[[quoteright:334:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fahrenheit-451_5855.jpg]]

->[+"''It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and ''changed."+]

[[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture In the near future]], society has become a complacent lot. Gone were the days when people would enjoy nature, think independently... let alone read books -- in fact, thanks to TheGovernment's policy of BreadAndCircuses, they are now deemed dangerous sources of dissent and unhappiness. Now, it's just [[MoreThanMindControl state-sanctioned]] mindless entertainment -- reckless driving, [[NewMediaAreEvil three-dimensional interactive television]], Fun Parks (where people commit petty crimes with abandon), and the occasional exempt book containing nothing but vapid dross (e.g. trade brochures, pornographic magazines, and caption-less comics).

With too many books to deal with -- it's only been a year since the ban was implemented -- the government decided there could be only one way to dispose of them efficiently: {{book burning}}, a job delegated to firemen. Originally a dying breed in a nation where all houses are insulated against common fires, firemen found a new purpose in life -- making midnight community rounds in search of books. Any house containing books would be doused in kerosene and burnt as a lesson to the community (and the offending party brought to law).

Guy Montag is one such fireman -- and he's pretty much married to his job for ten years. However, his life would be forever changed when he meets a young woman named Clarisse [=McCellan=], whose free spirit forces him to start questioning what's happening with the world and his life. After a house burning gone bad, Montag secretly takes one book home, and some became fascinated with it, despite the objections of his wife, long desensitized by the state-sponsored media, and fears of his superior Beatty finding out. Now he knew he must do something to save himself and at least some books. But how?

''Fahrenheit 451'' is a classic novel by Creator/RayBradbury which deals with the issues of censorship, individualism versus conformity, and consumerism. Originally written in 1953, it pulls off the rare feat of becoming even more socially relevant as time goes on, and is a favorite for book clubs and literary groups in general to analyze its meaning.

It was made into a film starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie by Creator/FrancoisTruffaut in 1966, and into a stage play also written by Bradbury in the 1990s.

The public is warned not to confuse this with the video game ''VideoGame/{{Fahrenheit}}'' or the MichaelMoore documentary ''Fahrenheit 9/11''.[[note]]Which briefly got Moore in mild legal trouble when Bradbury caught wind of the title he was planning to use.[[/note]]

Compare ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'' and ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}''.

