For the scene when V emerges from Larkhill, stunt double Chad Stahelski literally walked through fire, wearing just a special fire resistant gel and a g-string. Stahelski's body temperature had to be lowered before the scene was shot, and luckily, it was 3 below zero the night of the shoot. 15 minutes before a take, he would put on ice cold flame resistant clothing, and once he took them off, he would be covered with fire resistant gel which had been icing all day long.
The reason the secret police are called "Fingermen" is because the New Order was arranged on the model of the human body. The Chancellor was the Head; the television station BTN was the mouth; visual and audio surveillance were the Eye and the Ear; Inspector Finch was part of The Nose, the police force, and Creedy's secret police were the Hand.
When shooting the fight in Victoria Station, the stunt-men literally moved in slow motion on set whilst David Leitch (Hugo Weaving's stunt double) moved in real time, making it seem as if he was moving much faster than the Fingermen. The scene was shot at 60fps to slow the Fingermen down even further.
Certain scenes within the film feature James Purefoy as V, who was originally cast in the role but replaced by Hugo Weaving four weeks into filming. Weaving's voice was simply dubbed over Purefoy's performance. Director James McTeigue said in an interview: "Can I tell the difference? Yeah. Can the audience tell? I doubt it."
On a clock that has an hour hand and a minute hand, the time 11:05 makes a V. These two numbers, 11 and 5, where 11 is November, and 5 is the day of November, spell out: the fifth of November. "Remember, remember the 5th of November."
The exchange between Evey and V that ends with V saying, "A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having!" is a reference to a famous paraphrase of the words of American Anarchist Feminist, Emma Goldman (1869-1940). One version of the familiar line attributed to her is, "If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution." While this particular phrase is not hers, it is a distillation of a passage from her autobiography, "Living My Life" published in 1931.
In the comic, illustrator David Lloyd often subtly changed V's Guy Fawkes mask to suit the mood or tone of a particular scene. The filmmakers considered designing a number of subtly different masks, but they ultimately decided to alter the shadows and lighting in post-production.
Evey mentions to Gordon Dietrich that "eggie in the basket" is the same breakfast V made for her the first morning she spent at his place. She fails to mention (or doesn't notice) that Dietrich and V also both greeted her in exactly the same way, not with "good morning" but with, "bonjour mademoiselle." Also, Stan Getz is playing in the background in both instances.
When we look into Valerie's flashback, there is a brief scene when she talks about meeting her lover while filming her movie. When we see the scene of her washing clothes in the bucket, the film crew behind her was composed nearly entirely of the real crew for "V for Vendetta".
The scenes in the abandoned London Underground station were filmed at Aldwych, a Piccadilly line station that closed in 1994. The branch still has tracks and electricity, meaning trains can still operate.
Madam Justice is often depicted wearing a blindfold to represent justice that does not see, and cannot be biased or discriminatory in any way. This film shows the statue of Justice that has stood above the Old Bailey criminal courts since 1907, which is not blindfolded.
The original comic series was originally created by Alan Moore. However, following his negative experience with From Hell (2001) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Moore decided to reject all money and credit from Hollywood on any adaptations of his work. Thus, he gave all the money he would've gotten to the artist who drew the character with him, and rejected his own "created by" credit from the film.
After Finch's stealthy visit to Larkhill, he explains he has a 'feeling' of knowing what has happened in the past and what would happen in the future. The montage of the future happenstances clearly shows Evey setting the 'Scarlet Carsons' in a vase and as she walks out of frame, Finch's reflection drinking from a glass in the mirror on the wall behind can be seen clearly. This could be a foreshadowing to indicate that Evey and Finch end up together. Also the scenes yet to happen in the film, like V being shot by Creedy's men and Evey looking up at the explosives stacked in the train, are clearly seen.
V wears a mask in the guise of Guy Fawkes who is most famous for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which he was placed in charge of executing due to his military and explosives experience. The plot, masterminded by Robert Catesby, was a failed attempt by a group of provincial English Roman Catholic conspirators to kill King James the First of England (the Sixth of Scotland), his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in one swoop by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during its State Opening.
Background checks were conducted on every actor and technician who carried a weapon in the Parliament Square scenes. The bar-codes on each piece of weaponry were scanned, to track the individuals authorized to handle them.
