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)
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Faye Dunaway originally quit the role of the Commander's wife, believing her character to be too weak, but a phone call from source novelist Margaret Atwood changed her mind. See more »

Goofs

In separate washroom stalls, Kate and Moira shake hands above the wall. We see Moira's hand go up, but when camera looks from Kate's side, her eyes look up before Moira's hand appears above the wall. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Lydia: Oh God, make me fruitful.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Whispering Hope
Written by Septimus Winner as Alice Hawthorne
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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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