Fahrenheit 451

Year: 1966

Production: Anglo-Enterprise and Vineyard / Universal

Director: Francois Truffaut

Starring: Julie Christie, Oskar Werner, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring

Screenwriter: Francois Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard

Based on Fahrenhekt 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury

112 minutes; Color

Bradbury's angry parable is about a future in which all books are banned. The hero (Werner) is a member of the Fire Brigade, whose function is not to put out fires but to burn books. He first questions the regime and then rebels totally, incinerating the fire chief instead of the books, escaping from the city and joining a rural community whose members are each memorizing a book, word for word, in order to preserve it. The film is more ambiguous than the book and, so to speak, lack its fire; Traffaut seems not altogether to accept Bradbury's moral simplicity. This is particularly evident at the end, with the book people murmuring aloud the words they are committing to memory, while plodding about the snow-covered landscape like zombies. The words may be saved but literature itself seems dead. The film is well photographed by Nicholas Roeg, later celebrated director of, among others, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976).

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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