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Michael Radford's adaption of George Orwell's foreboding literary premonition casts John Hurt and Suzanna Hamilton as lovers who must keep their courtship secret. Aside from criminalizing sex and interpersonal relationships, the ruling party in their country Oceania both fabricates reality and reconstructs history for the sake of oppressing the masses. They brainwash their citizens via large, propaganda-spewing TV monitors installed in their living rooms, which also inspect everyone's activities. Hurt and Hamilton are among the few we see desperately trying to fight the system by keeping control of their thoughts and beliefs. While the atmosphere becomes a bit too stifling at times, the images are quite striking with their muted colors and dilapidated sets. In an interesting bit of casting, Richard Burton costars (in his final role) as a government agent who surreptitiously exposes Hurt to the ideas of resistance. Unlike many like-minded films, 1984 does not offer a flashy vision of the future, but then that aspect makes it feel all the more real. In an age when more and more of our everyday activities are being scrutinized, Big Brother may not be so far off after all. --Bryan Reesman
- Great Buy
This product came in very good condition and was just in time for a birthday present. Thank you!...more info
- Amazon Service/Seller Integrity
I odered this product on October 18, 2008 and I have still not received it. I contacted Amazon twice but they kept referring me to the seller. I emailed the seller twice but I never received a reply. It seems that Amazon is pretty good at serving the seller because they made sure that the seller got my money right away. However, I was extremely disappointed with Amazon's inability or refusal to help me get what I paid for. So, I've given up in this matter and I'll charge the money I've lost to experience and I'll never do business with Amazon or the seller again....more info
- A nightmare worth watching
Michael Radford's adaptation of the well-known novel by Orwell is very faithful to its source material and very impressive. The cast is perfect in its leading trio: John Hurt as Winston Smith, Suzanna Hamilton as Julia and last but certainly not least in his last movie performance Richard Burton as O'Brien.
Orwell's dystopian vision of the future will be well known to most of us.
Winston Smith, the central character, lives in a totalitarian world, in which all pay homage to the ominous ever present "Big Brother" and, To sort of keep birth rates at an acceptable level, war is continually waged against some kind of enemy, that seems to change as much as wind direction whatever the fear mongers deem appropriate.
Inhabitants of this world are continually bombarded with propaganda through a kind of two-way TV screens that are present in both the private as well as the public domain. The screens also serve as a way of keeping continuous watch on people as it is forbidden to switch them off
Through the destruction of any sense of history and knowledge that might be identity reinforcing, the masses are being "educated" into being mindless canon fodder.
Love, never mind sex, is forbidden, as it sabotages the goal mentioned above and aside from that all that penned up sexual frustration can be used as a reservoir to tap into and turn into boundless aggression and almost erotic admiration for "Big Brother".
In this mob Winston is consumed and invisible, until he meets Julia and they start an affair, half out of love, half as an act of rebellion against the state. However, from the outside they know their eventual fate and admit to each other "We are the Dead".
The third figure O'Brien comes into the picture when Smith and Julia want to contact a supposed underground resistance movement and they contact him as being a key figure in it. The truth is both shocking and revealing.
Contrary to what some people think, the book was not meant as a criticism of communism per se, but against any form of dictatorship, there are plenty of comments made by Orwell on this subject.
The movie does a wonderful job in bringing not so much uplifting as shockingly hypnotic and intriguing story to life. Orwell envisioned as a location a post-WWII London and Radford very much stayed true to this idea. His city quite obviously is in decay and full of ruins shown in murky colors like WW II archive documentary images. The cinematography is wonderful.
John Hurt is perfect as the worn out Winston Smith being in a state of hopeless and irreversible decay.
Burton as O'Brien is equally unforgettable and merciless; his eyes that offer nothing but the hopelessness of self-awareness, the realization of the insignificance of the individual being grinded down under the boot of the state.
The movie is as merciless as the book, thank God. I consider it the most faithful book adaptation. It was exactly as I imagined it while reading the book.
A masterpiece, still underrated.
- Out of print masterpiece...
I saw this film when it was first released; it was emotionally and spiritually devastating. I had just finished the book with the knowledge that this was due for release, and felt as if I could not draw breath when leaving the theater. What great actors. I wish this was widely in print; I keep searching for it every few years hoping it will be made available at some point, but it seems not to be. The prices listed are too steep for my blood; the movie will have to live on in memory only. Time to re-read the book!! ...more info
- Brilliantly concieved, yet fails to grasp the most important concepts of the novel.
