MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 167 this week

The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

 -  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 4,696 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 22 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...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 28 titles
created 25 Feb 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 12 Jan 2012
 
a list of 24 titles
created 28 May 2013
 
a list of 38 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 30 titles
created 2 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 6.3/10 X  

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

Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Stars: Eric Schlosser, Margaret Atwood, Conrad Black
Gattaca (1997)
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

Director: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law
Code 46 (2003)
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A futuristic 'Brief Encounter', a love story in which the romance is doomed by genetic incompatibility.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.

Director: Michael Radford
Stars: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton
Blade Runner (1982)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
Flatliners (1990)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Medical students bring themselves near death; their experiment begins to go awry.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts
WarGames (1983)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.

Director: John Badham
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, John Wood
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack
Miracle Mile (1988)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young man hears a chance phone call telling him that a nuclear war has started and missiles will hit his city in 70 minutes.

Director: Steve De Jarnatt
Stars: Anthony Edwards, Mare Winningham, John Agar
Witness (1985)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas
Outbreak (1995)
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
...
...
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:

Branded: Sold: Controlled 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

David Dukes:  a doctor See more »

Goofs

The photo of Natasha's daughter that she is holding. See more »

Quotes

Preacher: We pledge allegiance to the Bible. The Old Testament shall be our sole and only Constitution.
See more »


Soundtracks

Shall We Gather At The River
Written by Robert Lowry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Taliban-like Christian theocracy in the US
2 February 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a haunting, psychologically compelling story about what the United States might be like under a right wing, fundamentalist theocracy. Adapted by the acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter from the novel by Margaret Atwood, this is a tale of the suppression of women by a totalitarian state called the 'Republic of Gilead.' In some respects one is reminded of Orwell's 1984: the endless war from without, designed to keep the populace preoccupied and beholden to the state; the paucity of basic food stuffs and consumer goods expect for the ruling class, the general hopelessness, etc. There is horrendous pollution so that most women are not fertile, yet the state needs babies for the war effort and the economy. Consequently women's bodies are taken over by the state, and those women that are fertile are made to bear children for the sterile leaders. Those who are not fertile are reduced to servitude. All overt sexual expression and any kind of activity not in keeping with the strict dictates of the fundamentalist religion is forbidden, and transgressions are punishable by death, sometimes in public hangings. In one ugly scene the handmaids themselves are made to pull the rope that attaches to the noose that strangles a wayward handmaid. This is followed by a man accused of rape being thrown to the handmaids, who literally rip him apart with their bare hands.

Natasha Richardson has the starring role as a fertile handmaid for the Commander (Robert Duvall). She is not artificially inseminated (presumably since that would be against the dictates of the religion, which is, by the way, a kind of repressive fundamentalist Christianity), instead there is a 'ceremony' in which the Commander's wife (Faye Dunaway) holds her hands (as they both wear veils) while the Commander with his clothes still on--Well, one can imagine.

I read the novel some years ago and was struck not by Atwood's attack on fundamentalist Christianity as much as I was by her attack on men, period. Harold Pinter's screenplay and Volker Schlondorff's direction emphasize the hypocrisy, willful ignorance and anti-human aspects of fundamentalism while attributing the sexism to the patriarchal religion. What is stunningly topical (viewing this in the year of Our Lord 2002) is the parallel between the repressive fundamentalist theocracy of Atwood's vision and that of the Taliban. The subjugation of women, using them strictly as servants or as reproductive machines, their bodies covered and their heads veiled (in bright red), is a striking bit of dead-on foresight by Atwood, Pinter and Schlondorff. This movie was perhaps made a decade ahead of its time.

Richardson is very good in her characteristic way. She has a quality unlike most movie stars in that she projects primarily not her looks or charisma or even her vitality, but instead her individual will, a quality that is exactly right for the part. Faye Dunaway as the commander's wife acts out (in contrasting blue) a kind of Daughters of the American Revolution club woman mentality to a tee. Duvall is wonderfully slimy as a warlord hypocrite always claiming to act in the name of God. (Seems familiar.) Elizabeth McGovern is believable as a sexy lesbian handmaid (a 'gender criminal') while Victoria Tennant ("Aunt Lydia") is a kind of drill sergeant housemother to the handmaids. Aidan Quinn gets to be Richardson's heroic lover.

This may not be entirely faithful to the book, but it is a fine work in its own right. The direction is intelligent and focused and the script by Pinter excellent. The acting is superior all around and the story is true in a psychologically sense. This movie is also a warning that it could happen here.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


38 of 55 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
I'm studying this in English!! allthatjazz97
The book- something I don't understand laurasalterego
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:
?