Last Chance To Watch One Of The Most Influential Films Of All Time On Netflix

Stanley Kubrick's Oscar-nominated dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange is leaving Netflix after New Year's Eve.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

a clockwork orange

Regularly listed as one of the greatest films of the 20th century, and in the overall history of cinema, A Clockwork Orange is streaming on Netflix but it won’t be there for much longer. Nominated for 4 Oscars and proving to be one of the most heavily referenced films in pop culture, the movie will leave the streaming platform after Saturday, New Year’s Eve. It was the ninth feature film Stanley Kubrick directed, Malcolm McDowell‘s fourth appearance on the big screen, and if this is the first time you’ll be watching it, be prepared to be disturbed.

A Clockwork Orange — based on the 1962 Anthony Burgess novel of the same name — was set in a dystopia long before dystopias became such regular visitors to our movie and television screens. In what would prove to be his signature role, Malcolm McDowell plays the bowler hat-wearing Alex DeLarge who leads a gang of violent “droogs.” Shortly after we meet the club-wielding misfits, they break into a rich couple’s home, beat the husband nearly to death, and sexually assault the wife.

Alex’s violent appetites land him in prison, where he agrees to a nightmarish therapy meant to “rehabilitate” him. In one of the most memorable and disturbing scenes in a film with no shortage of such moments, the gang leader’s eyes are forcibly held open with metal clamps as he’s fed drugs and made to watch scenes of sex and violence. Worse: the scenes are accompanied by the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Alex’s favorite composer.

a clockwork orange
Malcolm McDowell’s Alex being “rehabilitated” in A Clockwork Orange (1971)

There have been a lot of rumors over the years about the physical toll on McDowell while making A Clockwork Orange, particularly during the making of the infamous aversion therapy scene. Speaking to Yahoo! last year to promote the release of a new 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray, McDowell said he’s even heard rumors that he was literally blinded shooting the scene. He said while his cornea was scratched — an injury that has long since healed — most of the reports exaggerate what happened.

He also said that while he’s still extremely proud of the opportunity to star in A Clockwork Orange, he has no interest in ever rewatching it.

“To be honest, I really couldn’t really stomach watching it again… It’s still the same movie. It may look a little sharper, the color [might] be a little brighter, but it’s still the same movie.”

-Malcolm McDowell on rewatching A Clockwork Orange

Malcolm McDowell made sure to repeatedly express his gratitude about starring in a film that was a part of “cinema history,” and apparently he wasn’t the only one in contention for the role. Last year, he told Yahoo! that the studio had a “pie in the sky” idea of Mick Jagger playing Alex and the rest of the Rolling Stones playing the droogs, and more recently he said Jagger himself told McDowell he wanted to be in the movie.