3.5/5 - Beautifully crafted sets and spectacular acting are marred by an inability to grasp some of the most important concepts in the novel. Particularily the Novels final, perhaps most crucial chapter.
***Be forewarned I will deal with spoilers of the novel from here-out to illustrate my point.***
I will begin with the single most important concept this film does not deal with, and that is the novels final and most important Chapter. Nineteen Eighty-Four the film almost completely ignores this final chapter. The Bookdoes far more to explain the aftermath of winstons treatment, and this is crucial to our understanding. Granted, the Books end can be perceived very different between individuals. I personally found it redeeming and hopeful of the future. The party meant to stamp the emotion, cognitive ability, and love right out of winston. Instead, they taught him how to really love, think about the world around him, and feel good natured emotion. To become a better man. The Ministry of Love had created in all their efforts exactly what they were trying to destroy. The party was falliable. It might fall, but Winston felt great gratitude towards Big Brother for teaching him these things. Winston loved Big Brother for it. Not in the way the party intended, but would he rise up against them? I do not know. The film did little to express the ideas of this chapter, and I would have had no way of formulating this idea of the novels conclusion based on it. I do not believe any viewer could come to an accurate conclusion of their personal theories of the novels final chapter based on the film. Some changes may always be necessary, even if just for keeping the running length below 3 hours, but this final chapter IMO needed to be shot word for word, scene for scene, in order, with every action maticulously displayed. The film even leaves out the crucial 'I betrayed you' comments by Winston and Julia to each other.
Many other small situational contexts were changed throughout, such as the timing of events, and characters involved. George Orwell set out events in the Book in a particular order for a reason. The changing of the timing of these events blurs the ideas a little, but not to the point of serious detrement. The film does however, botch up dealing with the Brotherhood. Little mention is ever made in the film about the Brotherhood. It was my interpretation that the Brotherhood was organised and controlled by the party. An ultimate form of control. Consider the line in the book referring that the party makes the revolution to establish the dictatorship. None of this was touched upon in the film. Winston does not bring Julia to see O' Brian, and the conversation between the three does not take place in the context of the Book. In fact, a viewer who has not read the Book may not even grasp that O' Brian is claiming to be part of the Brotherhood at all.
There are numerous other little changes I will not touch on. These two are the most important, and most detremental to a film that is among the greatest ever made in the fields of acting and cinematography/directing. The scenes involving a crowd watching the telescreen are classics of cinema.
So my verdict? Do not see this movie if you have not read the book. You will not get an acurate representation of the most important concepts with which to formulate an understanding of the material. Even Winstons time in the Ministry of Love is portrayed on a level minimal to the length of coverage given in the book. Read the book, then see the movie for it's artistic merits and to understand from what direction it was made, filling in the various holes from your previous reading. As a film not based on prior material, it would be one of the greatest films ever made, but it is based on a book, with ideas that crucially must be represented here. Some of the most important, are not....more info
- meaningless without the novel
A film by Michael Radford
Clever. Very clever. This movie was filmed in 1984 during the months that were specified in George Orwell's novel. It was also released in 1984. This fit perfectly with the title and gave a nice contrast between Orwell's vision of the future and what the world was like at that very time. The question, however, is: Is "1984" any good as a movie? Well, yes and no, and it has everything to do with what was included in the movie.
The year is 1984 and the setting is London. At least, the city used to be London. Now it is just a city in Oceania. Oceania is a communist style society where propaganda rules the day and history is re-written daily to reflect the views of "The Party". One day Oceania may be at war with Eurasia, and the next Oceania is at war with East Asia and has always been at war with East Asia. History is changed and officially, the past never happened if "The Party" says that it didn't happen. Winston Smith (John Hurt) is a worker. It is his job to change history's headlines. Through Winston's eyes we see "The Party" outlaw personal relationships, emotional attachment, and even thought that does not mirror the party line. The latter is called "thought crime".
Winston is a thought criminal. He secretly writes in a journal about the revisionist policies and he visits a store that sells (on the sly) items that are older than Oceania (one piece is said to be 100 years old). Winston is secretly seditious and he meets Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), who, like Winston, is defying Oceania as she can. Her method is sex. Sex for pleasure is highly illegal and this is the foundation of their relationship. We know that a movie set in a world with this sort of a society, they have to be caught because we have to no what the repercussions of their actions will be.
