There have been many film, stage and radio versions of George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four - the best version was released in 1984. Starring John Hurt as Winston Smith, Suzanna Hamilton as Julia and Richard Burton as O'Brien (the actor’s last screen appearance), it was directed by Michael Radford and produced by Simon Perry.
The film follows the story of Smith, a low-level civil servant, as he tries to maintain his grip on reality and find love, while the regime overpowers and persecutes him for individual thinking, politically and personally. Roger Ebert said it ‘penetrates much more deeply into the novel's heart of darkness’ than previous adaptations and called Hurt 'the perfect Winston Smith’. At the US premiere, Vincent Canby said the film was 'admirable, bleakly beautiful'.
Released 35 years ago, the film is pertinent today – as Orwell's classic book is – in a time of totalitarians, attacks on free thinking, fake news, the rise of populism, two-minute hate and fears for the future of democracy.
Part of a citywide reading project on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Festival of the Future City is giving away 1,000 copies of the book - register here to be the first to hear about pick-up points. If you've read it already, let us know what you think about Orwell and the relevance of Nineteen Eighty-Four today. Send us your thoughts via the contact us section of Festival of Ideas website - the best entries win free tickets to this film screening.
With thanks to:
Screening from 35mm and followed by a discussion with Simon Perry, producer, with Andrew Kelly, director, Festival of Ideas.