A Clockwork Orange (1971): Yell! Magazine’s Greatest Films Series

Yell! Review

Stanley Kubrick is one of the great filmmakers in history. He created some of the most memorable films ever to grace the big screen and he was one of the best at adapting novels to film screenplays. A Clockwork Orange is a great example of these two talents.

Kubrick adapted the Anthony Burgess novel into a test of the film patron’s ability to withstand repeated viewing of scenes of rape, violence, and brutality. Even though this film is over 35 years old, it still holds up well with the super-violent movies of today.

The film stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge, a teen-punk from a future Britain who leads a gang of violent teens that terrorize the streets and homes of London. Alex is a sex-addicted violence junkie whose favorite pastime is to skip school and attend a local milk bar (milk mixed with mescaline), get drugged up and commit acts of rape and assault on street people and upper-class home owners.

When he is finally caught, the authorities decide he would be the best case for an experiment in aversion therapy. After repeated sessions of a drug-induced nausea while forced to view film clips of ultra-violent behavior, Alex is conditioned to have a negative physical reaction to all forms of violence. He is then released into the streets to fend for himself.

When he meets his former gang-mates who, free of his brutal dominance, have become police officers, they assault him. Unable to defend himself due to the therapy, he is almost drowned and then left for dead. Alex is able to reach a nearby home that turns out to be the home of a writer who Alex had previously beaten savagely. At the mercy of the crazed man, Alex eventually falls from the second-story window of the house and ends up in the hospital.

After his story is circulated, a lobby is formed to chastise the government and the powers in office realize the public relations headache it has caused and what might happen to their jobs because of it. To mitigate the damage, Alex becomes a pampered celebrity and is eventually cured and released onto an unsuspecting public.

Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
19 December 1971
Stanley Kubrick
Malcolm McDowell, John Clive, Aubrey Morris, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke
Crime, Drama
Official URL:
A Clockwork Orange

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