A Clockwork Orange Offers Critical Look on Crime


Alex, the protagonist of the film, was imprisoned for various barbaric rampages. 

This past Friday, February 5, Colgate University’s Friday Night Film Series

presented Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange. This particular film screening was co-sponsored by the Colgate Film Society. The film brought together a small group of people of all class years into Golden Auditorium. A Clockwork Orange is a well-known cult classic that has been enjoyed by people of all ages for more than forty years. The film was based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, which was published in 1962. 

Kubrick’s film follows the story of a teenage boy named Alex, who leads his gang of four as they commit terrible acts of violence. The beginning of the film is filled with graphic scenes of violence and rape, setting the tone for the first half of the film. Through Alex’s narration, the audience gains insight into his sick and twisted enjoyment as he commits these violent crimes. Alex eventually ends up in prison for murdering a woman during one of his barbaric rampages. After a few years of incarceration, he is chosen to receive a new experimental treatment, called the Ludovico Technique, which has the ability to permanently reform criminals. 

A Clockwork Orange is a very artistic film that uses shocking images to portray themes such as morality and the use of psychology. The film questions whether someone’s character can ever be changed, as Alex reverts to his previous tendencies post-treatment. The movie could also be seen as a commentary on the state of our prisons, which do little to permanently reform the criminals within their walls.

This film has sparked discussion throughout the years because of its

portrayal of extremely graphic violence. It was prohibited in the United Kingdom for 27 years, making it nearly impossible to view inside the country. A few violent incidents in the U.K. were rumored to have been inspired by the film. Despite the controversy, it has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. 

“The movie was very intriguing. It offered a unique perspective that I had not originally thought of before,” first-year Alex Kappler said.

“I felt like A Clockwork Orange was an extremely intriguing film because it

discussed the very controversial issues of rape, crime and murder in a futuristic and fantasy-like setting. Ultimately, though, the film shows how the main character, despite treatment from the state, ends up being the same person. This raises the question of whether or not prison or any current form of treatment to cure bad people is really effective or if we need to consider new methods,” first-year Patrick Matulka said.

Overall, A Clockwork Orange is a very complex, artistic film that has a much deeper meaning than what is seen on the surface. This film is sure to stay with you years after you have watched it.