The main difference between this film and the novel is simply that in the film we are seeing what Orwell described, and in the book all we have is the words of George Orwell. The reason this is a difference is that in the movie we know what a thing looks like, but not what it is. One example of this is the "two minute hate". Orwell describes several scenes in which the workers are given a forum where they must vent and scream and express their hatred for the enemies of Oceania. It is a form of social control. We get a sense of what is going on, and why. In the movie, we see what happens and how it affects the workers, but the detail which makes the scene meaningful is missing. This is fairly typical of the film and is the biggest flaw. If I hadn't read the novel, the film would be confusing and meaningless. It is only because I have read the source material that I know what these scenes are and why they are important. We do get a good sense of the type of society that Orwell envisioned as a potential future, and the visualization of the characters and the world is excellent. It is just lacking the meaning that is available in Orwell's text. Film is a different medium than a novel and a movie should not be dependant on the novel to make it comprehensible and meaningful. Unfortunately, "1984" fails in this regard. It is faithful to the source material, but the film can't succeed without the novel.
-Joe Sherry...more info
- so stupid
I read the book right before I watched the movie and I mean RIGHT BEFORE. I finished reading the book and then put the movie on like a half hour later. There are a number of really, really disgusting parts in this movie. The dialogue is really hackneyed. The book is good. This movie is just about a travesty....more info
- No soundtrack alternative?
One of my favorite movies, and one of John Hurt's best performances (which is saying a lot, considering his general exellence). But the surreal electronica of the Eurythmics soundtrack has been totally removed, and replaced with dour, droning orchestral strings. This really sinks it for me, I'm afraid. After waiting so long to have this film on DVD, too . . . *sigh* . . . they should have offered the Eurythmics as alternative audio. It isn't as if the disc is packed so full of special features that they couldn't stick on another audio file. I know the whole story of director Radford's unhappiness with the Eurythmics soundtrack that was apparently forced on him way back when, but even the DVD release of Ridely Scott's Legend had both the Tangerine Dream and Jerry Goldsmith versions.
This is a lot like the recent Gumby DVD release by Rhino, which used some horrid 80's Casio-keyboard soundtracks instead of the original audio. So I'm afraid you'll find this DVD a total disappointment, if you remember the original music with any fondness. That great quirky feel which that music added is now replaced with a boring requiem of droning, droning, droning orchestra. A shame, really....more info
- "Big Brother" is watching you everywhere!
"1984" (Nineteen Eighty-Four) was a book, now infamous, published in 1949. Some people thought it was about Russia, but it is actually a work of fiction of what George Orwell thought the future could become, not specificly the year 1984, but any year afterwards.
What really sends shivers through your spine, just like 2001: A SPACE ODESSEY was a "prediction" that many technical devices and space technology and use of computers portrayed in the film have come true. "1984" also has some "predictions" that have materalized before our eyes. Giant-monster screens, high-definition television, plasma tv sets for the wall. Even the phrase "Big Brother is watching!" is commonly used.
Winston Smith's (John Hurt) daily routine is getting up by an alarm, exercise, go to work, listen to "Big Brother", go home and more "Big Brother". Inside your home, you must be in sight of the big screen. Big Brother's face is constantly there, but no one as ever met him or seen him anywhere. You must listen to what Big Brother is saying at all times even when you are outside his voice is heard. If you are not in sight of your screen, you will be told to get back in sight. There are no drama or comedy programs. Just real life. You can exercise live and you can see an arrest made live. No music programs. At work, Winston has a little t.v. on his desk because Big Brother must be seen and heard. Winston's job is to re-write and proofread past and present history. Articles are condensed in one sentence if possible. "Doublespeak" is used. Words and other information is altered. Even two words can be condensed. When Winston is finished, the original, historical and valuable piece of information is destroyed forever. Similar to LOGAN'S RUN, everyone must gather into a giant room, there is a big screen of Big Brother there. People usually scream at the screen with "his face". Others are quite serious and quiet. You must live by Big Brother's orders or else. Winston wants to get out. To see if an outside exists. He has once heard of a land without Big Brother.
Richard Burton plays "O'Brien". This was Burton's last film role and he died during production, ironically in 1984. Bob Flag is the face of "Big Brother". After viewing this film, you might realize how close we might be to Orwell's story.
As long as there is a President of the United States, a Queen or King of England, and His Holiness the Pope, this "1984" story will never fully happen.