The two tanks used in the Parliament Square scenes were real decommissioned army tanks. Each night, prior to transporting the vehicles to the shoot, each tank was inspected by government security personnel to ensure the weaponry was not functional and had not been altered in any way. They were then taken via truck to the location, with no stops allowed during transport, and were accompanied by armed security officials the entire way.
The account of Adam Sutler's rise to power that V delivers to Inspector Finch closely parallels the account Leo Tolstoy gives of Napoléon Bonaparte's rise to power in France in Part I, Chapter III of the Epilogue to War and Peace.
The plot of the film is remotely similar to that of the Alexandre Dumas novel 'The Count of Monte Cristo' as both stories revolve around characters who escape from imprisonment and proceed in seeking revenge on all of those responsible for their incarceration.
In the original graphic novel, V's cause was anarchy, not freedom. Alan Moore was very critical of the movie for changing what he called the "anarchy vs. fascism" structure of his graphic novel into what he saw as an exploration of "American neo-liberalism vs. American neo-conservatism" that should have been set in the U.S. instead of Britain.
The name of the rose which V uses as a calling-card has been changed for the film. In the book, it is a real variety, 'Violet Carson' (named after the British actress and pianist Violet Carson). The film changes this to 'Scarlet Carson' - presumably under the assumption that the audience would think the name referred to its colour, not to a person. It is, in fact, yellow.
Among the paintings in V's lair are Waterhouse's "The Lady of Shalott", "Puberty" by Edvard Munch, "Bacchus and Ariadne" by Titian, "The Arnolfini Wedding" by Van Eyck and "Elohim Creating Adam" by William Blake.
The tag line references 'The Bonfire Prayer.' It commemorates 'Guy Fawkes night', November 5th, when a Catholic plot to overthrow the British parliament was foiled. Several variations exist. One version is "Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent to blow up the King and the Parliament. Three score barrels of powder below, Poor old England to overthrow. By God's providence he was catch'd, with a dark lantern and burning match. Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring. Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King! Hip hip hoorah! A penny loaf to feed the Pope. A farthing o'cheese to choke him. A pint of beer to rinse it down. A faggot of sticks to burn him. Burn him in a tub of tar. Burn him like a blazing star. Burn his body from his head. Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead. Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah!" It is still recited in full at the famous Lewes bonfire night celebrations in East Sussex.
When V meets Creedy, he says, "Penny for the Guy." Traditionally in England, children would ask for money to buy fireworks around November 5th, "Guy Fawkes Day." On that day, children would make a Guy Fawkes mannequin to be burned on a bonfire in the evening, amid fireworks.
Euan Blair, son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, worked as a runner for the film's production company. The role drew criticism after actor Stephen Fry suggested that political connections affected obtaining permission to film in government buildings. The producers strenuously denied the allegations. Conservative MP David Davies told the Sunday Times, "It smacks of sheer hypocrisy that Blair's government is willing to arrest a woman for simply making a protest in Whitehall but is happy to open the doors when Blair's son turns up in a film which is about parliament being blown up."
Evey and Gordon watch a spoof skit on the Gordon Deitrich Show, in which a fake V teases a fake Sutler. After "Sutler" trips, the music switches to a fast-paced tune. The song is "Yakety Sax", also known as the theme from The Benny Hill Show (1969), and the sped-up comical chase that follows is a clear reference to such antics on the Hill Show.
Several of the main themes (music), when written out on a staff form the letter V if the notes are connected, dot to dot. Specifically the theme that's played at the beginning of "The Dominoes Fall," or the piano solo during "Valerie."
Included in the images seen on T.V. as Valerie talks about America's war growing worse and then eventually coming to London, is footage of baby Jessica McClure being pulled out of the well she fell into in Texas in 1987.
One of the major challenges in the film was how to bring V to life from under an expressionless mask. Thus, considerable effort was made to bring together lighting, acting, and Hugo Weaving's voice to create the proper mood for the situation. Since the mask muffled Weaving's voice, his entire dialogue was re-recorded in post-production.
When V is reading, and Evey offers her assistance, the book V is reading is "The Golden Bough" by Sir George James Frazer. This extremely influential book caused a sensation when it was published, due to its empirical examination of religion as mythology, in particular, the mythology of Jesus.
