as Pete
- Patrick Magee as Mr. Frank Alexander
- Adrienne Corri as Mrs. Mary Alexander
- Michael Bates as Chief Guard Barnes
- John Clive as Stage actor
- Virginia Wetherell as Stage Actress
- Carl Duering as Dr. Brodsky
- Paul Farrell as Tramp
- Billy Russell as Professor attacked by Droogs in Library (scenes deleted)
- Richard Connaught as Billyboy, Gang Leader
- Clive Francis as Joe the Lodger
- Michael Gover as Prison Governor
- Miriam Karlin as Cat Lady
- Aubrey Morris as P. R. Deltoid
- Godfrey Quigley as Prison Chaplain
- Sheila Raynor as Mum
- Madge Ryan as Dr. Branom
- John Savident as Conspirator
- Anthony Sharp as Frederick, Minister of the Interior
- Philip Stone as Dad
- Pauline Taylor as Dr. Taylor, psychiatrist
- Margaret Tyzack as Conspirator Rubinstein
- Steven Berkoff as Detective Constable Tom
- John J. Carney as Detective Sergeant
- Lindsay Campbell as Police Inspector
- David Prowse as Julian, Mr. Alexander's bodyguard
The film's central moral question (as in many of Burgess' books) is the definition of "goodness" and whether it makes sense to use aversion therapy to stop immoral behaviour. Stanley Kubrick, writing in Saturday Review, described the film as:
"...A social satire dealing with the question of whether behavioural psychology and psychological conditioning are dangerous new weapons for a totalitarian government to use to impose vast controls on its citizens and turn them into little more than robots."
Similarly, on the film production's call sheet (cited at greater length above), Kubrick wrote:
"It is a story of the dubious redemption of a teenage delinquent by condition-reflex therapy. It is, at the same time, a running lecture on free-will."
After aversion therapy, Alex behaves like a good member of society, but not by choice. His goodness is involuntary; he has become the titular clockwork orange — organic on the outside, mechanical on the inside. In the prison, after witnessing the Technique in action on Alex, the chaplain criticises it as false, arguing that true goodness must come from within. This leads to the theme of abusing liberties — personal, governmental, civil — by Alex, with two conflicting political forces, the Government and the Dissidents, both manipulating Alex for their purely political ends. The story critically portrays the "conservative" and "liberal" parties as equal, for using Alex as a means to their political ends: the writer Frank Alexander — a victim of Alex and gang — wants revenge against Alex and sees him as a means of definitively turning the populace against the incumbent government and its new regime. Mr. Alexander fears the new government; in telephonic conversation, he says:
"...Recruiting brutal young roughs into the police; proposing debilitating and will-sapping techniques of conditioning. Oh, we've seen it all before in other countries; the thin end of the wedge! Before we know where we are, we shall have the full apparatus of totalitarianism."
On the other side, the Minister of the Interior (the Government) jails Mr. Alexander (the Dissident Intellectual) on excuse of his endangering Alex (the People), rather than the government's totalitarian regime (described by Mr. Alexander). It is unclear whether or not he has been harmed; however, the Minister tells Alex that the writer has been denied the ability to write and produce "subversive" material that is critical of the incumbent government and meant to provoke political unrest.
It has been noted that Alex's immorality is reflected in the society in which he lives. The Cat Lady's love of hardcore pornographic art is comparable to Alex's taste for sex and violence. Lighter forms of pornographic content adorn Alex's parents' home and, in a later scene, Alex awakens in hospital from his coma, interrupting a nurse and doctor engaged in a sexual act.
Another critical target is the behaviourism (or "behavioural psychology") of the 1940s to 1960s as propounded by the psychologists John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. Burgess disapproved of behaviourism, calling prominent behaviourist B. F. Skinner's most popular book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), "one of the most dangerous books ever written". Although behaviourism's limitations were conceded by its principal founder, J. B. Watson, Skinner argued that behaviour modification—specifically, operant conditioning (learned behaviours via systematic reward-and-punishment techniques) rather than the "classical" Watsonian conditioning—is the key to an ideal society. The film's Ludovico technique is widely perceived, however, as a parody of aversion therapy more than of classical or operant conditioning.
