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George Orwell Birth Anniversary: Film and TV Adaptations of the 1984 Author

Here is a look at some of the movies and TV shows based on George Orwell’s books.

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Updated:June 25, 2019, 6:51 PM IST
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George Orwell Birth Anniversary: Film and TV Adaptations of the 1984 Author
Here is a look at some of the movies and TV shows based on George Orwell’s books.
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June 25 marks the 116th birth anniversary of Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell. The British novelist, essayist, journalist, and literary critic was far ahead of his times — dissing the USSR in the allegorical Animal Farm or warning of the ‘Big Brother’ surveillance state in the dystopian 1984.

Orwell’s work has had a deep impact on popular and political culture; the New York Times once declared the term Orwellian as “the most widely used adjective derived from the name of a modern writer … It’s more common than ‘Kafkaesque,’ ‘Hemingwayesque’ and ‘Dickensian’ put together. It even noses out the rival political reproach ‘Machiavellian’, which had a 500-year head start.”

Here is a look at some of the movies and TV shows based on Orwell’s books.

Orwell’s influential novel 1984 has been adapted for both film and television. The 1954 BBC production Nineteen Eighty-Four proved to be hugely controversial, with uproar in Parliament and viewer complaints about its alleged subversive nature. The show was ranked 73rd in the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century poll of industry experts by the British Film Institute.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, also known as 1984, a film adaptation of Orwell’s novel came out in 1984. The dystopian science fiction film was written and directed by Michael Radford and starred John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, and Cyril Cusack in lead roles.

The film revolves around the life of Winston Smith, a low-ranking civil servant in a war-torn London ruled by Oceania, a totalitarian superstate. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Art Direction and won two Evening Standard British Film Awards for Best Film and Best Actor.

Orwell’s influential and popular allegorical novella Animal Farm has been adapted to film twice: a 1954 animated feature and a live-action version in 1999.

The 1997 British romantic comedy film Keep the Aspidistra Flying (released in the United States and New Zealand as A Merry War) was based on the 1936 novel of the same name by George Orwell. The film starred Helena Bohem Carter and Richard E Grant in lead roles.

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