One of the forbidden items in Gordon's secret basement is a protest poster with a mixed U.S.-U.K. flag with a swastika and the title "Coalition of the Willing, To Power" which combines the "Coalition of the Willing" with Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of Will to Power.
The building used for the wide-angle shot of Evey on the balcony actually exists, although certain architectural details were digitally modified. It is located at 1 Cornhill, London, and is just across the street from the Bank of England.
In the memorial for those that died as a result of the virus, the statues are of children playing "Ring a Ring o' Roses". It is often assumed that the nursery rhyme was created in reference to the Great Plague of the mid 17th century, however this connection is considered baseless.
In the movie Mr. Creedy says: "You've got nothing but your bloody knives and your fancy karate gimmicks. We have guns." This line is similar to one from Mr. Almond in the book, a character that was excluded from the movie.
The symbol of the Norsefire Party is one form of an ancient heraldic symbol called the "Croix de Lorraine". A similar symbol was adopted as the official symbol of General Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces between 1940 and 1944. It was later used for various Gaullist political parties in France, notably the RPR (Rally for the Republic).
The movie omits or changes several important details in order to make V and his actions more morally appealing. Also, the government, while more sinister in the film, is at the same time less human, with the authorities in the graphic novel being more complex. For instance, chancellor Sutler (Adam Susan in the novel) is an awkward and timid man who sincerely believes in fascism and leaves all important decisions to F.A.T.E., a supercomputer also absent in the movie. V, on the other side, is way more violent and less selective in who he kills, often murdering innocents in the process. His aim is not liberty, but anarchy, and he is actually abusive with Evey, an illiterate 16-year-old prostitute in the novel. Gordon Deitrich is a criminal -and Evey's lover- and he is killed by another criminal. Also, the central plot of the movie of the government actually targeting the population with a virus attack is not present in the book, and while it is hinted that a nuclear war happened, the ones responsible are left unseen. All these changes infuriated Allan Moore, who claimed that the fascist government in his work had been "defanged", and refused to have any credit for the film.
Alan Moore, writer of the original graphic novel, greatly disliked the film, criticising the script for "having plot holes you wouldn't have got away with on Wizzer and Chips in the 1960s". He ended cooperation with his publisher, DC Comics, after its corporate parent, Warner Bros., failed to retract statements about Moore's supposed endorsement of the film. Joel Silver said at a press conference that Lana Wachowski had talked with Moore, and that "[Moore] was very excited about what [Lana] had to say." Moore disputed this, reporting that he told Wachowski "I didn't want anything to do with films ... I wasn't interested in Hollywood," and demanded that DC Comics force Warner Bros to issue a public retraction and apology for Silver's "blatant lies". Although Silver called Moore directly to apologise, no public retraction appeared. Moore was quoted as saying that the comic book had been "specifically about things like fascism and anarchy. Those words, 'fascism' and 'anarchy,' occur nowhere in the film. It's been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country." This conflict between Moore and DC Comics was the subject of an article in The New York Times on 12 March 2006, five days before the US release. In the New York Times article, Silver stated that about 20 years prior to the film's release, he met with Moore and David Gibbons when Silver acquired the film rights to V For Vendetta and Watchmen. Silver stated, "Alan was odd, but he was enthusiastic and encouraging us to do this. I had foolishly thought that he would continue feeling that way today, not realising that he wouldn't." Moore did not deny this meeting or Silver's characterisation of Moore at that meeting, nor did Moore state that he advised Silver of his change of opinion in those approximately 20 years. The New York Times article also interviewed David Lloyd about Moore's reaction to the film's production, stating, "Mr. Lloyd, the illustrator of V for Vendetta, also found it difficult to sympathise with Mr. Moore's protests. When he and Mr. Moore sold their film rights to the comic book, Mr. Lloyd said: "We didn't do it innocently. Neither myself nor Alan thought we were signing it over to a board of trustees who would look after it like it was the Dead Sea Scrolls."
V enters a building and is challenged by a guard. V opens his coat, revealing a large amount of explosives taped to his chest. The guard curses in surprise. There is a similar scene in the Wachowski film The Matrix (1999), with a large amount of weapons instead of explosives.
In the scene where V is speaking with cops in a costume of Rookwood, the sculpture of dancing children is a copy of the fountain "Barmaley" in Stalingrad, which survived after massive bombing of the city during WW2 by Nazis in 1942.
