7.2/10
58,201
184 user 73 critic

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

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In a totalitarian future society, a man, whose daily work is re-writing history, tries to rebel by falling in love.

Director:

Michael Radford

Writers:

George Orwell (novel), Michael Radford
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Popularity
1,845 ( 72)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hurt ... Winston Smith
Richard Burton ... O'Brien
Suzanna Hamilton Suzanna Hamilton ... Julia
Cyril Cusack ... Charrington
Gregor Fisher ... Parsons
James Walker James Walker ... Syme
Andrew Wilde ... Tillotson
David Trevena David Trevena ... Tillotson's Friend
David Cann David Cann ... Martin
Anthony Benson Anthony Benson ... Jones
Peter Frye Peter Frye ... Rutherford
Roger Lloyd Pack ... Waiter
Rupert Baderman Rupert Baderman ... Winston Smith as a Boy
Corinna Seddon Corinna Seddon ... Winston's Mother
Martha Parsey Martha Parsey ... Winston's Sister
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Storyline

In the year 1984, rocket bombs and rats prey on the inhabitants of the crumbling metropolis of London. Far away on the Malabar Front, a seemingly interminable war rages against Eastasia. The Ministry of Truth broadcasts ceaselessly to the population via its inescapable network of telescreens. These devices, which pervade all aspects of peoples' lives, are also capable of monitoring their every word and action. They form part of an elaborate surveillance system used by the Ministry of Love, and its dreaded agents the Thought Police, to serve their singular goal: the elimination of 'thoughtcrime'. Winston Smith is a Party worker - part of the vast social caste known as the Outer Party, the rank and file of the sprawling apparatus of government. Winston works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth - the section charged with modifying historical news archives for consistency. When by chance Winston uncovers incontrovertible proof that the Party is lying, he embarks on a ... Written by richard.leader@gmail.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The year of the movie. The movie of the year. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

1984 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,400,000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alexandra Palace, London, was built in 1873 as a "pleasure palace of the people", and named after the Princess of Wales. It was destroyed by a fire two weeks after opening. The present building was built in 1875, and lasted a bit longer. It was gutted by fire in 1980, and the roofless shell provided the structure for the rallies in Victory Square. See more »

Goofs

Winston reads a newspaper article titled "INSOC IN RELATION TO CHESS BROTHER WINS." The party name should be spelled "INGSOC." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Big Brother: [voice-over] This is our land. A land of peace and of plenty. A land of harmony and hope. This is our land. Oceania. These are our people. The workers, the strivers, the builders. These are our people. The builders of our world, struggling, fighting, bleeding, dying. On the streets of our cities and on the far-flung battlefields. Fighting against the mutilation of our hopes and dreams. Who are they?
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Crazy Credits

After the end credits finish and the screen goes black, the monotonous end-title music keeps droning on for nine more minutes. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical release was shown in desaturated color, enhancing the dystopian tone of the film. Later video and TV versions have been shown in truer, "natural" color. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: Big Brother Is Coming (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Julia
Written & Performed by The Eurythmics
(VHS version only)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant adaption of a classic novel.
30 December 2003 | by Skeptic459See all my reviews

Despite what one reviewer states here, 1984 is an extremely important literary work. It explains to the reader what the ultimate facist state would be like. This story is never more important than now, with the world in crisis. It is an absolute must that people read or see 1984. Other films have been made about fascism. One of the most notable examples being Pier Pasolini's Salo. But the problem is hardly anyone is going to see that except for weirdo's or film buffs. This is because of the graphic nature of the film. Besides, Salo was explaining the inherently depraved, decadent nature of fascism. Orwell's 1984 explains the mechanisms that invoke totalitarianism.

