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A Clockwork Orange received critical acclaim, made more than thirty million dollars at the box office, and was nominated for various awards; however, this esteemed film was outlawed from the nation of Great Britain in order to curb its immoral content from permeating society. Before all the controversy began, A Clockwork Orange was a novel, written mostly in Russian, by Anthony Burgess. Stanley Kubrick is known to critics as a film maker who probes the dark side of human psyche.
Kubrick has also directed films such as Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket. In each of these movies the audience delves into the evil side of the main character. Great Britain had this film removed from theaters across the country because the government justly illustrated there was a connection between the movie’s graphic violence and an increased crime rate. In Clockwork . . . , there are unquestionably violent and graphic actions. Multiple beatings, a rape, and a murder are performed by the lead characters.
These crimes are drug induced. Before going out, the gang goes to the “milk bar” for some “milk plus” which is riddled with amphetamines.
The first violent act came not more than ten minutes into the movie. It was when the boys, led by Alex, beat a helpless wino that asked them for some change. The gang then strode away as if nothing occurred. They struck him repeatedly with canes and they kicked him a few times to the job. Next, the boys went to see a rival gang.
This other group was in the middle of raping a woman when Alex and Company came in and intervened. They proceeded to beat the other gang members to a pulp. Then, they went to the house of a writer, to burglarize it. While there, they brutalized the writer and his wife. Alex raped the wife in front of the writer and then started to sing “Sing’n in the Rain” as he pummeled the old man.
Alex’s final act of violence came at the house of a rich health spa owner. The gang went there with the intent of robbing the place, but the woman who lived there was alert to the scheme and called the police. She attacked Alex and he defended himself with a sculpture of male genitalia. The fight ended when Alex crammed the statue in the mouth of the victim, and killed her. These were some of the more graphic scenes, which aided Britain’s decision to ban the film. Incidents from this film triggered an onslaught of violent crimes across the country of Great Britain.
Numerous copycat crimes were reported which mimicked to exact detail the grotesque murder and rape scenes found in Clockwork. The most notable copycat crime was in Britain where a woman was raped and beaten by a group of thugs who sang “Sing’n in the Rain” as they carried out their ruthless act of violence. When questioned by police, one of the thugs commented, “I got the idea to beat this b**** from a movie I saw.” The movie turned out to be none other than Clockwork….
Stanley Kubrick has also been responsible for additional films that are bleak, pessimistic, and sometimes terrifying. Not only is this his style, but it is also his means of conveying a very sublime personal message. Kubrick believes that contemporary society is a very tragic and violent place. This message comes across very clearly in Clockwork Orange. It is through this film that Kubrick explores the nature of violent crime and in doing so brilliantly satirizes the deterioration of society and its values.
Although Kubrick’s message may be sincere, his methods exploit the intentions of video imagery and demean his viewing audience. Films of this nature have an incredible power to induce its viewers into committing violent actions. This theory is not ingenuous and has been supported by many prominent members of the psychological community. For this reason, I believe the film needs to be formally banned. Although it played to sellout crowds in London for nearly a year, it introduced weak moral standards and a glorification of violence to the public.
This film was best received by the college aged youths of Great Britain. This is a very impressionable time in the life of a person and could influence them into justifying violence and the abuse of women. The British government made the right decision in banning the movie and protecting the ailing moral standards of Great Britain. As stated previously, many scholars believe that A Clockwork Orange was responsible for a wave of copycat crimes and an increase in the crime rate.
This theory can be supported by the fact that in the viewing area where Clockwork was shown there was a dramatic increase in crimes directly related to scenes from the movie. Even if the percentage of the increase in crime was minuscule, this does not underscore the value in banning the film. Does not saving just one life justify banning the content of this heinous video? I wholeheartedly believe the answer to this question is yes.
Human life is worth much more than one man’s sarcastic dissertation on violent crime. What will be next a young girl brutally raped and killed, an innocent child tortured by ruthless villains, and old man shot down in cold blood? One would think a society as educated as ours would recognize the danger in glorifying these films of violence and gore. Our children have a hard enough time determining right from wrong. Movies such as Clockwork… only add to the moral decay of our society. If society is to work toward the esteemed goal of building a kinder, gentler nation, censorship must play a key role in our dauntless journey.
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