FARENHEIT 451 (1966)


Director: François Truffaut
Writers: François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard
Cinematographer: Nicolas Roeg

Starring: Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack 

Synopsis:Adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel about a future society that has banned all reading material and the job of the firemen is to keep the fires at 451 degrees: the temperature that paper burns. A fireman begins to re-think his job when he meets a book-loving girl.

In a future society all reading matter is forbidden, and the fire department must seek out citizens who disobey this edict and burn their books. Widescreen televisions in the homes and loudspeakers all over the city control the populace through propaganda. Two such citizens are Montag, a fireman whose efficiency has won him a recommendation for promotion, and his contented wife, Linda, who watches the propaganda screen all day. One day, while riding the monorail, Montag meets Clarisse, a young schoolteacher who bears a striking resemblance to his wife.

Clarisse questions the reasons for book-burning and, for the first time, raises doubts in Montag’s mind. Upon arriving home, Montag finds his wife unconscious from taking an overdose of sleeping pills, and after she receives a complete blood transfusion, Montag begins to change. After seeing a woman choose to die with her books, Montag starts bringing books home and secretly reading them at night. His disillusionment with society increases when Clarisse is dismissed from her job. One evening he reads from David Copperfield to some of Linda’s guests, and their disgust makes him realize that he must leave his job. Before he has a chance to resign, however, Linda denounces him, and his last mission with the fire department turns out to be in his own home. Montag aims the flame torch at his colleagues and escapes from the city to the hideout of the “Book People,” a group of outcasts who preserve books by committing them to memory. Clarisse, having fled from the firemen a few days before, is also there. Now determined that literature will not die, Montag begins memorizing the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.