In showing the "rehabilitated" Alex repelled by both sex and violence, the film suggests that in depriving him of his ability to fend for himself, Alex's moral conditioning via the Ludovico technique dehumanises him, just as Alex's acts of violence in the first part of the film dehumanise his victims. The technique's attempt to condition Alex to associate violence with severe physical sickness is akin to the CIA's Project MKULTRA of the 1950s.
McDowell was chosen to the role of Alex after Kubrick saw him in the film if..... He also helped Kubrick on the uniform of Alex's gang, when he showed Kubrick the cricket-players costume he had. Kubrick asked him to put the jockstrap not under but on top of the costume.
During the filming of the Ludovico technique scene, McDowell scratched a cornea and was temporarily blinded. The doctor standing next to him in the scene, dropping saline solution into Alex's forced-open eyes, was a real physician present to prevent the actor's eyes from drying. McDowell also cracked some ribs filming the humiliation stage show. A unique special effect technique was used when Alex jumps out of the window in an attempt to commit suicide and the viewer sees the ground approaching the camera until collision, i.e., as if from Alex's point of view. This effect was achieved by dropping a Newman Sinclair clockwork camera in a box, lens-first, from the third story of the Corus Hotel. To Kubrick's surprise, the camera survived six takes.
The cinematic adaptation of A Clockwork Orange (1962) was accidental. Screenplay writer Terry Southern gave Kubrick a copy of the novel, but, as he was developing a Napoleon Bonaparte–related project, Kubrick put it aside. Soon afterward, however, the Bonaparte project was cancelled and, sometime later, Kubrick happened upon the novel. It had an immediate impact. Of his enthusiasm for it, Kubrick said, "I was excited by everything about it: The plot, the ideas, the characters, and, of course, the language. The story functions, of course, on several levels: Political, sociological, philosophical, and, what's most important, on a dreamlike psychological-symbolic level". Kubrick wrote a screenplay faithful to the novel, saying, "I think whatever Burgess had to say about the story was said in the book, but I did invent a few useful narrative ideas and reshape some of the scenes". Kubrick based the script on the shortened US edition of the book, which missed the final chapter (restored in 1986).
The novelist's response 
Anthony Burgess had mixed feelings about the cinema version of his novel, publicly saying he loved Malcolm McDowell and Michael Bates, and the use of music; he praised it as "brilliant", even so brilliant that it might be dangerous. Despite this enthusiasm, he was concerned that it lacked the novel's redemptive final chapter, an absence he blamed upon his American publisher (this chapter being omitted in all US editions of the novel prior to 1986) and not Kubrick.
Burgess reports in his autobiography You've Had Your Time (1990) that he and Kubrick at first enjoyed a good relationship, each holding similar philosophical and political views and each very interested in literature, cinema, music, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Burgess's 1974 novel Napoleon Symphony was dedicated to Kubrick. Their relationship soured when Kubrick left Burgess to defend the film from accusations of glorifying violence. A lapsed Catholic, Burgess tried many times to explain the Christian moral points of the story to outraged Christian organizations and to defend it against newspaper accusations that it supported fascist dogma. He also went to receive awards given to Kubrick on his behalf.
Kubrick was a perfectionist of meticulous research, with thousands of photographs taken of potential locations, as well as many scene takes; however, per Malcolm McDowell, he usually "got it right" early on, so there were few takes. Filming took place between September 1970 and April 1971, making A Clockwork Orange the quickest film shoot in his career. Technically, to achieve and convey the fantastic, dream-like quality of the story, he filmed with extreme wide-angle lenses such as the Kinoptik Tegea 9.8mm for 35mm Arriflex cameras, and used fast- and slow motion to convey the mechanical nature of its bedroom sex scene or stylize the violence in a manner similar to Toshio Matsumoto's Funeral Parade of Roses (1969).
