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The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

In a dystopian, polluted right wing religious tyranny, a young woman is put in sexual slavery on account of her now rare fertility.

Director:

Volker Schlöndorff (as Volker Schlondorff)

Writers:

Margaret Atwood (novel), Harold Pinter (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,168 ( 196)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natasha Richardson ... Kate
Faye Dunaway ... Serena Joy
Aidan Quinn ... Nick
Elizabeth McGovern ... Moira
Victoria Tennant ... Aunt Lydia
Robert Duvall ... Commander
Blanche Baker ... Ofglen
Traci Lind ... Ofwarren / Janine
Zoey Wilson Zoey Wilson ... Aunt Helena
Kathryn Doby Kathryn Doby ... Aunt Elizabeth
Reiner Schöne ... Luke (as Rainer Schoene)
Lucia Hartpeng ... Cora
Karma Ibsen Riley Karma Ibsen Riley ... Aunt Sara
Lucile McIntyre Lucile McIntyre ... Rita
Gary Bullock ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Handmaid's Tale See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$738,578, 11 March 1990

Gross USA:

$4,960,385

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,960,385
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original novel by Margaret Atwood, the main character is known only by her patronymic, "Offred" (or "of Fred," since she "belongs" to a Commander named Fred). Her real name is never revealed, though many readers believe it may be June, based on various subtle hints in the text (in a 2017 article for the "New York Times Book Review", Atwood says about the interpretation that Offred's real name was June, "that was not my original thought, but it fits, so readers are welcome to it if they wish".) However, the filmmakers chose Kate as her pre-Gileadean name, and state it clearly. See more »

Goofs

Women of all classes are forbidden to read, but when Moira goes to tell Aunt Lydia the bet is stopped up, Aunt Lydia is reading a book. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Lydia: Oh God, make me fruitful.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Staircase (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Johnny Come Home
Written by David Steele and Roland Gift
Performed by Fine Young Cannibals
Published by Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd.
Courtesy of MCA Records/I.R.S. Records
Licensed by FFR Records Ltd Trading as London Records ©1985
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User Reviews

 
Harold Pinter cheapens Atwood
24 March 1999 | by Mr. FrogSee all my reviews

An unfortunate movie which is definitely more like Harold Pinter's earlier plays than anything Margaret Atwood ever produced. No attempt is made to bring out Atwood's clever social message, and we're all supposed to be shocked at the sexual content. A shame, because Atwood's version might have made a good film.


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