'A Clockwork Orange' returning to cinemas nationwide in April

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
Malcolm McDowell as gang leader Alex in Kubrick’s <i>A Clockwork Orange</i> (Warner Bros.)
Malcolm McDowell as gang leader Alex in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (Warner Bros.)

Stanley Kubrick’s controversial sci-fi masterpiece A Clockwork Orange will receive a major re-release later this year thanks to the BFI.

The 1971 film, starring Malcolm McDowell, is returning to cinemas across the U.K. from 5 April, following BFI Southbank previews from 3 April.

The dystopian crime film, based on Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel of the same name, follows a gang of thugs – led by McDowell’s Alex – who wreak havoc on a future London in a horrifying crime spree. After being apprehended by authorities, Alex is subjected to an experimental form of rehabilitation which makes him incapable of violence.

The film was withdrawn from release in 1973 at the request of its writer-director Stanley Kubrick after it was alleged to have inspired a series of copycat crimes. It remained banned in the U.K. until after Kubrick’s death in 1999, when it was re-released in cinemas and made available on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray for the first time… legally, anyway.

It’s now considered a seminal film, regularly appearing in lists of the greatest movies ever made.

The film is the latest Kubrick title to be re-released by the BFI in a long-running partnership with Warner Bros., which has already brought thousands of people back into cinemas to see 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Barry Lyndon over the past few years.

The release forms part of a major career retrospective for the acclaimed director taking place at the BFI over April and May. The season coincides with Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, taking place at The Design Museum from 26 April – 17 September.

Stanley Kubrick films screening in the season at BFI Southbank:

Day of the Fight (1951) – a short doc about boxer Walter Cartier during the height of his career

Flying Padre (1951) – a short doc about a Catholic priest whose parish is so large that he has to travel by light aircraft from one isolated place to another

The Seafarers (1953) – a short doc commissioned by the Seafarers International Union

Killer’s Kiss (1955) – a film noir revolving around a has-been boxer and a dance-hall dancer

The Killing (1956) – film noir about an ex-con trying to steal $2 million in a racetrack robbery scheme

Paths of Glory (1957) – after refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses a group of soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them

Spartacus (1960) – epic historical drama, written by Dalton Trumbo, and inspired by the life story of the gladiator Spartacus

Lolita (1961) – a jet-black satire adapted from Vladimir Nabokov’s highly controversial novel

Dr. Strangelove (1964) – the classic Cold War satire starring Peter Sellers in three roles

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – the seminal sci-fi epic written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

Kubrick shot A Clockwork Orange across a series of London locations, including in this memorable scene a Wandsworth underpass. (Warner Bros.)
Kubrick shot A Clockwork Orange across a series of London locations, including in this memorable scene a Wandsworth underpass. (Warner Bros.)

A Clockwork Orange (1971) – the chilling adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ decline-of-civilisation novel

Barry Lyndon (1975) – the majestic story of the rise and fall of Barry Lyndon set in 18th-century Europe

The Shining (1980) – the infamous psychological horror film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall

Full Metal Jacket (1987) – set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, two U.S. Marines, Joker and Pyle, struggle through boot camp under their abusive drill instructor

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – his final film, released posthumously, featuring a fragile relationship played out by then-couple Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

AI (Steven Spielberg, 2001) – while not directed by Kubrick, AI features in the season due to Kubrick’s prolonged attempts to adapt Supertoys Last All Summer Long, the short story on which it was based; after years of development work by Kubrick, he handed the project to Spielberg who completed the film two years after Kubrick’s death.

For information on tickets head to www.bfi.org.uk/southbank.

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