Nature of the society 
The society depicted in the film was perceived by some as Communist (as Michel Ciment pointed out in an interview with Kubrick) due to its slight ties to Russian culture. The teenage slang has a heavily Russian vocabulary, which can be attributed to Burgess. There is some evidence to suggest that the society is a socialist one, or perhaps a society evolving from a failed socialism into a fully fascist society. In the novel, streets have paintings of working men in the style of Russian socialist art, and in the film, there is a mural of socialist artwork with obscenities drawn on it. As Malcolm McDowell points out on the DVD commentary, Alex's residence was shot on failed Labour Party architecture, and the name "Municipal Flat Block 18A, Linear North" alludes to socialist-style housing. Later in the film, when the new right-wing government takes power, the atmosphere is certainly more authoritarian than the anarchist air of the beginning. Kubrick's response to Ciment's question remained ambiguous as to exactly what kind of society it is. Kubrick did, however, assert that the film held comparisons between both the left and right end of the political spectrum and that there is little difference between the two. Kubrick stated, "The Minister, played by Anthony Sharp, is clearly a figure of the Right. The writer, Patrick Magee, is a lunatic of the Left... They differ only in their dogma. Their means and ends are hardly distinguishable."
A Clockwork Orange was photographed mostly on location in metropolitan London and within quick access of Kubrick's then home in Barnett Lane, Elstree.
The few scenes not shot on location were the Korova Milk Bar, the prison check-in area, Alex taking a bath at F. Alexander's house, and two corresponding scenes in the hallway. These sets were built at an old factory on Bullhead Road, Elstree, which also served as the production office.
Otherwise, locations used in the film include:
- The attack on the tramp was filmed at the (now renovated) southern pedestrian underpass below Wandsworth Bridge roundabout, Wandsworth, London.
- The unused scene of the attack on the professor was shot in (now covered) Friars Square shopping centre in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, but dropped due to the actor dying for the subsequent scene where he recognises Alex towards the latter part of the film. In the end, the tramp plays the character who recognises Alex.
- The Billyboy gang fight occurs at the demolished casino on Taggs Island, Kingston upon Thames, Middlesex.
- Alex's apartment is on the top floor of Canterbury House tower block, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. An exterior blue plaque and mosaic at ground level commemorate the film's location.
- The record shop where Alex picks up the two girls was in the basement of the former Chelsea Drugstore, located on the corner of Royal Avenue and King's Road in Chelsea. A McDonald's restaurant now occupies the building.
- The Menacing Cars scene where the Durango '95 drives under the lorry trailer was shot by Colney Heath on Bullens Green Lane at the crossroads of Fellows Lane, Hertfordshire.
- The writer's house, site of the rape and beating, was filmed at three different locations: The arrival in the "Durango 95" by the "HOME" sign was shot on the lane leading to Munden House which is off School Lane, Bricket Wood. The house's exterior and garden with the footbridge over the pond is Milton Grundy's Japanese garden in Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire and the interior is Skybreak House, in The Warren, Radlett, Hertfordshire.
- Alex throws Dim and Georgie into South Mere lake at Thamesmead South Housing Estate, London. This is 200 yards north of where Alex walks home at night through an elevated plaza (now demolished) kicking rubbish.
- The Duke Of New York pub is the demolished "The Bottle and Dragon" pub (formerly "The Old Leather Bottle") in Stonegrove, Edgware, London.
- The Cat Lady house where Alex is caught by police is Shenley Lodge, Blackhorse Lane, Hertfordshire.
- The prison's exterior is HMP Wandsworth, its interior is the Woolwich Barracks now demolished prison wing, Woolwich, London.
- The two biblical fantasy scenes (Christ, and the fight scene) were filmed at Dashwood Mausoleum, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
- The check-in at Ludovico Medical Clinic, the brain-washing film theatre, Alex's house lobby with the broken elevator, Alex's hospital bedroom and police interrogation/beating room (demolished) are all Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex.
- The Minister's presentation to the media of Alex's "cure" takes place at the Nettlefold Hall inside West Norwood Library, West Norwood, London.
- Alex is attacked by vagrants underneath the north side of the Albert Bridge, Chelsea, London.