I highly recommend any edition of the book, "1984" by George Orwell for excellent reading.
A film version of "1984" was also made by the British in 1956.
Richard Burton died in 1984 after filming for "1984" was completed....more info
- just terrible
this remake of a 1955 movie classic is awful. the original movie, produced in 1955, starring Jan Sterling and Michael Redgrave was much more superior. It really told the story of Oceania and Eurasia, with much more depth than this remade DVD fiasco. Richard Burton's performance was outstanding, however placing John Hurt was a poor choice of judgment. The eurythmics soundtrack is deplorable, distracting the overall view of the feel of the movie. The producer was right in removing them from the soundtrack. All we need then is Giorgio Moroder and you could dance in Victory Square! If you are able to obtain a copy of the original version (sometimes on ebay, but the George Orwell society disapproves because of copyright) compare the two, and the original is much better. The original was scored with the London Symphony Orchestra, and the 2 minute hate scene is far superior. But, until its released so that everyone can enjoy it, this DVD version you are stuck with. ...more info
- Not really bad, but nothing special
This is the solution if you were looking to do a book report on 1984 and didn't want to spend the time to read the entire thing. It is sort of like a dumbed down version of the book. There are no major (read: MAJOR) changes to the novel, it just leaves a lot out. The director offers no vision of his own or interesting visual interpretations or anything, he just pretty much goes from the book and leaves some unfilmable parts and long parts out. My recommendation is you read the book instead, as you get a better depiction of Winston's gradual change in the Ministry of Love and other things in detail, like Goldstein's book....more info
- An outstanding rendition/interpretation of Orwell's novel.
This movie/DVD captures the spirit of Orwell's novel more perfectly than almost any movie I have ever seen that was derived from a book. The film perfectly captures the sense of dispair, the dingy physical lives of the people, the omnipresence of a malevolent Government, all of which constitute the main theme of the story.
William Hurt turns in quite literally a perfect performance as Winston Smith, the main protagonist of the story. The cinamatography of the film is brilliant, and perfectly captures the dingy, ratty existence of life in the ultimate totalitarian/socialist state. The constant background harangue of the Party via the telescreens is perfectly done. If Orwell had lived to see this film I believe that he would find little or nothing to criticize. It brilliantly captures the novel for the silver screen.
Without giving anything away, this is the story of one Winston Smith, a citizen of "Oceania" which is one of three superstates that dominate the world. (Oceania is comprised of Britain, the Americas, and Australasia; its adversaries Eurasia and Eastasia are of similar size and power). The Government dominates and controls everything through the "Party" which promotes the doctrine "Ingsoc" (derived from "English Socialism"). Everyone, even the elite, live in a ramshackle dingy world in which shortages of everything is the norm--it is a world in which "nothing is cheap and plentiful." (Basically your socialist state taken to the nth degree). Winston works in a pointless job that involves constantly re-writing old archives to conform to present "realities" as defined by the Party. Love is forbidden other than love of the Party and its leader ("Big Brother") and the "Thought Police" ruthlessly root out anyone who fails to conform to the requirement of strict orthodoxy and Party loyalty. The fact that Winston is such a one is the central theme to the story. When he falls in love with a beautiful young woman, his troubles begin in earnest.
To properly appreciate this film, the viewer should of course first read the book. I would imagine that the film would be somewhat bewildering to one who was not familiar at least with the novel's basic theme and premise--the dispair of life under the ultimate totalitarian state.
This is not a film for the whole family to enjoy together. It is intense and depressing. The final portion of the movie, involving Winston Smith and O'Brian (Richard Burton in his final role) is long, unhappy, and downright dreary. Although utterly necessary as an essential component of the story, it both drags and depresses.
1984 is essentially the story of the ultimate result of allowing Government (any Government) to run our lives, and what will happen if the people substitute trust in Big Government for the love of liberty and freedom....more info
- Nearly as good as might be expected
I have only seen the VHS version, and am looking forward to seeing the DVD in light of the reviews here. Having seen the film over a dozen times, I feel safe sharing a few observations.
1. As others have pointed out: If you've never read Orwell's 1984, READ IT FIRST. If you don't enjoy - if "enjoy" is the right word - or understand the book (your loss), the movie likely will do little except baffle and annoy you.
2. If you have read the book and "enjoyed" it, see the film. Be warned: the script is not word-for-word Orwell. That'd be impossible short of a Masterpiece Theater-type miniseries (not a bad idea).
