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Nineteen Eighty-Four

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United Kingdom · 1984
Rated R · 1h 53m
Director Michael Radford
Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack
Genre Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

Set in a dystopian 1984, Winston Smith lives in the totalitarian state of Oceania. He works at the Ministry of Truth, which rewrites history according to the Party and its leader, Big Brother. His monotonous life takes a thrilling but dangerous turn when he begins an illicit affair with a fellow worker.

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Variety by

In this unremitting downer, writer-director Michael Radford introduces no touches of comedy or facile sensationalism to soften a harsh depiction of life under a totalitarian system as imagined by George Orwell in 1948.


Miami Herald by Bill Cosford

Radford's 1984 is a time of relentless oppression in every corner of life, and his images -- corroded, soiled, darkly corrupted -- speak of Orwell as eloquently as the characters. [15 Mar 1985, p.D6]


Washington Post by Paul Attanasio

The movie stands simply as an artful adaptation, and not an altogether engaging one. The repeated scenes of the rallying mob, chanting and howling at Big Brother on the screen, soon grow tiresome; like everything about 1984, they seem redundant.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The 1954 film version of Orwell's novel turned it into a cautionary, simplistic science-fiction tale. This version penetrates much more deeply into the novel's heart of darkness.


The New York Times by Vincent Canby

This 1984 is not an easy film to watch, but it exerts a fascination that demands attention even as you want to turn away from it. That the Orwell tale still works so well - and this version works far better than the 1956 film adaptation - also makes it apparent that the novel was always more cautionary in its intentions than prophetic.

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