- The scene where Dim and Georgie take Alex in the police Landrover down the country lane and subsequent water trough beating is School Lane, Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire.
- Alex's suicide bid leap and corresponding billiard room were at the old Edgewarebury Country Club, Barnett Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire.
- The hospital where Alex recovers is Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow), Essex.
- The final sexual fantasy was shot at the demolished Handley Page Ltd's hangars, Radlett, Hertfordshire.
Despite the film's controversial nature, A Clockwork Orange was a hit with American audiences, grossing more than $26 million on a conservative budget of $2.2 million, and was critically well received and nominated for several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture (losing to The French Connection). It also boosted sales of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. More recently, A Clockwork Orange earned a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating in the Rotten Tomatoes movie review website.
Despite general praise from critics, the film had notable detractors. Film critic Stanley Kauffmann commented, "Inexplicably, the script leaves out Burgess' reference to the title". Roger Ebert gave A Clockwork Orange two stars out of four, calling it an "ideological mess." In the New Yorker review titled "Stanley Strangelove", Pauline Kael called it pornographic because of how it dehumanised Alex's victims while highlighting the sufferings of the protagonist. Kael derided Kubrick as a "bad pornographer", noting the Billyboy's gang extended stripping of the very buxom woman they intended to rape, claiming it was offered for titillation.
John Simon noted that the novel's most ambitious effects were based on language and the alienating effect of the narrator's Nadsat slang, making it a poor choice for a film. Concurring with some of Kael's criticisms about the depiction of Alex's victims, Simon noted that the writer character (young and likeable in the novel) was played by Patrick Magee, "a very quirky and middle-aged actor who specialises in being repellent". Simon comments further that "Kubrick over-directs the basically excessive Magee until his eyes erupt like missiles from their silos and his face turns every shade of a Technicolor sunset."
The film was re-released in North America in 1973 and earned $1.5 million in rentals.
Responses and controversy 
Along with Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Wild Bunch (1969), Dirty Harry (1971), and Straw Dogs (1971), the film is considered a landmark in the relaxation of control on violence in the cinema. In the United Kingdom, A Clockwork Orange was very controversial and withdrawn from release by Kubrick himself. It is 21st in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills and number 46 in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies, although in the second listing, it is ranked 70th of 100. "Alex De Large" is listed 12th in the villains section of the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. In 2008, the AFI's 10 Top 10 rated A Clockwork Orange as the 4th greatest science-fiction movie to date. In 2010, TIME placed it 9th on their list of the Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies.
American censorship 
In the United States, A Clockwork Orange was rated X in its original release form. Later, Kubrick voluntarily replaced approximately 30 seconds of sexually explicit footage from two scenes with less bawdy action for an R rating re-release in 1973. Current DVDs present the original X-rated form, and only some of the early 1980s VHS editions are the R-rated form.
The National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures rated it C ("Condemned") because of the explicit sex and violence. Conceptually, said rating of condemnation forbade Roman Catholics from seeing A Clockwork Orange. In 1982, the Office abolished the "Condemned" rating; hence, films that the Conference of Bishops deem to have unacceptable sex and violence are rated O, "Morally Offensive".
British withdrawal 
The British authorities considered the sexual violence in the film to be extreme. In March 1972, at trial, the prosecutor accused a fourteen-year-old male defendant of manslaughter of a classmate, referred to A Clockwork Orange, telling the judge that the case had a macabre relevance to the film. The attacker, a Bletchley boy of sixteen, pleaded guilty after telling police that friends had told him of the film "and the beating up of an old boy like this one"; defence counsel told the trial "the link between this crime and sensational literature, particularly A Clockwork Orange, is established beyond reasonable doubt". The press also blamed the film for a rape in which the attackers sang "Singin' in the Rain". Christiane Kubrick, the director's wife, has said that the family received threats and had protesters outside their home. Subsequently, Kubrick asked Warner Brothers to withdraw the film from British distribution, disliking the allegation that the film was responsible for copycat violence in real life. Quoting Kubrick: "To try and fasten any responsibility on art as the cause of life seems to me to put the case the wrong way around. Art consists of reshaping life, but it does not create life, nor cause life. Furthermore, to attribute powerful suggestive qualities to a film is at odds with the scientifically accepted view that, even after deep hypnosis in a posthypnotic state, people cannot be made to do things which are at odds with their natures." The Scala Cinema Club went into receivership in 1993 after losing a legal battle following an unauthorized screening of the film.