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!!''The following {{trope}}s have been found in this work:''
* AdultFear: For those who live in countries where certain books are banned, and especially countries where ''most'' books are banned. The fall of literacy is also another major concern.
* AdvertOverloadedFuture: Montag tries to read on the subway, but he's constantly distracted by a jingle for Denham's Dentifrice. He eventually screams at the radio to shut up, shocking the rest of the passengers who were singing along.
* ArcWords: [[Literature/TheBible "Consider the lilies of the field..."]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Montag manages to leave his old life for good and join the Book People, but not before they witness their home city destroyed in a nuclear explosion, most likely killing everybody, including Mildred.]]
* BlitheSpirit: Clarisse, arguably the most significant character due to her influence on Montag.
* BookBurning: One of the most iconic examples.
* BreadAndCircuses: Most of the people ''like'' the vacuous entertainment, don't care about anything or anyone but themselves and being happy, and don't bother to question or talk about how corrupt the government has become, even as WorldWarIII is apparently on the horizon.
* ChooseYourOwnAdventure: Television programs are interactive, with viewers playing the various cast roles, and occasionally they're able to change the outcome of a story. Perhaps averted in the film version where it is arguably implied that Linda's choices have no effect on the story and that her belief that she is auditioning for a role is false, and in fact she is simply one of many playing along but her choices and her own thinking are so limited as to avoid any real ability to influence the story.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Inverted. Clarisse is weird by the standards of the story, but to the modern-day reader, she's a normal girl... though still quirky.
* CrazyPrepared: In order for civilization to survive the coming [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt nuclear apocalypse]], [[spoiler:the Book People dedicate themselves to memorizing every significant literary work and hand it down to their pupils]].
* CulturePolice: The Firemen.
* DeathSeeker: What Montag thought of Captain Beatty's behavior. Suicides are also fairly common, apparently by those who've become utterly jaded with life and need one last thrill or escape.
* {{Delinquents}}: Culture has been allowed to decline to the point where teenagers bully people, vandalize public property, and run down pedestrians for kicks and jollies. One closer-to-home example happens happens when Montag is nearly struck by a car full of teenagers and Clarisse gets trampled over a bunch of teenage hoodlums.
* TheDogBitesBack: [[spoiler:Montag torches Beatty with a flamethrower.]]
* {{Dystopia}}: It's a ''very'' grim world; the country (implied to be America in the novel, though the movie and a BBC radio drama had Britain in mind) is prepping for WorldWarIII (and no one knows or cares about it), the rest of the world hates it because of its hedonistic ways, empathy is extinct, schools are only concerned in pumping facts into children's heads without any form of discussion or actual learning, teenagers commit petty crimes with abandon, parlor walls air shallow programming that everyone enjoys, children and marriage are brushed off as a necessity to keep this miserable existence going rather than a joy, prescription pill overdoses are so common that medics-cum-doctors are hired to pump out the victims, and nearly everyone is a StepfordSmiler who is deeply depressed. This is a common scenario in Bradbury's works.
* ExactWords: The law forbids people from reading any books or literature. [[spoiler:Beatty himself owns books in his house's library -- he simply never reads them.]]
* FallenHero: Implied in [[spoiler:Beatty's past]]. Adaptations and WordOfGod reveal that [[spoiler:he was once a voracious reader and staunch opponent of the government, and he still maintains an extensive library -- that he never uses]]. He can quote many classical authors from memory.
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: The old woman in the mansion who [[spoiler:chose to set herself aflame with her books]], and ''especially'' [[spoiler:Captain Beatty, when Montag turns the stream of fire on him and holds it there until he stops moving]].
* {{Foil}}: Beatty to Montag; Clarisse to Mildred/Linda (the latter is emphasized in the 1966 movie, where both were played by Julie Christie [with a wig as the only difference between them]).
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The opening quote of the page becomes very ironic [[spoiler: when you apply it to the ending]].
* HeadphonesEqualIsolation: One of the earliest examples.
* HeelRealization: An encounter with Clarisse slowly forces Montag to question his blissfully ignorant existence.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Faber gives his life to save Montag when cornered by the Mechanical Hound.]]
* {{Hobos}}: The Book People, who live off the grid so they can read books and not be persecuted.
* HolierThanThou: Said word for word by [[spoiler: Captain Beatty]].
** [[spoiler:'''Beatty:''' "Alone, hell! [Clarrise] chewed around you, didn't she? One of those damn do-gooders with their shocked, holier-than-thou silences, their one talent making others feel guilty. God damn, they rise like the midnight sun to sweat you in your bed!"]]
* InformedAttribute: The Mechanical Hound isn't much like a hound at all. Its name simply refers to its use as an artificial bloodhound. Averted in the comic book adaptation (yes, there is one) where it actually does look like a robotic dog.
* KarmicDeath: After repeatedly humiliating and mocking Montag, it's very satisfying, though still gruesome, to see [[spoiler:Beatty getting roasted alive,]] and HoistByHisOwnPetard.
* KillerRobot: The Mechanical Hound, which is programmed to hunt down and kill offenders via lethal injection. Somehow, never actually [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen showing it chasing Montag, and only giving it a sparing description]], makes it far creepier.
* KillItWithFire: The Firemen are killing ''literacy'' with fire.
** Also the fate of [[spoiler:Beatty and the Hound.]]
** And [[spoiler:the entire society... for the ''third'' time.]]
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Clarisse for Montag. Her intuitive, unorthodox character prompts Montag to question his own lifestyle.
* MayDecemberRomance: In the novel, Clarisse is seventeen and Montag is thirty, so they have a relatively small age gap and they have a platonic, short-term friendship. However, this trope features in the script, where Clarisse, unlike in the film, is still a young girl (although her exact age is never specified) and the affection between her and Montag is more explicit than in the novel.
