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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
...
...
Nick
...
...
...
...
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:

See it...while it's still allowed 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are several Durham landmarks in North Carolina, USA featured in the film. They 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 (ATC), where the Handmaids first meet Aunt Lydia; and the Lucky Strike Chimney in the background of the ATC. See more »

Goofs

The clock chimes 10 as Offred enters the Commander's office for the last time, but the clock seen on the wall behind her in the next few shots shows several minutes past 10 and in a close-up has gone back a few minutes. See more »

Quotes

Moira: [to Aunt Lydia as she and Kate tie her up in the bathroom] If you're lucky they'll find you before Christmas. Remember I didn't kill you.
[taps Aunt Lydia's blindfold]
Moira: I like your panties.
See more »


Soundtracks

Shall We Gather At The River
Written by Robert Lowry
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User Reviews

 
Startling visual impact
21 May 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The handmaids in brilliant red, the wives in electric blue, the children in white--Margaret Atwood's neo-fascist state comes startingly alive in Schloendorff's film. The bright colors are oppressive in their uniformity, whether in the "ceremony"--Robert Duvall's passionless copulation with Natasha Richardson as she lies in the lap of his sterile wife, Faye Dunaway--or in the party to celebrate the birth of a handmaid's child, or the execution of another handmaid for fornication. There are several fine actors--Elizabeth McGovern and Aidan Quinn also play memorable, if brief, roles--but the cinematography steals the show here, giving this anti-Utopia the same oppressive tension as the original 1984 and far surpassing any version of Brave New World. It may be that Atwood's book, which I haven't read, adds layers of depth to the characters and plot, but Schloendorff's visualisation is a real enhancement to the tale. He creates the tension of a police state with only momentary intrusions of brutality or machinery. A strong film that will gain its following with time.


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