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Fahrenheit 451 [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring, Jeremy Spenser
  • Directors: François Truffaut
  • Writers: François Truffaut, David Rudkin, Helen Scott, Jean-Louis Richard, Ray Bradbury
  • Producers: Jane C. Nusbaum, Lewis M. Allen
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: June 11, 1996
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300184250
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,118 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

fahrenheit 451

Amazon.com

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

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend reading the book, particularly if you've seen the movie version.
Donald Ward
Truffaut, however, contributed much to the uniqueness of the film as a work of art separate from the book.
Max A. Lebow
It is thought provoking and makes you want to read the book, which is another sign of a good movie.
Sarah R

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 16, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper will burn. It is the basis for the premise of this film, which is based upon the Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi novel of the same name. The film takes the viewer to a stark future in which firemen start fires rather than put them out. Their main mission appears to be to root out books, wherever they may be found, and burn them. Those who harbor books in their home are breaking the law and are subject to arrest by the state. The written word is simply forbidden.

Oskar Werner plays the role of Guy Montag, a fireman who is married to a beautiful air-head named Linda, who spends her days popping pills, while glued to a wall screen TV. Played with appropriate bubble-brained inertia by the talented Julie Christie, this is just one of the dual roles she plays in this film. The other role is that of Clarisse, a would be school teacher and seeming misfit in that society, as she actually likes to talk about ideas, the very reason that books are forbidden. It seems that books are looked upon as giving people ideas, which is viewed by the state as a mechanism for making people unhappy with their lot.

When Clarisse singles out Montag for conversation, he is intrigued by the fact that she is capable of independent thought. It is not long before he, too, like those whose books he has burned, is also, to his wife's dismay, hoarding books. She feels that Montag is simply sucking the fun out of her life. Clarisse and Montag form an alliance of sorts, as his world comes tumbling down. Betrayed by his conformist wife Linda, Montag joins the ranks of fugitive book lovers, hunted by the very firemen with whom he served.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2001
Format: DVD
I first saw this film when it was released a few decades ago and loved it. I just watched it again last night and still loved it. As a HUGE book lover, I was absolutely mesmerized by this tale of a society that not only has censored all books, but also has firemen who hunt down culprits who harbor books and then burn them at 451 degrees, the heat needed to burn paper. It is French director Truffaut's only English language film, which does not hurt it in the least. This is an incredibly dull society of people who don't do much other than sit in front of tv-like screens watching approved programing put on by the state. Some of them also go to work on public transit although they do nothing that requires reading. There are no road signs, no newspapers, no menus, not a shred of visible written matter anywhere in this society.

Children in schoolrooms do solely mass oral memorization. For written matter gives people ideas and this society decides it is better to live without ideas. Why one wants to live without ideas remains an unasked question in this culture. Oskar Werner plays the fireman who gets more and more intrigued by these books he's burning. Julie Christie plays two roles: a rebel who sides with the book harborers and Werner's wife, who is a couch potato living in front of the tv-screen most of the day. I was amazed to see that Werner's clothes and hair looked right up to the minute despite this film's being several decades old. You would think he was a young actor in 2001. The resolution of this film is absolutely wonderful and thus I won't say a word about it so as to spoil it for you.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on May 22, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
There are many who haven't cared for this movie since it first came out in the mid-Sixties, and they're right to say that it's not very much like the Bradbury novel it's based on, the special effects are largely terrible (the wires helping to levitate the police jetpacks are comically evident), and Oskar Werner seems surprisingly stiff in the lead role of Montag (as Truffaut himself admitted, Werner lost all the spontaeity he showed in JULES ET JIM and seems to be working at his acting very painfully).
All that being said, this film is nevertheless a minor classic. It is one of the most thoughtful and atmospheric science fiction films ever made, and has an absolutely thrilling Bernard Herrmann score to compliment the gorgeous Nicholas Roeg photography. The closeups of the books burning are in particular quite stunning and oddly poignant--one book burns only one page at a time, as each subsequent sheet of paper curls up and vanishes--so that they seem like little murders. The film also features one of Julie Christie's greatest performances as the emotionally anesthetized and intellectually infantile housewife Linda (oddly, she was originally only cast in the more typical role for her of the rebel Clarice, but when Truffaut was left at the last minute without a Linda he asked her to double roles--much to the film's enrichment).
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