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Fahrenheit 451

Oskar Werner , Julie Christie , François Truffaut , Laurent Bouzereau    Unrated   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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The classic science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury was a curious choice for one of the leading directors of the French New Wave, François Truffaut. But from the opening credits onward (spoken, not written on screen), Truffaut takes Bradbury's fascinating premise and makes it his own. The futuristic society depicted in Fahrenheit 451 is a culture without books. Firemen still race around in red trucks and wear helmets, but their job is to start fires: they ferret out forbidden stashes of books, douse them with gasoline, and make public bonfires. Oskar Werner, the star of Truffaut's Jules and Jim, plays a fireman named Montag, whose exposure to David Copperfield wakens an instinct toward reading and individual thought. (That's why books are banned--they give people too many ideas.) In an intriguing casting flourish, Julie Christie plays two roles: Montag's bored, drugged-up wife and the woman who helps kindle the spark of rebellion. The great Bernard Herrmann wrote the hard-driving music; Nicolas Roeg provided the cinematography. Fahrenheit 451 received a cool critical reception and has never quite been accepted by Truffaut fans or sci-fi buffs. Its deliberately listless manner has always been a problem, although that is part of its point; the lack of reading has made people dry and empty. If the movie is a bit stiff (Truffaut did not speak English well and never tried another project in English), it nevertheless is full of intriguing touches, and the ending is lyrical and haunting. --Robert Horton

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skill and High Art. July 18 2004
This is Fahrenheit the way it was meant to be. Truffaut is a master film maker. I also recommend "Two English Girls" and "Jules and Jim" as well. It's impossible not to think of the Heinrich Heine quote, "Where one burns books; one will soon burn people" while watching it. The inversion of a fire fighters who, rather than put out fires, start them was a very innovative idea on Bradbury's part. The main character is quite compelling and easily evokes our sympathy. This work is prescient and timeless. In today's talk show era, do books still not remain dangerous and subversive?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Farenheit 451 Jan. 3 2011
This is a fine film. Can be used in the classroom, but needs to be explained as it doesn't follow the novel completely; the essence of the story and plot lines are faithfully constructed, but there are some omissions and changes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful issue with multiple implications May 13 2004
This science fiction novel became an authentical icon at sixties. Ray Bradbury wrote a nightmare tale in which the having of books is forbidden .
Of course, the first it comes to your mind is the Reichstag affair in that famous burnig books. But beyond the anecdotical similarity, Bradbury anticipated the huge impact of the audiovisual culture in the citizen's behavior.
Day afterday, for the mass media the employement of his free time, seems getting far from the lecture, and the concept of knowledge is substituted by information.
This is the central nucleus of this reading.
Truffaut made a haunting film with a touch of romanticism that weaks the central message.
Julie Christie - this living leyend - carries under her shoulders all the dramatic consequences derivated from her "sin". And Oscar Werner (Montag) is the fireman book who slowly changes his mind about his initial beliefs.
Of course there are many coincidences with Orwell's 1984,but it's a must for you watching this movie.
It will let you thinking for a long time, specially those twenty minutes ending.
And then make the link with Jersy Kosinski's novel "From the garden".
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Neglected Classic April 3 2004
This film has failed to attract the attention and appreciation which I think it deserves. Directed by Francois Truffaut and based on Ray Bradbury's novel, it co-stars Oskar Werner (Guy Montag) and Julie Christie in two roles (Linda and Clarisse). The cinematography provided by Nicolas Roeg is superb. The title specifies the temperature at which paper will burn in a totalitarian society in which books are systematically incinerated by "firemen" whose single purpose is to eliminate anything which encourages and nourishes freedom of thought. Montag is one of them, a Fire Captain. Over time, his loyalties become divided between a love of literature and an obligation to destroy it. Hence the dual role for Christie: Clarisse McClelland is a neighbor and book lover to whom Montag is attracted (in several different ways) whereas Linda is committed to feeding the bonfires with as many books as can be located.
Why do books pose such a serious threat? In the novel, Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way. "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy." In other words, entertain people with mindless television programming, thereby to isolate them from any ideas which could raise doubts about the oppressive system. The quality of acting is consistently outstanding throughout the cast. The film is generally faithful to Bradbury's novel, taking certain liberties here and there but preserving the atmospherics of menace, fear, and (worst of all) submission. The heroes and heroines are those who meet in secret, sharing passages which they have memorized from great books. So long as that process continues, "dangerous ideas" will be kept alive.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful- not fluffy March 31 2004
By T.H.
It was a strange movie; the edgy feeling was on par with, say, Edward scissor-hands. That was mostly due to the Score being very well done. A beef I have with a lot of more modern movies is that people don't use their score and background music well anymore. With the exception of Lord of the Rings, the use of themes takes the place of mood- and that's not really a good thing. In Fahrenheit, the music sets the tone and helps you interpret the intended emotional effect. Otherwise, in a movie with so little dialogue and such stone-faced acting (which wasn't as negative as it sounds), you'd hardly know what you were supposed to feel!
The story is set in the near future, in a time when books have been outlawed. The main character is a fireman- no, he doesn't put out fires (homes these days are modern and fire-proof - he starts them by burning books. Firemen are trained to go out on calls to people's homes, raid them of all their hidden books and burn them. Television totally controls the culture standard as all people are brought into uniformity with each other. The communist idea of everyone being made alike is brought to its full manifestation.
The Fireman begins to read the books he burns after meeting a lady who doesn't quite fit the mold. Eventually he is caught, murders his captain with a flame thrower and escapes to live with the Book People, a commune of individuals each of whom have memorized some great work of literature in order to preserve it. "I'm 'The Prince' by Machiavelli" says one scraggly looking man, "It should now be plain that you can't judge a book by its cover!"
Seeing as it is an older movie, everything about it is tame as far as how nasty stuff is portrayed.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do...
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Read more
Published 18 months ago by F. Marra
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Filmed Adaptation
A very good adaptation of Ray Bradbury's famous book. Oskar Werner is great as Montag and Cyril Cusak is perfect as the avuncular yet threatening Captain Beatty; while Julie... Read more
Published on June 8 2012 by Daffy Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars European style
It's hard to say if this picture is futuristic or historic. It is based on the idea you can stamp out ideas if you burn enough books. Read more
Published on July 31 2009 by David Grant
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Four-eyed Snake of 451!
In Ray Bradbury's renowned novel FAHRENHEIT 451,the ubiquitous TV set is ONE-EYED SNAKE. This was our nation's foremost story teller's metaphor for SATAN himself. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Arthur F. McVarish
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark future perhaps not so far
To have a book is verboten (forbidden). And those people who still read them, will be punished.
Thsi statement is the central nervous of that film. Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the book!
'Fahrenheit 451' is one of the rare films that is just as good as the book. Check it out if you can. But, be warned, it is not completely faithful to the book.
Published on April 11 2004 by Dhaval Vyas
2.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and oblique.
Its an ok premise but its the weirdness that comes through more than anything else. And its oh so slow.
Published on April 10 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent movie, but the IRONY is inescapable.....
First of all, this movie is a pretty good translation of a Bradbury book that is, frankly, only middle-of-the-pack for his career. Read more
Published on April 10 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Literary Classic Deserved Better Treatment
Classic book. Decent movie. There was something about the look and feel of the movie that seemed to be a mismatch with the story. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by SandmanVI
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