Whatever the reason for the film's withdrawal, for 27 years, it was difficult to see the film in the United Kingdom. It reappeared in cinemas and the first VHS and DVD releases followed soon after Kubrick's death in 1999. On 4 July 2001, the uncut A Clockwork Orange had its premiere broadcast on Sky TV's Sky Box Office; the run was until mid-September.
Withdrawal controversy documentary 
In 1993, Channel 4 broadcast Forbidden Fruit, a 27-minute documentary about the controversial withdrawal of the film in Britain. It contains much footage from A Clockwork Orange, marking the only time portions of the film were shown to British audiences during the 27-year ban.
- Academy Awards
- BAFTA Awards
- Directors Guild of America
- 1972 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – Stanley Kubrick
- Golden Globes
- nominated 1972 Nominated Golden Globe Best Director: Motion Picture – Stanley Kubrick
- nominated Best Motion Picture – Drama
- nominated Best Motion Picture Actor: Drama – Malcolm McDowell
- Hugo Awards
- 1972 Won Hugo Best Dramatic Presentation
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards
- 1971 Won NYFCC Award Best Director – Stanley Kubrick
- Best Film
- Writers Guild of America, United States
- 1972 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium – Stanley Kubrick
- In 2008, Empire magazine rank this at #37 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time."
Differences between the film and the novel 
Kubrick's film is relatively faithful to the Burgess novel, omitting only the final, positive chapter, wherein Alex matures and outgrows sociopathy. Whereas the film ends with Alex offered an open-ended government job — implying he remains a sociopath at heart — the novel ends with Alex's positive change in character. This plot discrepancy occurred because Kubrick based his screenplay upon the novel's American edition, its final chapter deleted on insistence of the American publisher. He claimed not to have read the complete, original version of the novel until he had almost finished writing the screenplay, and that he never considered using it. The introduction to the 1996 edition of A Clockwork Orange, says that Kubrick found the end of the original edition too blandly optimistic and unrealistic.
- In the novel, Alex's last name was never revealed, while in the film, his surname is 'DeLarge', due to Alex's calling himself "Alexander the Large" in the novel.
- At the beginning of the novel, Alex is 15 years old veteran juvenile delinquent. In the film, to minimize controversy, Alex is portrayed as somewhat older, around 17 or 18.
- Critic Randy Rasmussen has argued that the government in the film is in considerable shambles and in a state of desperation while the government in the novel is quite strong and self-confident. The former reflects Kubrick's preoccupation with the theme of acts of self-interest masked as simply following procedure.
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 appears to have some moral authority (although not enough to prevent Alex from lying to him or engaging in crime, despite his protests). In the film, Deltoid is slightly sadistic and seems to have a sexual interest in Alex, interviewing him in his parents' bedroom and smacking him in the crotch.
- In the film, Alex has a pet snake. There is no mention of this in the novel. This was added by Kubrick due to Malcolm McDowell's fear of snakes.
- In the novel, F. Alexander recognises Alex through a number of careless references to the previous attack (e.g., his wife then claiming they did not have a telephone). In the film, Alex is recognised when singing the song 'Singing in the Rain' in the bath, which he had hauntingly done whilst attacking F. Alexander's wife. The song does not appear at all in the book, as it was an improvisation by actor Malcolm McDowell when Kubrick complained that the rape scene was too "stiff".
- In the novel, Alex is offered up for the treatment after killing a fellow inmate that was sexually harassing him. In the film, this scene was cut out and, instead of Alex practically volunteering for the procedure, he was simply selected by the head of the government due to speaking out of turn.
