"There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie and Dim. And we sat in the Korova Milkbar, trying to make up our razudoks what to do with the evening."
- Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the "humble narrator"
Los Angeles Times - 07/15/1999
"...A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is still potent and though-provoking..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/13/2003
"...CLOCKWORK is a movie about movies -- and sex and power and music and Sovietism -- that works as a head trip by driving for the gut. Consider it Kubrick's most surrealistic feat..."
Total Film - 12/01/2000
"...It still shocks....Provocative..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2000
"...[The film] remains every bit as tantalising as it ever was..."
Premiere - 04/01/2004
"[Featuring] the multiple charms of McDowell's performance."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/27/2011
"Looking back now, CLOCKWORK ORANGE may be subversive, shocking, and sadistic. But it's also clearly a satire about free will." -- Grade: A
From its opening shot of Malcolm McDowell staring with evil intent directly into the camera (which pulls back to reveal him drinking a glass of milk), Stanley Kubrick's brilliant A CLOCKWORK ORANGE announces itself as a completely new kind of viewing experience. The film, set in an unidentified future, overwhelms the senses with its almost comic depictions of rape and violence set to an upbeat classical and pop music score. Kubrick based his chilling masterpiece on Anthony Burgess's culture-shaking novel about a young man growing into adulthood, but unable to shake his huge problem with authority figures. The first part of the film shows Alex (a career-defining performance by McDowell) and his "droogs" (his cohorts) indulging in what they refer to as "a little bit of the old ultraviolence." After establishing Alex and co. as unremitting psychopaths, Kubrick's movie changes tact, and shows Alex getting caught and forced to undergo controversial treatment that will make it impossible for him to commit violent acts, leading to a fascinating ending to the film.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE purposely confuses crime and punishment, cause and effect, hero and villain, irony and satire, and many other concepts, creating a truly unique work of art in the process. Its magnificent, colorful, futuristic set designs and utter determination to shock, frighten, and thoroughly entertain left audiences reeling in the '70s. Kubrick even withdrew the film from distribution in the UK, after reading newspaper reports of people dressing up as Alex and his Droogs and meting out their own brand of ultraviolence (it was subsequently rereleased after his death). One thing is for sure: No one who has seen it has ever been able to hear "Singin' in the Rain" or Beethoven again in quite the same way.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, based on the prescient novel by Anthony Burgess, is director Stanley Kubrick's masterful satire on crime and punishment in an ultraviolent future.
The sculptures in the Korova Milkbar were based on the work of sculptor Allen Jones.
The blunt object the cat woman uses to attack Alex is a bust of Ludwig Van Beethoven, Alex's favorite composer and whose 9th Symphony accidentally becomes part of Alex's conditioning.
One of only two movies rated X on its original release (the other being Midnight Cowboy (1969)) to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Stanley Kubrick asked Pink Floyd if he could use their "Atom Heart Mother Suite" in the soundtrack. However, because Kubrick wanted unlimited license to determine what portions or edits of the song he used, the band turned him down.