John Hurt is excellent as the main character. I am quite a fan. The film is also very well made. The bleakness of the book is perfectly captured by the director. You feel sympathy for the characters even though they seem far away because they appear so weary, yet willing to hope. Transcendence is hinted at when there is a scene where Hurt looks out and sees a wilderness instead of a prison. Hurt's character, Winston looks like he is about half dead! You really hope that Winston and Julia can pull off a passionate love affair. Although you know that it is doomed and is more of an act of rebellion against big brother than anything else. The setting is a land that is half destroyed because of the constant wars. The wars being yet another method of control. They tell us in psychology that in war, depression and other similar disorders actually go down! Interesting eh? The start where everyone sits watching the screens and begins to scream at images of the enemy. This is a great moment in the film that shows a kind of utter conformity through extreme social norms. The most effective form of brainwashing.

The problem with the film, like the book, is that people will find it too bleak and horrific to really appreciate it. It is depressing but this is the horror of totalitarianism. The material is not intended to be a walk in the park. One of the most striking and horrific instances of 1984 is the 2+2 does not equal 4 scene. The torture and brainwashing too achieve utter obedience. Richard 'my voice competes with Orson Welles' Burton, who normally pontificates and chews up the scenery is remarkably restrained here. This restraint is the key to a very good performance. These torture scenes are horrific and Hurt really shines. This guy should have got an Oscar! The scenes had me gasping...When I originally read the book it took a while for me to get over the rats. EWWWWWWW!

Looking at the overall rating of 1984 I am just totally surprised that this film has such a low rating. Maybe people would rate the novel exactly the same way because of the material. This brings me too my other quibble. The film does not TOTALLY cover all of the novels themes. In fact, although Suzanna Hamilton puts on a good performance, her character is not completely captured. Viewers must remember that literature and cinema are two completely different mediums. There is no such thing as a 100 percent adaption. Therefore you must rate the film on the usual cinematic features. But the main thing is how well the overall message of the story was transmitted. This film powerfully demonstrates Orwell's message!

What is weird is one of the reviewers here states that they did not like the nudity. Well, I'm guessing the director was going for a Adam and Eve state with their being naked out in the woods. This is obviously the complete opposite of the unnatural state they have to live in. It does not cheapen the film and points more to the reviewers own repressed desires. Reaction formation perhaps? Besides no one is going to get this for naked bodies when porn is so freely available from your local video store!

Consider how relevant this story is. How propaganda and public relations has never been more prevalent. How public relations has overtaken journalism, causing journalism to become more and more watered down. How the political economy of the media is now being hugely influenced by being based in a monopoly economy. A few now control the flow of information for the general population in western nations. This is not conspiracy theory, this is fact. True investigative journalism is at an all time low and the media itself is in a shocking state of affairs. Like everything in our capitalist system, it is controlled by money. Ever read Michel Foucault? Dominant hegemonies, discourse analysis, bla bla bla. I don't want to get all crusty and academic here. But Rupert Murdoch is rubbing his hands together. Time and time again, the United States has been shown to be patently false about why they engaged in conflict with Iraq. Just read John Pilger! Yet many Americans supported the conflict. Even believing chemical weapons were used on American troops, when no such event took place! Why? Because they were manipulated by a sophisticated propaganda machine.

Knowledge is power. That is why in 1984 language is being systematically destroyed. This denial of language is the denial of thought itself. Reality is then more easily shaped by the oppressor. Remember dictators, such as Pol Pot destroy the educated first. This is why the film and book are so important, they are still very RELEVANT! In fact I think the progression of western society will become a mixture of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and 1984. Either way we are being manipulated and controlled and these books show you how. America has the 'Patriot Act' that was rushed through congress although human rights groups had many serious doubts about the act. In New Zealand we have a Government that is similary becoming too involved in the regulation of peoples lives. BIG BROTHER IS STILL ALIVE!

I give this film a 10 and think the last scene with Hurt looking so haunted in the bar/coffee place was awesome! GREAT, GREAT BOOK! GREAT, GREAT FILM!

I have had a bit of a rant here...But hey I really like the book and this version of the film! So why not? This is a film for rebels!


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