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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)
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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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Filmed Adaptation June 8 2012
By Daffy Bibliophile TOP 500 REVIEWER
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 Christie does a good job as Montag's pill-popping, mindless wife, her casting and performance as Clarisse is a weak spot in the film. Although the threat of nuclear war is not needed nor included in the film, the mechanical hound would have been nice to include in the movie.

All in all, a very good movie though. The plot moves along nicely, the acting is outstanding, and the movie stays very true to the theme of the book. This was François Truffaut's only English-language movie although he had worked with Oskar Werner previously in "Jules and Jim". Highly recommended!
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars A dark future perhaps not so far May 14 2004
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. The sequence of a woman reading a comics without words is a cruel methapor of a world that reminds us to the book's burn in the Reichstag in the thirties.
Julie Christie, an extraordinary actress and a true icon of the sixties, steals the show. Oskar Werner as Montag is OK.
A film who'll disturb and will let you thinking.
A must for you to watch it.
The paper burns at 451 Farenheit degrees.
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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 Just as good as the book! April 12 2004
Format:VHS Tape
'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.
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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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