Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Setting

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England, Sometime in the Future

Your Mind is in Dystopia

It's always fun when a classic film tries to predict the future. No one will ever forget Back to the Future Part 2 showing us self-lacing shoes in 2015. Or the sweet, sweet flying cars from Blade Runner. Or the silvery, helmet-heavy fashion from pretty much every futuristic sci-fi movie from the mid-century.

A Clockwork Orange gets around this slight embarrassment by not rooting itself in a particular year. It's simply set in our world at a vaguely futuristic time. The outfits are so 1970s that they start feeling like they come from the 2070s, and the wild d├ęcor, like the author's wife's space-egg reading chair, give the film a distinct look and a sci-fi feel, as if Barbarella herself will fire off a laser pistol at any second. But the film isn't science fiction.

Although the film was shot in London, the name of the city isn't ever mentioned. But that setting isn't crucial to the story. Change the accents, and the film could be set anywhere with crime problems and different political views. However, the smaller settings are significant. One of Alex's greatest crimes takes place in the author's home, and it's a home with a sign outside that says "home." It's a peaceful sign and Alex wrecks it, making sure it is never a "home" again. The sign remains later, but the house is different inside. It is weird and broken like the man still living in it.

Other little touches are present at the jail and the record store. Alex's jail cell is decorated with photos of naked women and a bust of Beethoven, showing us that he hasn't changed in jail at all. In the record store, you can glimpse a copy of the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack on vinyl. This is Kubrick's little shout-out to himself, and a brief reminder that the film does take place in our world.

Now if only there were a copy of Eyes Wide Shut on DVD. That would be an impressive prediction.

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