As it is, crucial and not-so-crucial elements of the novel have been compressed, altered, combined or deleted. The worst example of this probably is the novel's portrayal of Winston's entrapment by O'Brian. This potentially powerful, emotionally charged scene (which includes Julia) is inexcusably shortened and muted in the film, involving only Hurt and Burton. The movie suffers, and that's why I give it a 4 out of 5.
And it is true that the affair between Winston and Julia - while very physical - is not entirely warm, as one reviewer laments. Yet what should we expect from people born into this universe? These are world-weary individuals living with the constant dread of sure detection and destruction; they agree it must happen sooner or later. And it does. So the melancholy, futile mood of their relationship (especially on Winston's part) is reasonable and entirely appropriate, given the reality the characters inhabit. All along they're expecting to happen that which we can only hope, for their sakes, doesn't have to be. So for me, the performances work.
Despite drawbacks, the basic story IS there and would be valuable in a classroom setting to supplement (not replace!) the book.
3. Even those who read the book and hate the film must admit the cinematography captures the bleak, hopeless mood of the novel as well as any filmed version of a book ever has. No one who really "gets" the book will deny that, and it's worth seeing for that reason alone. I personally can't recall another movie that so consistently mirrors the look and feel of its source novel.
4. The soundtrack: I admit it's all I've known, but I enjoy the original. Yes, it gets in the way here and there. But think about it - the synthesizer-based music is so subtly mechanized (even the vocals) that it actually fits. Everything about the 1984 universe is false, doomed or both. And everything is soaked in hopelessness. So I agree with other reviewers that the Eurythmics' music makes for a dreamlike, surreal vibe that on the surface does not seem to fit at all...but does.
Incidentally...I've often wondered what the film would be like with no music at all, save the Party's broadcasted anthems, marches and whatnot. Think about it!
Also...the way the plaintive "Julia" plays over the final blackout of the end credits (vhs) is nothing less haunting. Some of you know what I mean. If not, listen to the lyrics - they mesh perfectly with the final winter scene of the book (how I wish they'd shot the final conversation between Julia and Winston outside in the cold, gray wind where it should be, instead of inside the cafe...imagine THAT scene!). Still, that song - more than anything else in the film - is what's stuck with me ever since I first saw this movie. Knowing it's gone from the DVD gives me the hunch that I'll end up voting for the VHS.
Still, I look forward to seeing the disc...who knows, I may prefer it. They told me I'd hate the so-called "director's cut" of Blade Runner, which removed Decker's running commentary and that tacked-on, sunny epilogue. But they were wrong!
So if you've not seen 1984...read and familiarize yourself with the book, THEN see the movie. If you can't get into the book, the film probably will waste your time. If you can see both the DVD and the original VHS, do so - it should make for an interesting comparison.
And if you end up depressed after seeing the film, it will have done its job. It's 1984 more and more all the time, you know....more info
- The book that would be a film
The book nineteen eighty-four was destined to be a film. This movie is a perfect example of what films of today are missing. On too many occasions filmmakers pander to their audience by overstating the details of the "plot points" rendering the viewer mindless. Director Michael Radford (IL Postino) creates a disturbing world that is far too similar to the present. The film is about a government called "The Party" that uses the media coverage of a war as a way to manipulate the past, present and future of mankind as a form of control. Those who question the "reality" (the media) are called "traitors". For some this film may require a second viewing not because it is not comprehensive, but because the film its self purposely manipulates the viewer. Pure brilliance!...more info
- One of the best book adaptations ever
"Nineteen Eighty-Four" (the actual on-screen title) is a rare example of a film adaptation of a book that faithfully transfers the visions and theme of the book's author, right down to even filming on the dates that the author specified (April-June 1984). George Orwell's frightening, hellish novel of a future where freedom has vanished, even from the minds of human beings, has been turned into an equally frightening film version. Its tale of a government that seeks to utterly crush the human spirit through propaganda, language, and fear, turning human beings into programmed machines, has never been more frightening than today. It is a book and movie for all times, as long as governments lie, tyrannies exist, and people surrender their freedoms in the name of fears, both real and imagined.
