Farenheit 451 (1966)

Genre: Sci-Fi | Age: 13-15


Ages 4 & Under -- No
Ages 5 to 7 -- No
Ages 8 to 9 -- No
Ages 10 to 12 -- Probably Not
Ages 13 to 15 -- Yes
Ages 15 to 17 -- Yes

Farenheit 451 (1966)

SCIENCE FICTION: (1966-PG.) In a future civilization where the reading of printed material is banned, the role of firemen is to burn books. Fireman Montag meets his rebellious neighbor, Clarisse, a schoolteacher. His wife Linda, as most people, is cold and vacuous due to constant drug taking. Montag begins, for the first time in his life, to sense the emptiness around him and steals a book that he was supposed to burn – David Copperfield. When the police raid Clarisse’s house, she escapes. Linda discovers Montag’s illegal reading and turns him in. After Montag kills his captain, Clarisse helps him join an underground that memorizes books to preserve them.

VIOLENCE/SCARINESS: Montag finds Linda unconscious from a drug overdose. One woman commits suicide by fire rather than abandon her books. Montag turns a flamethrower on his captain, burning him to death.

CRIMES: Murder (U). Montag breaks into his captain’s office.

MORALS, ISSUES & VALUES: In Montag’s world: Books disturb people and make them anti-social. The television becomes one’s “family.” There are thousands of drug overdoses each day. Police randomly search people for books. The media stage Montag’s death by murdering an innocent man. Schoolteacher Clarisse is fired for making children laugh. Montag changes from the ultimate “yes man” to an independently thinking human being. When Montag lies about being sick to avoid going to work, he is found out. According to the film: Books are the essence of our civilization. Literature can lead to great emotional experiences.

SEXUALITY & GENDER ISSUES: Nuclear family. Montag and Linda cannot communicate. Two flaky technicians undress Linda (off screen) and laugh at her. When Linda begins seducing Montag, we see a bit of her bare bottom. Most of the women are naive puppets.

SUBSTANCES: Linda takes tranquilizers, stimulants and smokes.

BOOK: Ray Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451.”

COMMENTS: Famed French “New Wave” director Francois Truffaut has made a perfectly accessible and entertaining film about how a man can wake up to tyranny and break the shackles of a fascist world. However, kids should not expect action and special effects. What they will learn is a respect for the freedom to read and learn.

STARRING: Oscar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring, Jeremy Spencer, Bee Duffel, Alex Scott, Mark Lester.

ALTERNATES: Other intellectual science fiction films that consider serious political issues are “Enemy Mine,” “1984,” and “Animal Farm.”


Nudity -- 0
Sexuality -- 2
Physical Violence -- 1
Emotional Stress -- 2
Blood or Gore -- 0
Language/Profanity -- 0
Immorality -- 2
Parental Guidance -- 3
Watchability for Adults -- 4
Overall (For Kids of the Appropriate Age) -- 4
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Copyright Arthur Taussig 2024