Film versions of 1984

Jeff Rense reads one of the last sections of Orwell’s 1984.

From the Jeff Rense Official Channel at YouTube, created and hosted by Morris Herman.  Length is 7-1/2 minutes.
Herman enhances the reading by providing clips from the 1984 film, 1984.  He follows the reading by a clip from the brilliant 1976 film Network, with a wonderful portrayal of news-anchor-gone-mad Howard Beale by Peter Finch.
The one fault in this presentation on 1984and it is a damning one – is to let the pessimistic words of O’Brien stand without giving Winston Smith’s final word of revolutionary optimism from the end of the book: “If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles.” Erich Blair (George Orwell) said that everything he wrote after 1936 was “for democratic socialism” (not “Democratic Socialism”, which is Fabianism and the political tendency he described with Ingsoc), and like many of his cothinkers he believed that bonapartism is a transient phenomenon which cannot create a permanent social system.

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Sidney Lumet and Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliant 1976 film Network shares the spirit of Orwell’s book, if not the political theory on which it is based. Evidence that this film bases itself loosely on James Burnham’s  Theory of Managerial  Revolution (reflected as the Theory of Oligarchical Collectivism in 1984), and thus on 1984, can be seen in the following scene, in which Arthur Jensen (portrayed exquisitely by Ned Beatty) sets Howard Beale straight:

“There are no more nations, only corporations.”

Posted on YouTube by ladesyrable.  Length is 4-1/2 minutes. A must-see.

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Scene from Michael Radford’s 1984 film, 1984: “the two minutes of hate”
Read about how it figures in the book in the section entitled “Some sources for literary motifs” at Wikipedia.  The “traitor” whose name the crowd is supposed to shout out is Big Brother’s antagonist Emmanuel Goldstein.

Posted by freecomvids. Length is (surprise!) 2 minutes.

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Emotional and even devilishly inspiring opening of Michael Radford’s 1984 film, 1984 (still frame and score only)

Posted on YouTube by Fullmetalpizza. Length is 3 minutes.

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Michael Anderson’s 1956 Hollywood version is in many ways still the best film version to-date.

Posted on YouTube by 0407Anonymous. Length is 1-1/2 hours.

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A 1954 BBC serialized television version of 1984 is not available on-line due to copyright restrictions. This version unfortunately was marked by a somber, over-serious mood throughout, and misses the point that the inhabitants of Oceania were by and large happy with their everyday lives and considered their circumstances normal. Only “outlaws” and “dissenters” were unhappy because they realized that the world that Ingsoc had created was a lie.

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A cartoon version of Orwell’s other great classic about bonapartist betrayal of socialist ideals, Animal Farm, is available for viewing at Open Culture.

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… more to come

Back to main Orwell 1984 topic page.

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