List of cultural references to A Clockwork Orange
Popular culture references to Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange and Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation have been wide-ranging, from popular music and television to movies and other media. Some references are based on themes central to the story, such as the use of Nadsat words or phrases, whilst others have incorporated visual elements from the film. The film made Kubrick one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and the film has become a cult classic.
- A Clockwork Orange, like other dystopian science-fiction novels, had an important influence on industrial and cyberpunk music. The film version influenced bands' fashion styles.
- The WEA subsidiary record label Korova, named for the film's Korova Milk Bar, was founded in 1979 for post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen, and later issued recordings by artists such as The Sound and Strawberry Switchblade.
- David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album was heavily inspired by A Clockwork Orange.
- John Bonham of Led Zeppelin copied Alex's appearance while touring in 1975.
- Heaven 17, also from Sheffield, England and formed in 1980, named themselves after a fictional pop group in the book and film.
- Rosemary's Babies, a Lodi, NJ hardcore punk band formed in 1981, included the Nadsat word "ultraviolence" in their song "Happy Song". Their vocalist J.R. dressed as a droog in publicity photos and on the covers of their 1981 EP Blood Lust and its later CD release as Talking to the Dead. Both J.R. and drummer Eerie Von dressed as droogs during live performances.
- In 1988, German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen released a concept album Ein kleines bisschen Horrorschau (a reference to Alex's Nadsat phrase, "a bit of [the old] horrorshow [ultraviolence])", with the main song being "Hier Kommt Alex" ("Here Comes Alex"). The members were also involved as musicians in a German stage production of A Clockwork Orange in 1988, and in 1994 they also released an English version called "The Return of Alex".
- The music video for ""Welcome to the Jungle"" by Guns n Roses features Axl Rose, in occasional scenes, strapped in a chair with a brace on his forehead while watching stacked TVs with various images of violence and sex, much like the Ludovico treatment in A Clockwork Orange.
- The 1991 single release of U2's "The Fly" featured the B-side "Alex Descends Into Hell for a Bottle of Milk/Korova 1" from the score of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of A Clockwork Orange. The performance was scored by Bono and The Edge.
- Anglo-Irish band Moloko, who debuted in 1995, took their name from the slang term for milk (itself from the Russian word for milk, молоко)
- Polish band Myslovitz's 2002 album Korova Milky Bar refers to the film, comparing it to present situation in Poland.
- The music video to Rob Zombie's "Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)" was inspired by the film.
- Seminal punk rock band Ramones named a song after the car given a joyride by Alex and his droogs ("Durango 95") and also dressed up as characters from A Clockwork Orange on the front of the popular album Too Tough to Die.
- Blur borrowed imagery from A Clockwork Orange for the music video to their song, "The Universal".
- Kylie Minogue wore a white jumper and fake eyelashes, similar to Alex, while performing on her Fever tour.
- My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way dressed as Alex.
- Gnarls Barkley dressed as characters in the film for a publicity shoot.
- The Sepultura album A-Lex is based entirely on A Clockwork Orange.
- Cavalera Conspiracy's song "Ultra Violent" is based on A Clockwork Orange.
- British indie group Campag Velocet took the word "Velocet" from a word written on the wall in the opening scene of the film.
- The group New Order titled one of their songs "Ultra-Violence" on their album Power, Corruption and Lies.
- Post-punk band Scars referenced the film on "Horrorshow," the B-side of their 1979 debut single, "Adult/ery".
- The title of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One's second album, Victims of the Modern Age (2010), was a direct quote from the film. Track 4, also called "Victims of the Modern Age", is based on A Clockwork Orange with Russell Allen from Symphony X singing as the character Alex.
- Lady Gaga used music from the film as entrance music during concerts in 2010.
- The music video for "Pacifier" by Shihad features the band dressed as droogs in the Korova Milk Bar and also reenacting the film's joyride scene.
- In her unreleased song "Hundred Dollar Bill," Lana Del Rey references the book: "Cause I love your ultra-violent swing, I like it when you treat me mean." The title of her 2014 album,Ultraviolence, is likely a reference to A Clockwork Orange.
- English gabba/industrial band Ultraviolence take their name from the film.
- The title of the Death Angel album The Ultra-Violence is likely a reference to A Clockwork Orange.