Hilary Henkin wrote an early adaptation of the graphic novel, which was singled out as one of Hollywood's best unproduced scripts in a 1993 Los Angeles Times article. Her script was described as a "wild, over-the-top saga" and a cross between Les Misérables and A Clockwork Orange (1971). It bears little, if any, relation to the finished product, with the inclusion of overtly satirical and surrealistic elements not present in the graphic novel, as well as the removal of much of the novel's ambiguity, especially in regard to V's identity.
There are two references made to the notorious punk rock band The Sex Pistols, particularly the two songs that were banned in England, "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the UK". The group was banned from England for speaking about revolution and anarchy, two of the film's main points. Their ban marked an era of censorship.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
There is a duality in the movie between V and Evey. As it is shown at the beginning of the movie, V was created through fire (laboratory fire scene), signifying destruction and vengeance. In contrast, Evey is reborn through water (rooftop scene), signifying rebirth and forgiveness. The movie ends with V's death, symbolizing the end of suffering and vengeance, leaving room for Evey and forgiveness. And so destruction yields to rebirth.
The Houses of Parliament destroyed in the film are not the same buildings which Guy Fawkes planned to destroy in 1605. The original Parliament buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1834. The current buildings are built on the same site and took 30 years to build, finishing in 1870. They were largely destroyed again in World War II and rebuilt to the original design in the late 1940s.
In the end where the people remove their masks, you can see briefly characters who have died in the movie, including the girl with glasses, Deitrich and Valerie, suggesting that their cause and their memory live on.
There are repeated references to the letter "V" and the number five throughout the film. For example, V's introductory monologue to Evey begins and ends with "V", has five sentences, and contains 49 words that begin with "V". Similar references are made through V's background, choice of words and action. V is held in Larkhill cell number "V". A favorite Latin phrase of V's is said to be from "Faust" but in fact was a motto of the notorious occultist Aleister Crowley: "Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici" ("By the power of truth, I, a living man, have conquered the universe". The word "Vniversum" is mis-spelled in the movie and original comic as Veniversum). In a dance with Evey, the song V chooses is number five on his jukebox, though all the songs on his jukebox are numbered "5". When V confronts Creedy in his home, he plays Beethoven's "Fifth" Symphony, whose opening notes have a rhythmic pattern that resembles the letter "V" in Morse code (...-). The Symphony's opening was used as a call-sign in the European broadcasts of the BBC during World War II in reference to Winston Churchill's "V for Victory". The film's title itself, is also a reference to "V for Victory". In the battle with Creedy and his men at Victoria station, V forms a "V" with his daggers just before he throws them. After the battle, when V is mortally wounded, he leaves a "V" signature in his own blood. The destruction of Parliament results in a display of fireworks which form the letter "V" (just like at the beginning with Old Bailey), which is also an inverted red-on-black "A" symbol for anarchy. Like the Old Bailey and Larkhill, Parliament was destroyed on the fifth of November. Also, Big Ben shows the start of the group of Vs at 11:05 pm, creating a giant V on the clock face. 11:05 is also the month and day format for the 5th of November. The fireworks at the end of the movie also form the letter V. It is also noted that in roman numerals, the number 5 is represented by a V symbol.
In the movie, the Old Bailey is blown up at the beginning, and the Houses of Parliament are blown up at the end. In the graphic novel, the Houses of Parliament are blown up at the beginning, with the Downing Street saved for the grand finale one year later. The graphic novel also has the grand finale on the 10th of November, not the 5th.
Hugo Weaving appears unmasked while V is pretending to be the old man who gives the information to Inspectors Finch and Dominic. He also appears unmasked, though with his face always in shadows, while a disguised V acts as the guard/torturer of Evey while she's imprisoned.
It's commonly believed that Delia is the only character who dies that same way in the movie as in the novel. If you listen closely while the bishop is being killed, when the scene cuts to the surveillance van, you can hear V saying "now open your mouth and stick out your tongue." In the novel, the bishop died after eating a poisoned communion wafer.
If you look closely to the interrogator, when Evey gets questioned, you will see that it's not only V (Hugo Weaving) who is shown. The first and last interrogation are being done by Creedy and it is him who stands in the door while telling her she has been sentenced to death. At the end when the interrogator "begs" her for information, it's Weaving again.