George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.
Release Year: 1984
Rating: 7.1/10 (23,505 voted)
Stars: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton
After The Atomic War the world is divided into three states. London is a city in Oceania, ruled by a party who has total control over all its citizens. Winston Smith is one of the bureaucrats, rewriting history in one of the departments. One day he commits the crime of falling in love with Julia. They try to escape Big Brother's listening and viewing devices, but, of course, nobody can really escape…
Writers: George Orwell, Michael Radford
(as Roger Lloyd Pack)
Winston Smith as a Boy
The year of the movie. The movie of the year.
Release Date: 14 December 1984
Filming Locations: Alexandra Palace Way, London, England, UK
Did You Know?
Richard Branson's Virgin Films, the production company bankrolling the movie, had wanted a commercially viable pop act to compose the music for the film to increase its market potential. Originally they approached David Bowie, who had used Orwell's novel as inspiration for some songs on his 1974 album, "Diamond Dogs", but he demanded too much money for the job. They opted instead for Eurythmics, who had initially turned down the offer but later accepted. The director Michael Radford was unaware of this plan and had already hired Dominic Muldowney to compose the entirety of the film's musical score. Virgin Films exercised their right of final cut and dubbed in some of the Eurythmics score for the film's theatrical release. Radford was displeased with this development and retaliated by withdrawing the film for consideration for BAFTA award for Best Picture. When the film did win the Evening Standard award for Best Film of the Year, Radford took the opportunity to denounce the Eurythmics involvement in his acceptance speech at the nationally televised ceremony.
When the telescreen is broadcasting the news that Ogilvy has been awarded the order of Conspicuous Gallantry, the announcer says that Ogilvy has received the order for his actions against the forces of Eastasia. However, at that point of the movie Oceania is at war with Eurasia, not Eastasia.
This is our land. A land of peace and of plenty. A land of harmony and hope. This is our land. Oceania. These are our people. The workers, the strivers, the builders. These are our people. The builders of our world, struggling, fighting, bleeding, dying. On the streets of our cities and on the far-flung battlefields. Fighting against the mutilation of our hopes and dreams. Who are they?
Brilliant adaption of a classic novel.
Despite what one reviewer states here, 1984 is an extremely important
literary work. It explains to the reader what the ultimate facist state
would be like. This story is never more important than now, with the world
in crisis. It is an absolute must that people read or see 1984. Other films
have been made about fascism. One of the most notable examples being Pier
Pasolini's Salo. But the problem is hardly anyone is going to see that
except for weirdo's or film buffs. This is because of the graphic nature of
the film. Besides, Salo was explaining the inherently depraved, decadent
nature of fascism. Orwell's 1984 explains the mechanisms that invoke
John Hurt is excellent as the main character. I am quite a fan. The film is
also very well made. The bleakness of the book is perfectly captured by the
director. You feel sympathy for the characters even though they seem far
away because they appear so weary, yet willing to hope. Transcendence is
hinted at when there is a scene where Hurt looks out and sees a wilderness
instead of a prison. Hurt's character, Winston looks like he is about half
dead! You really hope that Winston and Julia can pull off a passionate love
affair. Although you know that it is doomed and is more of an act of
rebellion against big brother than anything else. The setting is a land that
is half destroyed because of the constant wars. The wars being yet another
method of control. They tell us in psychology that in war, depression and
other similar disorders actually go down! Interesting eh? The start where
everyone sits watching the screens and begins to scream at images of the
enemy. This is a great moment in the film that shows a kind of utter
conformity through extreme social norms. The most effective form of
The problem with the film, like the book, is that people will find it too
bleak and horrific to really appreciate it. It is depressing but this is the
horror of totalitarianism. The material is not intended to be a walk in the
park. One of the most striking and horrific instances of 1984 is the 2+2
does not equal 4 scene. The torture and brainwashing too achieve utter
obedience. Richard 'my voice competes with Orson Welles' Burton, who
normally pontificates and chews up the scenery is remarkably restrained
here. This restraint is the key to a very good performance. These torture
scenes are horrific and Hurt really shines. This guy should have got an
Oscar! The scenes had me gasping…When I originally read the book it took a
while for me to get over the rats. EWWWWWWW!
Looking at the overall rating of 1984 I am just totally surprised that this
film has such a low rating. Maybe people would rate the novel exactly the
same way because of the material. This brings me too my other quibble. The
film does not TOTALLY cover all of the novels themes. In fact, although
Suzanna Hamilton puts on a good performance, her character is not completely
captured. Viewers must remember that literature and cinema are two
completely different mediums. There is no such thing as a 100 percent
adaption. Therefore you must rate the film on the usual cinematic features.
But the main thing is how well the overall message of the story was
transmitted. This film powerfully demonstrates Orwell's
What is weird is one of the reviewers here states that they did not like the
nudity. Well, I'm guessing the director was going for a Adam and Eve state
with their being naked out in the woods. This is obviously the complete
opposite of the unnatural state they have to live in. It does not cheapen
the film and points more to the reviewers own repressed desires. Reaction
formation perhaps? Besides no one is going to get this for naked bodies when
porn is so freely available from your local video store!
Consider how relevant this story is. How propaganda and public relations has
never been more prevalent. How public relations has overtaken journalism,
causing journalism to become more and more watered down. How the political
economy of the media is now being hugely influenced by being based in a
monopoly economy. A few now control the flow of information for the general
population in western nations. This is not conspiracy theory, this is fact.
True investigative journalism is at an all time low and the media itself is
in a shocking state of affairs. Like everything in our capitalist system, it
is controlled by money. Ever read Michel Foucault? Dominant hegemonies,
discourse analysis, bla bla bla. I don't want to get all crusty and academic
here. But Rupert Murdoch is rubbing his hands together. Time and time again,
the United States has been shown to be patently false about why they engaged
in conflict with Iraq. Just read John Pilger! Yet many Americans supported
the conflict. Even believing chemical weapons were used on American troops,
when no such event took place! Why? Because they were manipulated by a
sophisticated propaganda machine.
Knowledge is power. That is why in 1984 language is being systematically
destroyed. This denial of language is the denial of thought itself. Reality
is then more easily shaped by the oppressor. Remember dictators, such as Pol
Pot destroy the educated first. This is why the film and book are so
important, they are still very RELEVANT! In fact I think the progression of
western society will become a mixture of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and
1984. Either way we are being manipulated and controlled and these books
show you how. America has the 'Patriot Act' that was rushed through congress
although human rights groups had many serious doubts about the act. In New
Zealand we have a Government that is similary becoming too involved in the
regulation of peoples lives. BIG BROTHER IS STILL ALIVE!
I give this film a 10 and think the last scene with Hurt looking so haunted
in the bar/coffee place was awesome! GREAT, GREAT BOOK! GREAT, GREAT FILM!
I have had a bit of a rant here…But hey I really like the book and this
version of the film! So why not? This is a film for rebels!