MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,291 this week

The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi  |  9 March 1990 (USA)
6.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.0/10 from 5,007 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 21 critic

In a dystopicly polluted rightwing religious tyranny, a young woman is put in sexual slavery on account of her now rare fertility.

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 28 Jan 2011
 
list image
a list of 22 titles
created 02 Sep 2011
 
a list of 32 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 40 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

The Handmaid's Tale (1990) on IMDb 6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Handmaid's Tale.

User Polls

2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Payback I (2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An adaptation of Margaret Atwood's book examining the metaphor of indebtedness.

Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Stars: Eric Schlosser, Margaret Atwood, Conrad Black
Strike (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A nearly illiterate woman becomes one of the founders of Poland's Solidarity union.

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Katharina Thalbach, Dominique Horwitz, Andrzej Chyra
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Laschen, a German journalist, travels to the city of Beirut during the fights between Christians and Palestinians to produce an essay about the situation. Together with his photographer, he... See full summary »

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Hanna Schygulla, Jean Carmet
Voyager (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Walter Faber has survived a crash with an airplane. His next trip is by ship. On board this ship he meets the enchanting Sabeth and they have a passionate love affair. Together they travel ... See full summary »

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Sam Shepard, Julie Delpy, Barbara Sukowa
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Rita Vogt is a radical West German terrorist who abandons the revolution and settles in East Germany with a new identity provided by the East German secret service. She lives in constant ... See full summary »

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Bibiana Beglau, Richard Kropf, Martin Wuttke
A Free Woman (1972)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A divorced woman in her thirties fights a losing battle in Munich to attain belated self-fulfillment. The die is cast in a briskly impersonal society geared to male dominance and early training for career women.

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Maria Brunner, Wolfgang Bächler, Ute Ellin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The setting is early America during the oil boom. An elderly, down on his luck 'oil man', Mr. Cox finds himself in the town of Henrietta. Using unconventional methods, he convinces himself ... See full summary »

Director: James Keach
Stars: Robert Duvall, Aidan Quinn, Frances Fisher
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A countess' unrequited love for an army officer leads to disaster.

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Matthias Habich, Margarethe von Trotta, Rüdiger Kirschstein
War and Peace (1982)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Directors: Stefan Aust, Axel Engstfeld, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Günther Kaufmann, Manfred Zapatka
Widows' Peak (1994)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Edwina has just moved into the neighborhood known as "Widows' Peak," so called due to the prevalent marital status of the residents, who tend to be a rather exclusive bunch. The residents ... See full summary »

Director: John Irvin
Stars: Joan Plowright, Mia Farrow, Natasha Richardson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The haunting story of two sisters and the secrets that bind them throughout several decades, both in life and death, as revealed through a cult novel titled "The Blind Assassin".

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kate / Offred
...
Serena Joy
...
Nick
...
Moira
...
Aunt Lydia
...
Commander
...
Ofglen
...
Janine / Ofwarren
Zoey Wilson ...
Aunt Helena
Kathryn Doby ...
Aunt Elizabeth
Reiner Schöne ...
Luke (as Rainer Schoene)
Lucia Hartpeng ...
Cora
Karma Ibsen Riley ...
Aunt Sara
Lucile McIntyre ...
Rita
...
Officer on Bus
Edit

Storyline

Set in a Fascistic future America, The Handmaid's Tale tells the story of Kate, a handmaid. In this America, the religious right has taken over and gone hog-wild. Kate is a criminal, guilty of the crime of trying to escape from the US, and is sentenced to become a Handmaid. The job of a Handmaid is to bear the children of the man to whom she is assigned. After ruthless group training by Aunt Lydia in the proper way to behave, Kate is assigned as Handmaid to the Commander. Kate is attracted to Nick, the Commander's chauffeur. At the same time, a resistance movement begins to challenge the regime. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See it...while it's still allowed See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A História da Aia  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,960,385 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Residents of Durham, North Carolina may recognize several landmarks in the film.

Examples include:

Duke University Chapel, where the Salvaging/Particicution was filmed.

The streets near Brightleaf Square and West Village, where roadblocks and checkpoints were built.

The American Tobacco Campus, where the Handmaids first met Aunt Lydia. Observant viewers may notice the Lucky Strike Chimney in the background. See more »

Goofs

When Serena Joy shows Kate the photograph of Kate's daughter, the two are sitting on a sofa. After Serena hands Kate the photo, she takes a cigarette out of a pack and picks up a lighter. In the next shot, she's smoking the cigarette even though we have never seen her actually light it. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Lydia: You are the lucky ones. You are going to serve God and country. I pronounce you handmaids.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Johnny Come Home
Written by David Steele and Roland Gift
Performed by Fine Young Cannibals
Published by Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd.
Courtesy of MCA Records/I.R.S. Records
Licensed by FFR Records Ltd Trading as London Records ©1985
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
as good as commercial film gets
7 January 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm surprised by some of the negative comments on this film. In my opinion, it represents the best kind of literary adaptation that the cinema offers: One in which the screenwriter and director clearly remained faithful to the spirit of the book without attempting to reproduce it. How can you go wrong with a Margaret Atwood book, a Harold Pinter screenplay and Volker Schlöndorff's direction? Some have suggested that the film suffered from "wooden" acting. Personally, I thought it was a fantastic cast: Robert Duvall and Victoria Tennant at their evil best; Faye Dunnaway as the "defeated" wife; Elizabeth McGovern as saucy as ever; Aidan Quinn and Natascha Richardson in the necessarily bland roles that drive the narrative. What holes here?

Commercial film doesn't get any better. "The Handmaid's Tale" is a dark portrait of a world unlike ours and yet so much like ours... in which a right-wing, bureaucratic patriarchy dominates the land. Women have three main functions (for which their clothing is color coded): Red for the handmaids, who are walking wombs; white for the innnocent children; blue for the sterile trophy wives. Brown is worn by the "aunts", a futuristic equivalent of the Sonderkomando (i.e., Jews who worked on behalf of the Nazi's in the death camps), evil schoolmistress types who both train/brainwash young women for assignment and occasionally destroy them. A fifth function, for which the garb is particularly interesting, is "working" in Gilead's underground social club (essentially a den of iniquity, rife with prostitution and drugs.) Point is... by splitting up these functions, hasn't Atwood described the basic roles that women play within our own male-dominated society, in various different permutations and combinations? To the patriarchy, women are mothers, models, sluts, angels and, when professionals, they are not to aspire to more teaching posts. In Gilead, the lines are clearer; in our own society, aren't most women "supposed to" play some combination of all of these roles?

I get the feeling that most moviegoers are looking for something else in "sci-fi." Here's a new plot twist: The rebels feed Kate some kind of medication that allows her to read the commander's mind while destroying his brain. Wait... that's "Scanners." Oops. Seriously, two of the reviews on this site made spedific mention of Schlöndorff's "horrible", "atrocious" directorial skills. Ahem. Perhaps before they weigh in on the auteur, they ought to see "Young Törless", "Coup de grâce", "The Tin Drum" and all of his other wonderful efforts. As a matter of fact, to insinuate that someone who could bring Grass' Tin Drum to the screen in such a stunning fashion is a lousy director is PREPOSTEROUS. Schlöndorff is a giant of the New German Cinema, and it underscores the ignorance of the Hollywooders when they cast such baseless aspersions.


52 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Right Wing Fantasy? Give me a Break! donald-garon
Comparable movies BruceNyborg
The book- something I don't understand laurasalterego
I'm studying this in English!! allthatjazz97
Erotic???? johnny_crazy88
One of the best things about this movie... red_willow
Discuss The Handmaid's Tale (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?