Dystopian Sci-Fi Epic Is The Most Faithful Adaptation Of This Literary Masterpiece, Stream Now

By Robert Scucci | Published

George Orwell’s 1984 has to be one of the most widely referenced pieces of dystopian literature that seemingly nobody has ever read. And I’m not even trying to be an elitist here because I’m about to talk about the equally effective film adaptation of the same name that came out in, you guessed it, 1984. Bringing Orwell’s disturbing vision of an oppressive totalitarian government to life, this Michael Radford-directed film is an expertly condensed version of the source material that is so double-plus-good that you’ll be fluent in Newspeak and believing that 2+2=5 before you know it. 

Best Version Of The Timeless Novel

Centering on the life of Oceania resident Winston Smith (John Hurt), 1984 aims to unpack and explore how effectively propaganda, media manipulation, and constant surveillance can be used to control the masses. The Party, which is led by the elusive Big Brother, watches the movements of each and every citizen as a means to this end. Through the use of telescreens that are strategically placed throughout the superstate, not a single problematic thought is safe from the oppressive rule of the party or Big Brother. 

Rebel With A Cause

Winston, who works for the Ministry of Truth in 1984, spends his days altering old news publications– effectively rewriting history in a way that fits the Party’s desired narrative. Fed up with the lies, as well as the lack of personal autonomy, Winston begins to write down his thoughts in a hidden journal as a way to cope with the unblinking eye of the telescreens that rule his life. Unable to trust anybody who celebrates the party’s stranglehold on the population, Winston meets a like-minded Party member named Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), and the two form a romantic relationship and a secret alliance. 

Thought Crime

Having knowingly committed “thought crime,” Winston and Julia continue to meet in the proletarian zones, which are known to be less restrictive areas on the outskirts of town. Unbeknownst to the couple, Big Brother is still watching their every move. Though Winston’s story, as depicted in 1984, exemplifies a singular instance of government overreach, it’s implied that the events that transpire in the film embody the natural order of things in this dystopian society. 

Relevant To Our Life Today

Every election cycle, I can’t help but notice how often 1984 is alluded to in an effort to point out that such a disturbing reality is not outside the realm of possibility if we let our guard down. But I also feel the compulsive need to point out that most people I know who have expressed these fears also have a Google Home device or an Alexa sitting in the middle of their living room that’s eagerly parsing out every single word spoken by its owners and waiting for verbal commands. That is to say, the very technology that Orwell warned us about in 1984 exists today, and most of us are using it. 

Stream For Free Today


1984 is the cautionary tale that most of us are simultaneously celebrating and ignoring. But we don’t have to ignore George Orwell’s message because we live in the streaming age. You can currently stream 1984 for free on Tubi, The Roku Channel, and Pluto TV, or through Amazon Prime Video if you have an active subscription. Be careful because if this is your first trip to Oceania, you might not like what you see.