The casting couldn't be more perfect. John Hurt, looking worn and stretched past his years, is the ideal actor to play "little rebel" Winston Smith, who dares to think against the mysterious Big Brother and to fall in love. In his last film role, Richard Burton is like a glaring Greek Statue, stern and unflappable and scary. It's an unnerving and great performance. As for Suzanna Hamilton, Winston's love Julia, I was shocked when I first saw the movie: she matched exactly the image of Julia I had in my head when I read the book.
Director Michael Radford (who also directed "Il Postino") imagines the world of George Orwell exactly as the author would have if he had directed the film: as a wrecked vision of late-40s Britain if it had lost World War II. The set design is stunning, combing some high technology (video screens and computers) with rusty mid-forties technology (pneumatic tubes, rotary phones). Everywhere is decay and deprivation. Nothing really works, everything is bland and ugly in that awful, gray-stone block style that dominated Soviet and Chinese government architecture of the 1940s and 1950s. No doubt about it, the director understood where Orwell was coming from, and the models he was using.
Just like the book, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is a film that will utterly devastate you, get under your skin, and change the way you look at the world. It is a masterpiece.
(A note on the disc: Although they receive credit, the music by the Eurythmics has been completely removed, as per the wishes of the director. Since this is a no-frills DVD without much in the way of extras, there is no alternate music track to let people hear the original theatrical soundtrack. However, the film is much much better without the Eurythmics; they don't fit the style and feel of the film or the wonderful original music. Also, the washed-out photographic style of the original released has been changed to a more natural look; but this has been true of every version since the theatrical release. None of this should prevent you from getting hold of this wonderful movie.)...more info
- A must see for any Jehovah's Witness...
This movie (and book) is a must see for any Jehovah's Witness, or anyone that has them in your family. As they say, welcome to my world. The JW motto should be "he who controls the past, controls the future. And he that controls the future, controls the past." Fits them to a T....more info
- Orwell was a futurist
I loved the book in an oddly fascinating way, and the same with the film. Although the film is not a blow by blow account from the book, it serves to relay the darkness of the hour for humankind.It is one film that I watch at least annually. Orwells' vision of a future where public opinion and even personal thoughts are virtually controlled by "big brother" is at our doorstep. (Think in terms of the controlled media and political correctness, and the Patriot Act.)History is being rewritten as we speak. Orwell may have had insider information on the future that we are all rapidly seeing come into fuition. He was a member of several secret societies in London, notably the Fabian society, whose members advocate a socialist "big brother" control of the populace.
The acting in the film is first rate, while the scenery conveys the hopelessness of the situation. It is a must see....more info
Even if you haven't read the book you'll probably get the message of this film. Most of the ideas have filtered into the consciousness of Western man, especially the phrase Big Brother is Watching You. Surely everyone knows what this means. The cast is perfect: Burton, Cusack, Hamilton, Hurt seem to fit their parts exactly. It was a shock to be told that the location shots were filmed in areas of London that actually were in existence in 1984. I recognized Battersea Power Station, and London University Senate House. Those places reflect the totalitarianism of the 1930s, the decade that produced WWII. The book was written in 1948 (obviously), which was only 3 years after the ending of the war. The fact is that conditions in post-war Britain were almost worse than during the war itself. Austerity was the watchword. Rationing prevailed. Bombsite rubble was everywhere in London. Russia, the former ally, was now the enemy. Orwell was working for the BBC, and he must have developed a sensitivity to the potential ways in which the public could be deceived and manipulated. It didn't take much projecting to imagine how things threatened to develop, especially with the history of the pre-war Communist show-trials and executions, and rantings of Nazi oratory to draw on. All this is very well depicted in the film. The warning of the book was that these things weren't happening in Eurasia (Nazi Germany) or Eastasia (Russia) but in Oceania (US and UK). Airstrip One was the UK re-named: a place for transatlantic bombers to land and take off from. The national anthem was titled: Oceania,'Tis of thee. So Orwell's satire was targeting home territory. The threat of an everchanging enemy meant a way to keep the home population under control. The vision is utterly bleak. However, if the film has a flaw, it is that the visual shabbiness is almost too much. It's just a little over the top: and if the settings had been a fraction less threadbare and brutal, then thoughtcrime and its cure could perhaps have been even more chilling. Difficult to tell. John Hurt --- what a name for the part. ...more info
- Humm it did not happen in 1984, but how about now???
