54 user 22 critic

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.


(novel), (screenplay)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. A TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel.

Stars: O.T. Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Max Minghella


Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate / Offred
Janine / Ofwarren
Zoey Wilson ...
Aunt Helena
Kathryn Doby ...
Aunt Elizabeth
Luke (as Rainer Schoene)
Lucia Hartpeng ...
Karma Ibsen Riley ...
Aunt Sara
Lucile McIntyre ...
Officer on Bus


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


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A História da Aia  »

Box Office


$4,960,385 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made and released about five years after its source novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood had been first published in 1985. See more »


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 »


Moira: I like girls.
See more »


Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)
Written by Jimmie Hodges
Performed by The Mills Brothers
Published by Duchess Music Corporation
Rights administered by MCA Music Publishing, a division of MCA, Inc.
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

Compelling - I may want to read the book
19 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This world was more frightening than 1984, Brave New World or Mad Max! In a way it had issues raised but those (the Orwell and Huxley books I had read both in younger days and more recently). When I chose it out of a list of possible viewings last week, the title suggested something adapted from Chaucer, so I was not expecting this. I also only noted the recently departed actress in the cast at the end (I think it was a coincidence that Encore Love channel scheduled that). In spite of the negative comments that I see on the board, it is definitely worth watching! If it is not as good as the book (which 1984 and Brave New World were most assuredly not), then I may also check that out. The major players were well cast and although I don't care for so much violence, it was mostly all fitting to the plot. My only complaint was the opening where it is unclear where the family are or why they are at a border (entering or leaving) or even why they are being persecuted (although I saw that in a review by someone who read the book). I went on to watch "Genesis" (an Indie film with a much more calming effect)- also well worth the time to view it.

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Right Wing Fantasy? Give me a Break! donald-garon
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The book- something I don't understand laurasalterego
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One of the best things about this movie... red_willow
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