- There have been many references to the film on South Park (when asked to name something he considered a mind-altering work of art, series co-creator Trey Parker said, "It's super cliché, but A Clockwork Orange really did fuck me up"). In the show's controversial 201st episode, 201 (2010), Mitch Connor (Cartman's hand-puppet) pretends to be a black man and asks to use the telephone at someone's house, alluding to the similar scene in A Clockwork Orange. In episode 206, "Coon 2: Hindsight" (2010), the scene where the Coon attacks the rest of his gang is reminiscent of the scene in which one of the Clockwork Orange droogs insists things be run in a 'new way' that entails less power for Alex, who responds by attacking them while walking in order to re-establish his leadership. The scene also has the same music playing: an excerpt from the overture of The Thieving Magpie by Gioacchino Rossini. In episode 245, "A Song of Ass and Fire" (2013), the phallus-shaped sculpture in the house of George R. R. Martin is the same one used by Alex to kill the Cat Lady.
- The Simpsons contains frequent references to the film. In the episode "Treehouse of Horror III", Bart dresses up as Alex DeLarge from the film. Also, in the episode "Duffless", as a result of Lisa's electroshock therapy, Bart is seen to have experience difficulty in reaching for the cupcakes after dinner, in a manner similar to the effects of Alex's therapy; in particular, one shot parodies the film, with Bart looking up at the cupcakes on the table, in the same way Alex looks up to the actress's chest after his therapy.
- In an episode of The Goodies, titled "Invasion of the Moon Creatures", Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie return from the moon brainwashed by rabbits; they are seen harassing and beating people dressed in costumes like Alex's gang, albeit with rabbit ears on their heads and with buck teeth.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted!", the military school the boys are sent to after getting busted uses the Ludovico Technique in order to stop Phineas and Ferb from using their imagination.
- In the series Franklin & Bash, Malcolm McDowell's character uses the phrase "bit of the old in and out".
- A season 4 episode of BBC children's series Grange Hill features a shoplifting scene set in a clothes shop called Clockwork Orange.
- In the Regular Show episode "The Unicorns Have Got to Go", one of the unicorns is clearly dressed as Alex DeLarge and/or one of his droogs.
- The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "A Bopwork Orange" has a title which directly references A Clockwork Orange. The title card of the episode directly parodies the film's poster as well. The episode also features Beethoven's Ninth Symphony prominently as incidental music.
The film version of A Clockwork Orange immediately revolutionized the science fiction film genre, opening the way for other films to portray elaborate dystopian narratives and to intelligently analyze social dilemmas. Many film directors have borrowed themes and cinematic techniques from the film. The film is an essential part of modern cinema and films often reference it.
- Heath Ledger said he based his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight on Alex DeLarge.
- Films that use similar cinematic techniques to A Clockwork Orange include A Boy and His Dog, THX 1138, and Westworld.
- The torture scene in Reservoir Dogs, set to "Stuck in the Middle With You", was described by Quentin Tarantino in an interview as a direct reference to the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex kicks the writer and rapes his wife to the tune of "Singin' in the Rain". A Clockwork Orange is also referenced at the beginning of the film when all the men are walking in slow motion, as Alex and his droogs did.
- In Gangster No. 1, a 2000 British crime film, Malcolm McDowell, who played Alex in the film, plays the protagonist gangster as a sort of older version of Alex.
- In Trainspotting, director Danny Boyle references the bar Alex and his droogs sit in during the opening scene, where a club has similar text-based wall art.
- A reference to A Clockwork Orange is made in the Coen brothers film Fargo when a character says that they're in town for "the old in and out".
- In Batman & Robin, gang members resembling droogs from A Clockwork Orange can be seen.
- In the film Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, Jack Black, while trying to sleep on a park bench, is assaulted by a gang dressed as the droogs.
- In Richard E. Grant's film Wah-Wah, the main character, Grant himself as a child, takes comfort in watching a late-night screening of the film.
- The protagonist in Good Bye, Lenin! is named Alex, and the film features a furniture-shifting scene set to a sped-up synthesized version of the "William Tell Overture".
- In the 1999 film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Cartman is made forcibly averse to swearing through the implantation of a V-chip, much like Alex's subjection to the Ludovico technique. As with Alex, Cartman eventually loses this aversion but can use the V-chip's electroshocks that once harmed him on other people.
- Professional wrestler Patrick Martin takes the first part of his ring name Alex Shelley from Alex DeLarge.
- While appearing for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Raven created the eponymous Clockwork Orange House of Fun match.
- The Netherlands national football team was nicknamed Clockwork Orange in the 1974 FIFA World Cup, for its playing organization, which became known as Total Football, combined with the orange color of its uniform.
- "A Crockwork Lemon", a Mad satire by writer Stan Hart and artist George Woodbridge, appeared in the June 1973 issue. Norman Mingo's illustration for the cover showed Alfred E. Neuman as Alex.
- The opening cutscene to Rare Nintendo 64 video game Conker's Bad Fur Day is a homage to the film.
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- Clevett, Jason (2004-08-25). "Alex Shelley: Next Generation superstar". Retrieved 2010-10-29. "I got the Alex part from the main character of A Clockwork Orange."
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