- In the novel, Alex drugs and rapes two ten-year-old girls. In the film, the girls are young adults that seem to have consensual, playful sex with him, with no suggestion of using any drugs and without any violence.
- In the novel, the writer was working on a manuscript called A Clockwork Orange when Alex and his gang are breaking into his house. In the movie, the title of the manuscript is not visible, leaving no literal reference to the title of the movie. Some explanations of the title are offered in the Analysis section of the novel.
- Early in the film, Alex and his droogs brutally attack a drunk, homeless man. Later, when Alex is returned to society, he is recognized by the same man. The homeless man gathers several other homeless men to beat Alex, who is unable to defend himself. These scenes do not appear in the book, but there is a similar scene in which an elderly man heading home from the library is beaten and his books destroyed by the droogs. After Alex is returned to society, he decides he wants to kill himself and goes to a library to find a book on how to do it. There, he is recognized by the man he had beaten and is attacked by him and a gang of other old library patrons.
- 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, who was said to have been killed, 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. This is a significant difference because Dim and Georgie had only been mocked and humiliated by Alex before his treatment and Billy Boy had nearly been killed, which implies the beating that Alex received from him was probably much more savage and hateful.
Home media 
In 2000, the film was released on VHS and DVD, both individually and as part of The Stanley Kubrick Collection DVD set. Consequent to negative comments from fans, Warner Bros re-released the film, its image digitally restored and its soundtrack remastered. A limited-edition collector's set with a soundtrack disc, movie poster, booklet and film strip followed, but later was discontinued. In 2005, a British re-release, packaged as an "Iconic Film" in a limited-edition slipcase was published, identical to the remastered DVD set, except for different package cover art. In 2006, Warner Bros announced the September publication of a two-disc special edition featuring a Malcolm McDowell commentary, and the releases of other two-disc sets of Stanley Kubrick films. Several British retailers had set the release date as 6 November 2006; the release was delayed and re-announced for 2007 Holiday Season.
An HD DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD re-release version of the film was released on October 23, 2007. The release accompanies four other Kubrick classics. 1080p video transfers and remixed Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (for HD DVD) and uncompressed 5.1 PCM (for Blu-ray) audio tracks are on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD editions. Unlike the previous version, the DVD re-release edition is anamorphically enhanced. The Blu-ray was reissued for the 40th anniversary of the film's release, however this release is identical to the previously released Blu-ray, apart from adding a Digibook and the Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures documentary as a bonus feature.
In popular culture 
See also 
- List of films featuring home invasions
- List of stories set in a future now past
- Aestheticisation of violence
- "Box Office Information for A Clockwork Orange". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- Both Burgess' novel and Stanley Kubrick's published movie script have this character's name as one word "Billyboy" although the Internet Movie Database lists him in the credits with two words "Billy Boy".
- A general discussion of this question that references A Clockwork Orange can be found at 
- Saturday Review, December 25, 1971
- A review of the book which discusses Alex's role as a political pawn may be found at 
- Film analysis at Collative Learning.com http://collativelearning.com/a%20clockwork%20orange%20review.html
- "A Clockwork Orange: Context". sparknotes.com.
- See also, for example, the 1948 utopian novel Walden Two.
- Theodore Dalrymple (2006-01-25). "A Prophetic and Violent Masterpiece by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal Winter 2006". City-journal.org. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "A Clockwork Orange revisited". actnow.com.au. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- [Il etait une fois... orange mécanique (2011)]
- "Misc". Worldtv.com. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "The Kubrick Site: The ACO Controversy in the UK". Visual-memory.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
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Further reading 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: A Clockwork Orange (film)|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: A Clockwork Orange (film)|
- Official website of Stanley Kubrick at Warner Bros.
- A Clockwork Orange at SparkNotes
- A Clockwork Orange at the Internet Movie Database
- A Clockwork Orange at Box Office Mojo
- A Clockwork Orange at Rotten Tomatoes
- A Clockwork Orange at Discogs (list of releases)
- "One on One with Malcolm McDowell" from HoboTrashcan.com (in which the actor discusses the film and its staying power)