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1984 (1955)

The 1955 version of George Orwell’s dystopian novel is set in a futuristic 1984 while the 1984 version of 1984 was set in the grim, postwar era in which Orwell lived and wrote.

All of which proves that Orwell’s book was at once timely and timeless.


Michael Anderson’s adaptation is reasonably faithful to its source, concentrating on the possibility of love and humanity in a totalitarian state ruled by a powerful bureaucratic elite, a world of “Big Brother”, “Thought Police” and “Doublethink”.

This film version became unavailable in the 1970s because the Orwell estate disapproved of it – an ironic echo of the historical revisionism done by Winston Smith in the story itself.

It’s every bit the equal of Michael Radford’s remake, but both pale beside the chilling, authentically Orwellian vision of Terry Gilliam’s1984_005 Brazil (1985).

Winston Smith
Edmond O’Brien
Michael Redgrave
Jan Sterling
David Kossoff
Mervyn Johns
Donald Pleasence

Michael Anderson