A Clockwork Orange

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Seeing as we discussed which of Stanley Kubrick's movies is the best in a previous post, I realised I hadn't seen A Clockwork Orange, so, made crious by all you guys (and gals ), I went out and rented it...

At first glance, I had the impression that it was a disguisting movie, filled with completely pointless violence and rape. But I forced myself to watch on, hoping that it would pick up and get better later on.

And I wasn't dissapointed.

As the story unravelled, I began feeling myself becoming more and more drawn into it, and there was no escape. The violence and rape of course didn't end, but I began feeling more appreciative of the significance behind it all. For those of you who haven't seen it, the movie deals with a society where all laws and morals have broken down, and groups of hooligans terrorize the streets. But when the leader of one of them is arrested and sent to prison to be *reformed*, things start to change...

Kubrick's technique is flawless in conveying the gruesome realites of a fictional world. Slow close-ups/zoom-outs coupled with the eerie music very effectively portray a society gone wrong. Seeing as I share a love of Beethoven's 9th with the main character, I found myself actually beginning to sympathise with him from early on, and this was firmly cemented in by the time the movie draws to a close with the hunter becoming the hunted, so to speak.

This movie really got me thinking. Such a scenario isn't all too impossible to imagine, which is what really makes it such a masterpiece. It shows the dark side of human nature which exists in all of us, just beneith the surface, waiting for the right opportunity to burst out. Perhaps this is the reason why it was so controversial when it was released, in that people just didn't want to accept it as being a possibility. That everything we call society, civilization and humanity is just a thin veil covering the surface is perhaps the scariest part of it all.
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And now to get to a question I wanted to ask...

What exactly is the significance/meaning of the title?? I found the movie to be very "heavy" and complicated, requiring much more than a single viewing in order to be able to do it the proper justice it deserves. This might be the reason why I missed the significance?!

jamesglewisf's Avatar
Didn't see it.
This one was just a little too over-the-top for me. It was one of my least favorite Kubrick films.
Jim Lewis
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It was way over the top for me as well in the start, I was quite shocked as well! Imagine the effect it would have had on audiences 30 years ago?! It doesn't really show any gruesome acts (like rape for example), it leaves it all to the imagination...

Registered User
I liked it, although as you say, it takes a while for the plot to get going. A nice idea by the government too - save that treatment for the pyschos and their damn ultraviolence...


Zephyrus: "What exactly is the significance/meaning of the title?? I found the movie to be very "heavy" and complicated, requiring much more than a single viewing in order to be able to do it the proper justice it deserves. This might be the reason why I missed the significance?!"

In answer to this question I dug out my copy of the book and will include a long quote from AB:

"Clockwork oranges don't exist, except in the speech of old Londoners. The image was a bizarre one, always used for a bizarre thing. "He's as queer as a clockwork orange" meant he was queer to the limit of queerness. It did not primarily denote homosexuality, though a queer, before restrictive legislation came in, was the term used for a member of the inverted fraternity. Europeans who translated the title as Arancia a Orologeria or Orange Mecanique could not understand its Cockney resonance and they assumed that it meant a hand grenade, a cheaper kind of explosive pineapple. I mean it to stand for the application of a mechanistic morality to a living organism oozing with juice and sweetness."

Hope that answers your question. Cheers.

"A Clockwork Orange" more clearly explained means a clockwork man. Man in Nadstat(close enough) is said "Orange". This refers to the way that Alex was put into the Ludovico treatment and turned into a machine incapable of making is own choices. The movie asks one very important question to its viewer. Is having a society free of criminals worth having that criminal lose his ability to make his own choices? This is answered with definitive NO. After the treatment Alex is unable to protect himself in a world full of violence. As for all of those that felt the nudity and violence wasn't needed I don't no what your talking about. The violence sets the whole tone of the movie. You had to see it in order to get the full feel for Alex's world. Even when there was violence it was downplayed with a song and dance or as in the gang fight with an almost ballet style to it. Only after Alex is rehabilitated does the violence not have this "playful" tone to it. This once agian sets the tone that what had been done to Alex was just wrong. Freedom of choice is the most important thing a person can have. Kubrick is the most brilliant director of all time.

I don't know if I loved A Clockwork Orange. This movie enter in my all-new-categorie "Weird movies". It was a rough movie and the first times I tried to saw it, I stopped it cause I was shocked. But one of my friend told me to completely watched it and I did it. It's not kind of subject that every director could have talked. There was so much unneeded-violence, it's terrifying. But I'll continue to watch it at least once a year.

