ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Clockwork Orange - Is it a cult classic?

Updated on February 19, 2014

Nationality: British and American

Genre: Satire / Science Fiction / Dystopia

Movie Title: A Clockwork Orange

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick (Screenplay) and Anthony Burgess (Novel)

Date of Release: December 19, 1971 (In the USA) and January 13, 1972 (In the UK)


Alex (Malcolm McDowell), is Stanley Kubrick's aesthetic adaptation of Anthony Burgess' "ultra-violent" late teen living in a dark and satiric near-future. Alex, the leader, and his "droogs" take the pleasure of committing numerous acts of murder and rape after getting high at the Korova Milkbar at night. Beginning with Mr. Alexander (Patrick McGee), a writer, by gang raping his wife which would eventually lead to her death and then Alex bludgeons the Cat Lady (Miriam Karlin), which results in his getting caught and imprisoned. During his stint in prison, he agrees to take part in a new government aversive therapy set to "cure" him of his aggressive impulses in exchange for his freedom. Alex's charisma, aided by his love of music, particularly Ludwig Van Beethoven, and his keen sense of art make the Ludovico behavior modification technique seem like a negative governmental experiment.


Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 adaptation of Stanley Burgess’ “ultra-violent” novel is a near perfect translation of language and stylistic themes to the big screen. A Clockwork Orange is high in its marginality. The main character, Alex, is a proto-punk teenager who enjoys listening to Ludwin Van Beethoven as a pleasurable reward for gang raping and eventually murdering women. Violence is the film’s central theme, which is morbidly glorified by its language as the old “in out, in out” by Alex and his “droogs”.

Naturally, Kubricks’ blunt images of rape and violence led him to withdraw the film’s release in Britain because there were several copycat attacks in the area at the time of the film’s release. A Clockwork Orange would eventually be released after Kubrick’s death in 1999. UK spent 27 years with little or no access to the film. Furthermore, the public’s reaction to Kubrick’s near future was divided, even though the film did predominantly receive rave reviews from major critics. Needless to say, the film falls high in the criterion of suppression.
Since its 1971 release, A Clockwork Orange has grossed a domestic $26 million, which is a huge profit in comparison to its $2.2 million budget. Thus, the film doesn’t fit the economics criterion.

What is your favorite "nadsat" word?

See results

In the criterion of transgression, the film ranks extremely high. The old “ultra-violence” symbolizing a gangs’ habitual stint of attending the Korova Milkbar to do drugs and then gang rape women is the core of the film’s climax. Once Alex is betrayed by his “droogs” and imprisoned, he undergoes an aversive therapy treatment which results in making him sick every time he witnesses “ultra violence” or listens to his beloved Ludwin Van Beethoven. In the film’s ending, we learn that the therapy did not have a full “ultra-violence” rehabilitating effect. Through his drug use and violence, he ends up as a puppet for the government. He agrees to pretend to be cured in order to make the government look good, thus gaining protection and reinforcements from them.


A Clockwork Orange’s cult following has grown as the movie has gotten older. Many people became avid Malcolm McDowell fans, and many other groups such as punks and Goths have adopted the futuristic, yet simple all white with suspenders “ultra-violent” outfits Alex and his “droogs” wear. Thus, the cult following of the film is pretty good.
Due to the taboo, yet utterly realistic notion that gangs commit such horrendous crimes could exist, there were several copycat crimes committed after the release of the film. Some of the instances include a group of 16-year-old boys in Britain beating a homeless man just like in the film, and the other instance served a group of teenagers dressed in the same white outfits Alex and his “droogs” wear and stabbing a boy. Kubrick’s film created a community of people who thought they could identify like these fictional so much so that they imitated the crimes.


Laden in “nadsat”, the language used in the film (and book) is entirely unique. Burgess’ was a writer and linguist, so he created a special language in which words like “pooshka” mean pistol and “deng” is money. As a result, the film scores high in the quotations criteria; it has a language of its own.
In conclusion, with the last criterion, Iconography, A Clockwork Orange rates an astonishing seven out of eight in cult film status. The unsettling image of Malcolm McDowell as Alex wearing eerie eyeliner in one eye, a black hat, and his white shirt sustained by suspenders strikes as an icon of a generation fighting to stand on its own, freely, in spite of the consequences that ensue.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)