* MeaningfulName: It was stated somewhere that Montag's name is a play on "Man Friday," a violent savage turned to the side of good and used as a servant. In Montag's case he is the tamed savage and Faber is the master. Furthermore, Faber's name comes from famous German pen-making company Faber-Castell, and Montag is the name of a paper company.
** Bradbury notes that the Faber/Montag naming was unintentional but very subconscious.
* MonsterClown: One of Millie's "family members," her favorite TV characters, in the novel are a group of homicidal white clowns.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The Firemen, especially in the movie, where it is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] with a NotSoDifferent directed at ''the audience''. Captain Beatty, in pointing out doctrine, comments: "If you are going to burn ''some'' books...you have to burn ''all'' the books!" He does so while holding up a copy of ''Literature/MeinKampf''.
* NewMediaAreEvil: Bradbury claims that this was the real point of the novel. The shallow, mind-numbing television programs that everyone has become hooked on are slowly destroying society. Television at the time of the novel's writing was indeed pretty shallow, serving as little more than corporate and government propaganda, with mindless sanitized entertainment designed to make you want to buy products. Ironically, Bradbury would go on to host a television show, ''Ray Bradbury Theater''.
** Perhaps not so ironic, as in the book, Faber makes it a point to tell Montag that television doesn't necessarily have to be so shallow, it's just the way people have used it.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: In the movie adaptation, a flamethrower is used to start the fires.
** In the book, entire houses are burned no matter how many books are inside. In the movie the firemen only burn the house if there are too many books to move them all outside.
* NoodleIncident: Clarisse's stories about her uncle, like the time he was arrested for being a pedestrian.
** That is actually a reference to Bradbury's 1951 short story "The Pedestrian", which he has described as being "the beginning" of ''Fahrenheit 451''.
* NotBrainwashed: Clarisse and Faber are the only ones who don't watch the parlor wall [=TV=]s. Also, Montag hates to watch television, and only does it to please his wife.
* NotSoDifferent: Captain Beatty gives Montag one of these in both the novel and the film; in the play it is significantly expanded to become his defining moment.
* NukeEm: Apparently, America has fought and won ''two'' nuclear wars.
* TheObiWan: Faber, in the novel.
* PaintingTheMedium: The film begins with an announcer reading the credits out loud over shots of TV aerials; at the end, as [[spoiler:Montag is walking with the other Book People]], the words '''TheEnd''' appear onto the screen.
* PeaceAndLoveIncorporated: Beatty sees the Firemen as protectors of everyone's peace of mind.
* PhotographicMemory: The movie version ends with the main character [[spoiler: joining a society where everyone is able to memorize an ''entire book''.]]
** In the book verson they say that [[spoiler: they developed techniques that allow a person to recall perfectly anything they ever read.]]
* PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad: The reason books started to be banned.
* PornStash: Not porn, but contraband books.
* PrecociousCrush: Implied with Clarisse in the dandelion scene.
* ProductPlacement: Very common in the government-controlled media. They even have ''Jesus'' as a spokesman.
* PromotedToLoveInterest: The film ages 17-year-old Clarisse up to 20 to make her an explicit love interest for 30-year-old Montag.
* QuoteToQuoteCombat: Beatty claims that he had a dream about one between him and Montag, where they used quotes from Creator/SamuelJohnson, Creator/WilliamShakespeare and others.
* ReadingIsCoolAesop
* RousseauWasRight: When Montag recites classic poetry to his wife's equally vapid acquaintances, one of them cries, commenting on how she forgot that feelings like that existed (the rest of them condemn Montag for being nasty and dismiss the poem as trash for evoking awful emotions).
* SexlessMarriage: Montag and Mildred in the novel. They sleep in separate beds, their bedroom is described as a cold tomb, Mildred can't remember when she met Montag, and Mildred only cares about her TV family and Montag going out and making money to keep the house and earn enough to get a fourth TV wall.
* ShootTheTelevision: With a ''flamethrower''.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Clarisse is written out of the story almost immediately, but her brief role instigates
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler:Clarisse]] in the film[[note]]In the film, Clarisse has also been turned from a 17-year-old high school drop-out to a 20-year-old teacher who had just been fired because the teachers didn't like her subversive lesson plans[[/note]] and play.
* StepfordSmiler: A typical element of the story's dystopian society.
* SuicideByCop: In the novel, at least. It's heavily implied that [[spoiler:Beatty]] was belittling Montag because he ''wanted'' Montag to [[spoiler:burn him alive.]]
* TechnologyMarchesOn: Today, the contents of several libraries can be hidden on USB flash drives, DVD roms, and external hard drives, all of which can be carried in your pocket . And their digital format makes them instantly copyable. Fortunately, book burning, today, is not as effective as it used to be.
* TeensAreMonsters: In the novel, Clarisse tells Montag about how kids her age like to bully people, smash cars, and just be generally wild and destructive -- and some of Clarisse's friends and peers have died from car accidents, gun violence, and suicide.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: There are psychiatrists in this world, but their job is to weed out people like Clarisse who still have a shred of humanity left in them, rather than, say, help living zombies like Mildred who may have deep suicidal tendencies. Not even the "paramedics" who pumped her stomach tell Montag that she needs psychiatric help.
* WomanInWhite: Clarisse.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: Montag's speech at the end of the novel.
* {{Zeerust}}: Though the novel merely takes place in an unspecified future time after 1990, the movie's technology is zeerust-y. However, technology like the "parlor walls" and the "seashell radios" mirror today's big, flatscreen [=TVs=] (some of which can be mounted onto walls, making them "parlor walls" to some extent), while the seashell radios are similar to either Bluetooth phones or iPod earbud headphones.
** Beyond that, the entire idea that in the 21st century paper books would still be an institution, let alone one important enough to dedicate entire government squads to purging, has a {{Zeerust}} quality to it.
** The pocket transistor radio was first introduced a year or so after the novel was published. Ray Bradbury recalled seeing a woman walking down the street oblivious both to her male companion and to her surroundings as she listened to one via an earpiece, and described his shock at seeing his predictions so soon coming true.

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