P.S. Sorry for my bad english-speaking
D. Mc'lawns

dmclaws you are right in that the movie is very "weird" it explores the society of the future in which violence and crime are now part of growing up. It makes me wonder if that with all of the horrible things happening in today's society that we will end up on a similar path. As for the violence, I dont know what the movie would have been without it? I know for sure that it wouldn't have been the same movie or given off the same feelings. No the violence was the most necessary part of the movie. Few other movies actually NEED violence but A Clockwork Orange does.

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Absolutely the scariest movie I ever saw! And the book was more so. Anybody besides me know what occasioned AB's writing it? That's the scariest of all!
Chilling! Chilling!

Love and a better life that that to all,


When I saw a "new Post" under Clockwork I was enraged. I thought that it was going to be another post talking about how violence wasn't needed. I didn't want to go into that again. So a big thank you to you Jozie.

Timing's Avatar
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I'd never seen this until I saw it coming on Showtime or Cinemax or one of those movie channels the other night. I had heard it was a very good movie so I stayed up to watch it. I only made it about 5 minutes. lol A little too weird for me and the sex stuff kinda freaked me out. Maybe I will try again another time.

YOu really do need to see this flick. I shouldn't even call it a flick it is more like "art". Everybody on this forum NEEDS to rent this.

BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
ok, i am reposting this message. it's from a thread i started yesterday, so it will sound like i'm starting a completely new thread (which i was at the time)

out of my five favorite directors (coppola, tarentino, scorsese, kubrick, and kevin smith) i would have to say that kubrick is the most interesting of the five, and a clockwork orange is his most interesting film. really what i wanted to start this thread for is a chance to discuss the symbolism and hidden meanings kubrick uses in this movie, and what you liked and didn't like about it. personally, i love this movie because it is completely unflinching in its use of symbolism, hyperbole, and camera tricks to tell a surreal story, and when i think about it, no other movie has done that. i mean, i probably couldn't call this my favorite movie of all time, but it has had the most affect on me as far as conveying a deeper meaning through cinematography, and isn't that what a smart movie is supposed to do anyway? basically, what this incredibly complex movie is about is superficially pretty simple. for those of you who haven't seen it, it is set in the future, where gangs of restelss teenagers wander the streets in search of cheap thrills in the form of beatings, rape, robberies, and other acts of "ultra-violence". about this time, action is being taken by some sort of state-sponsored institution to brainwash the dangerous youths into being perfect, upstanding citizens. one of the kids, alex, is the main character of the story. we see what a violent, sick, depraved life that alex revels in, and then he is caught in the act of murder - something he had never done before. the brainwashing begins immediately, and he is soon conditioned to think a certain way. i don't want to give too much away, but the film is actually trying to discern the basis for human evil. is the motivation to do wrong naturally engrained into us, or is it a product of our environment? anyway, what really separates the movie from everything else on the shelf as blockbuster is kubrick's talent. his incredible filming, the way the characters dress, act, and speak, everything is completely unique. i've probably never seen a movie so surreal in my entire life. the characters use a kind of fictional slang that is a blend of british english and russian. they wear bizarre clothes, and drink milk laced with hallucinagenics. they don't use guns, but rather knives, clubs, and chains. the artwork, architecture, and set designs are all futuristic, but more in a bizarre, something out of a strange dream sense than a cheesy, sci-fi sense. truly, i could not even begin to delve into all of the interesting aspects of the film, so feel free to post if you want to discuss or share.

BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
oh, by the way, i've heard several different explanations as to what the title means, also. the one that makes the most sense is that obviously, an orange doesn't at all work by means of clockwork, and the "perfect" mechanizations of clockwork are antithetical to the way an orange actually operates, which is purely organic. the characters in the movie are oranges, and the treatment they undergo to transform them into perfect citizens is turning them into "clockwork oranges" in that they are operating under the influence of something not organic or natural. they are completely under the control of the brainwashing and not capable of making their own decisions. the "A" in A Clockwork Orange probably refers to alex, the main character.

Registered User
I love this forum and I love you guys, but . . . you sometimes read way too much into those late-night films you see. Tho Clockwork probably really is loaded with Heavy Meaning . . . you gotta remember what Freud said: "Sometimes a cigar is not really a phallic symbol. Sometimes a cigar is only a good smoke."

Think about it when the Meanings get armpit deep.

Love to you all,


Way off! Orange in the language of the movie (Nadstat) means "Man". And clockwork refers to the way that Alex is turned into a machine. He is unable to act on his own impulses and is controlled hence he has been turned into a machine.

BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
that's what i just freakin said.

Not really. You read way to much into it. Orange means man that's it. I don't understand (if you were saying what I said) why you had to go into all of the stuff about an organic orange and other bull like that. I'm sorry dude but that whole thing was way too far out there.

Registered User
I'm with Z on that one.