'Movies that make people sick': Audience Responses to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange in 1971/72

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Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) was a big commercial and critical hit in the US and also the focus of a major controversy. Many of the film’s detractors were worried about the possibility that it could stimulate violent behaviour in the audience. This essay explores the actual responses of viewers to A Clockwork Orange, drawing on letters that cinemagoers wrote to Kubrick soon after the film’s release. It outlines the expectations they brought to the film, the cultural context in which they encountered it, and the viewing strategies they employed to make sense of, and to take pleasure in, the film. It also raises questions about gender specific responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-430
Number of pages15
JournalParticipations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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