Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell on the set of A Clockwork Orange.

Clockwork Orange

Since so many different interpretations have been offered about A Clockwork Orange, how do you see your own film?

Stanley Kubrick: The central idea of the film has to do with the question of free will. Do we lose our humanity if we are deprived of the choice between good and evil? Do we become, as the title suggests, A Clockwork Orange? Recent experiments in conditioning and mind control on volunteer prisoners in America have taken this question out of the realm of science-fiction. At the same time, I think the dramatic impact of the film has principally to do with the extraordinary character of Alex, as conceived by Anthony Burgess in his brilliant and original novel. Aaron Stern, the former head of the MPAA rating board in America, who is also a practising psychiatrist, has suggested that Alex represents the unconscious: man in his natural state. After he is given the Ludovico “cure” he has been “civilized,” and the sickness that follows may be viewed as the neurosis imposed by society.