Trivia / A Clockwork Orange


  • Creator Backlash: In an introduction to a later edition of the book, the author called it "pornographic" and an "embarrassment." He considers its main entertainment value to be from "raping and ripping." Elsewhere, he reflected that he "should not have written this book" due to the dangers of it being misinterpretated. He was also peeved that it was his most famous work, when he felt he had written better books, and that the wider public only knew him as the man who wrote the book upon which Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange was based.
  • Creator Breakdown: Burgess was paranoid that he was dying of a brain tumor, so he cranked it out in less than a month.
  • Executive Meddling: In a reversal of the "Hollywood Ending" stereotype, American publishers insisted that the last chapter (where Alex decides to stop being a criminal and raise a family) be removed to make the novel more depressing.


  • Accidentally Correct Writing: While mini-cassettes never took off as a music medium, the music store Alex visits almost seems to have anticipated the return of vinyl records some 40 years later. Ditto for Alex's apartment, now that elements of 1970's decor have found their way back into style as well.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: When Malcolm McDowell, a cricket fan, came in for a costume fitting with his gear, including protective cup, Stanley Kubrick told him to keep them out and incorporate his white shirt and cup into the costume. When McDowell started to dress by putting the jockstrap under his pants, Kubrick told him it would look better over his trousers instead, and the look made it into the final movie.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Banned in China: Banned in Ireland, of course. And as noted below, Kubrick himself got it banned in the United Kingdom until he died.
  • BFI Top 100 British Films: #81.
  • Creator Backlash: The film was the subject of much media hype linking it to violent crimes. After Stanley Kubrick received death threats, along with hearing of the news of two copycat crimes involving the rape of a Dutch girl in the hands of men singing "Singin' in the Rain" and the beating of a 16 year old boy who, while dressed as Alex, beat another boy, he withdrew the film from screening in the UK, even suing arthouse theatres that tried to show it. The ban was only lifted after Kubrick's death.
  • Dawson Casting: Malcolm McDowell was 27 during filming. Though Alex's age is never given, he's still supposed to be attending school in the beginning of the film. According to the DVD Commentary, Michael Tarn, who played Pete, was the only actor of the four Droogs who was still a teenager, being 19 at the time of filming.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Anthony Burgess himself was critical of the film, for what he saw as its glorification of sex and violence. He was unhappy that Kubrick omitted the book's final chapter (as had the first American edition of the book), which gave Alex some redemption, wanting to give up his old violent ways and looking forward to having a wife and a son, whom he hopes does not turn out like him. The fact that he had sold the film rights for a pittance and stood to gain nothing from the film's success probably didn't warm him to it much either.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Malcolm McDowell had actually scratched his cornea during filming, and thus the man with the eye drops during the Ludovico Technique was an actual medical practitioner. McDowell developed a lasting hatred for eye-drops from filming this scene. Years later, he had to get surgery on his eyes because the retinas were detaching. He believes the two events are related.
    M.M.: No way. I'm an actor, damn it. This is torture, this is medieval torture! Then the doctor came up and said there will be no hurt. Liar! ...Then they anesthetized my eye. They had all the latest techniques, they poked the corner of my eye with a handkerchief.
  • Fatal Method Acting: Averted. It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned when his breathing apparatus failed during filming of the waterboarding scene. This is not true. Daily records indicate that the scene was filmed in repeated takes with no stoppage from equipment failure. McDowell has never reported a near drowning, while he does report many similar close calls in other scenes.
  • From Entertainment To Education: At least one math tutor, who was a criminology teacher in a Hadera, Israel high school would show his students A Clockwork Orange in a show of interdisciplinary instruction.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer contains a scene where Basil the snake leaves Alex's room. This doesn't happen in the film.
  • No Stunt Double: Adrienne Corri as Mrs Alexander was cast after two actresses had already withdrawn from the role, because she was willing to spend hours naked on set balanced on Warren Clarke's shoulder while Kubrick decided which shot he liked the best. According to Malcolm McDowell, before they shot the scene, she joked "Well, Malcolm, you're about to find out that I'm a real redhead."
  • The Red Stapler: Sales of Beethoven's 9th Symphony went up after the film.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • Alex scams his way into the couple's house by telling her there was a car accident and he needs to use the phone. Nowadays he would have to explain why he didn't use his mobile phone.
    • Micro Compact Cassettes are used by Alex. Nowadays, it would be either a CD or just part of an iPod playlist.
  • Throw It In:
    • The scene with Alex dancing while he sings "Singing In The Rain" was the result of Stanley Kubrick finding the scene too conventional and asking actor Malcolm McDowell to improvise. Interestingly, Kubrick only told McDowell to try dancing, not singing. McDowell did, then spontaneously started singing the song. Kubrick liked it so much that, as soon as the take was over, he immediately left the set to secure the rights to the song.
    • The scene in which Alex "pops" his mouth open for the minister to feed him is entirely improvised, as Kubrick got incredibly bored filming the scene; Malcolm McDowell then started acting silly to keep the crew's attention focused. Considering it was used in the film, it's probably safe to say it worked.
  • What Could Have Been: