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The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

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)
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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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
...
Luke (as Rainer Schoene)
Lucia Hartpeng ...
Cora
Karma Ibsen Riley ...
Aunt Sara
Lucile McIntyre ...
Rita
...
Officer on Bus
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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:

A haunting tale of sexuality in a country gone wrong. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture's opening prologue states: "Once upon a time in the recent future a country went wrong. The country was called The Republic of Gilead". This wordage is also quoted in the movie's main trailer. See more »

Goofs

When Aunt Lydia introduces herself to the prospective Handmaids, a slow-moving freight train is rolling through the background. This train disappears when she snaps her fingers. See more »

Quotes

Moira: What they get you for?
Kate: We tried to cross the border. You?
Moira: Gender Treachery. I like girls.
Kate: My God! They could've sent you to the colonies for that.
Moira: They don't send you to the colonies if your ovaries are still jumping.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #7.4 (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Bereavement
Written by Otto Sieben
Published by Sonoton/Associated Production Music
Courtesy of Sonoton/Associated Production Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very disturbing and depressing
7 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a nightmare vision of the future. It seems 1 out of every 100 women is fertile (for some reason). The ones who aren't perform slave labor. The ones that are are "sold" off to rich families where they have sex with the husband to produce a baby. Kate (the late and missed Natasha Richardson) is one such servant to Serena Joy (Faye Dunaway) and her husband the Commander (Robert Duvall). Kate wants out--but it seems there's no way.

The synopsis only scratches the surface of a VERY dark and disturbing movie. It slowly shows how women are treated and used and it just gets more horrifying as it unfolds. The parallels to Hitler's Nazi Germany are fairly obvious but here we have barren women instead of Jews and gays. The good acting by everybody makes this hard to shake off. Aidan Quinn (as Nick) and Duvall are OK; Victoria Tennant is chilling as a leader of the camps; Elizabeth McGovern is just great as a fellow prisoner who befriends Kate; Dunaway is also very good in her role. Best of all is Richardson. This couldn't have been an easy role but she pulls it off beautifully. She died at far too young an age. This is basically an unknown movie and it's easy to see why--it's far too dark and disturbing for a general audience. However the ending is (sort of) uplifting (and changed from the book). Grim, dark and depressing. View it at your own risk. The ceremony sequences are almost impossible to watch and shocked the hell out of me the first time I saw this.


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