Look at current events an our culture of fear. Look at them. This movie is great, but read the book 1st if you can. If not at least watch this movie and think about it. It is really scarry when you think about it and how did the author know ahead so far. While you are at it read brave new world. It is great too and will make you think too....more info
- Good production, but absolutely pointless
I should say first that this should be a good movie, at least on paper. John Hurt and Richard Burton turn in solid performances, and everything about the production -- set design, costumes, etc. -- looks just as it should. But there is something lacking in this adaptation that makes it pale compared to the book.
Orwell's _Nineteen Eighty-Four_ was, largely, _about_ reading and writing, and the power they give to people. As such, it is a thrilling novel, and a great pleasure to read. Seeing John Hurt writing in Winston Smith's diary doesn't quite cut it for me; the essential spirit is lost in the translation to film.
Beyond this, there are also some more mundane elements of the plot and characters that were cut to fit the screening time. What I missed most was Smith's growing frustration with Julia being "only a revolutionary from the waist down" and his schoolboyish admiration (affection, really) for O'Brien.
The only real highlight of the movie is the constant voiceovers coming from the telescreens regarding the progress of the war and the rooting out of traitors. Orwell's vision is captured perfectly here, and the woman who read the "news" voiceovers gets the tone exactly right.
All in all, the movie is nowhere nearly as compelling as the book, and isn't really worth the trouble. In the time it takes you to procure and watch the movie, you could be halfway through the book....more info
- Awesome movie, but...
When is this gonna be released on DVD for the US? I really loved the book and saw the movie finally and I want to own it. Please release it on DVD for the US. And you think they would since V for Vendetta is similar and coming out on DVD soon....more info
- Way before its time
Excellent movie, and right up to date. Exactly whats happening now in the government. It is very ungood! Enjoy!...more info
- You will not find a better movie version of 1984
Naturally any film media can not place the entire book on the screen with maybe the exception of "Hamlet" (1996). With anything less than a mini-series. Second is it the story or the philosophy that needs to be transmitted? If you are lucky you get both.
In this case we are lucky because both the basic story and the basic philosophy were transmitted in this movie. An added plus, you could say double plus good, was the portraying the environment as a period piece as described in the book and not as some modern version. The story "1984" was envisioned in 1948.
In a society that has eliminated many imbalances, surplus goods, and even class struggle, there are bound to be deviates; Winston Smith (John Hurt) is one of those. He starts out, due to his inability to doublethink, with thoughtcrime. This is in a society that believes a thought is as real as the deed. Eventually he graduates through a series of misdemeanors to illicit sex (Suzanna Hamilton) and with the help of an encouraging inter party member (Richard Burton) even plans to overthrow the very government that took him in as an orphan.
If he gets caught, he will be sent to the "Ministry of Love" where they have a record of 100% cures for this sort of insanity. They will even forgive his past indiscretions.
This version is a little more graphic than the other two earlier commercial movies. However each movie version brings a different emphasis on this classic story. There is a 2007 version in the works
Read a review of the book "1984" by George Orwell. The movie can stand on its own merit, but knowledge of the book will help fill in the gaps and explain the inferences. Better actors could not have been picked. Richard Burton is in his element.
Many people think this is happening today.
- As faithful a adaptation of Orwell's classic as it is possible to make
This is a must-see for Orwell/1984 fans. It is as faithful a adaptation of the novel as it is possible to achieve IMHO. Largely shot on or around the dates mentioned in the novel. John Hurt, Suzanna Hamilton and Richard Burton in his final film appearance are just great. Brings the dense air and thick grime of the oppressed world of Ociana to life without being pushy or preachy. If Orwell had lived as long it is MHO that he would have approved this film adaptation....more info
- Radford removed the Eurythmics?
I love this film and have always wanted to make a sequel, I'm just a little miffed that they took out the Eurythmics music. According to one reviewer it was on the insistence of the Director, now grant it I do also like Muldowney's score (and own that particular s-track) and feel the newly replaced tracks work well in maintaining a bleak a-tonal atmosphere, I still sorely miss the eurythmics music and feel Radford should have left it as it is or at least made SURE MGM included a 2nd audio track version.
This could be another unusual case of an artist not being the best judge of his own work, at least in my opinion I feel the eurythmics' added a unique flavor and spirit to the film. I can understand at the time Radford may have had studio pressure to use them as was overly common practice for just about any film made in the 80's to have a slapped on pop tune soundtrack from whoever the hottest flavor of the year was. Still i think this film was an unusual exception, interesting coincidence in the same year another pop group (Toto) surprised many with a great score for Dune. ...more info