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Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Unrated | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 14 November 1966 (USA)
In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Fabian / Headmistress
Jeremy Spenser ...
Man with the Apple
Bee Duffell ...
Book Woman
Alex Scott ...
Book Person: 'The Life of Henry Brulard'
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Storyline

Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name. Guy Montag is a firefighter who lives in a lonely, isolated society where books have been outlawed by a government fearing an independent-thinking public. It is the duty of firefighters to burn any books on sight or said collections that have been reported by informants. People in this society including Montag's wife are drugged into compliancy and get their information from wall-length television screens. After Montag falls in love with book-hoarding Clarisse, he begins to read confiscated books. It is through this relationship that he begins to question the government's motives behind book-burning. Montag is soon found out, and he must decide whether to return to his job or run away knowing full well the consequences that he could face if captured. Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What if you had no right to read? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 November 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farenhajt 451  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title of the movie (and the book) comes from the exact temperature at which paper catches fire, according to a fireman to whom Ray Bradbury posed the question. Actually, this temperature refers to the auto-ignition temperature (the temperature at which paper burns without being touched to flame), and the exact temperature varies according to the type of paper, its age, and several other factors. See more »

Goofs

As the firemen leave the apartment in the first raid, the sack is half full of books. The bag they toss over the balcony is twice as full. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Announcer: An Enterprise Vineyard Production. Oskar Werner, Julie Christie... in Fahrenheit four-five-one.
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Crazy Credits

The beginning credits are spoken instead of written on the screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Matrix (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

visionary brilliance
6 January 2005 | by (Hellfudge, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

Go figure that I had the privilege of seeing "Fahrenheit 451," for free, on a big screen a few years back (an independent Illinois art house had gotten hold of what was allegedly one of the last surviving prints), and at the time hadn't the foggiest concept of how PRIVILEGED an event it was. Sitting in a theater crowded with college students on a budget with nothing better to do, I watched this diverting little retro item, appreciated its subtlety, nuance, bold visual style, and 'got' the message that if we're not careful, we'll be mindless drones having our desires dictated by The Tube (in current times, that's hardly a profound statement).

Francois Truffaut's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's novel is a bold visual feast that presents a time that might seem 'retrograde' in the eye of a modern pop-culture snob, but ultimately projects what a conceivable 'future' might look like (and not that CGI malarkey served up in "The Matrix"). Interiors of houses are awash in odd colors and give shelter to appliances that don't look dissimilar from our own; TV screens embedded in living-room walls play programs which vacuous housewives interact with sometimes. The film is so relentlessly confident in its appearance that it withstands the test of time.

Though if "Fahrenheit 451" only had its storybook style to rely on, it would fade and be filed away as a mere technical achievement. Truffaut, working from strong source material, concocts a riveting parable about ignorance and the things we, as humans, take for granted. The story follows Guy Montag, an Everyman who is employed as a fireman--a connotation which entails ransacking residences in search of books (reading and writing have been outlawed in this world) and burning them. He has a medicated-smile wife (Julie Christie), a quiet home life, and is in line for a promotion, until a neighbor (Christie again) inspires him to question his motives for working such a sordid job.

One character argues that books cause depression, making people confront unpleasant feelings. "Fahrenheit 451" sometimes runs the risk of lending truth to that statement--in some ways, it is a bleak commentary on civilization, but at the same time grounded in a benevolent humanity that offsets Orwell's brutal, pessimistic world of "1984" (though both texts and films share similar themes). This humanity is underlined in an upbeat, even comic ending (the details of which I won't divulge here).

"Fahrenheit 451" is a spellbinding work of art, in good company with other incendiary works ("A Clockwork Orange" and "Fight Club" come to mind) that have defied the constraints of time and age.


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