like clockwork

List of cultural references to A Clockwork Orange

The novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and the movie adaptation have wide-ranging influences on popular culture, such as popular music, television, movies and other entertainment media. Some of the influences are based on themes central to the story, such as the use of Nadsat words or phrases, whilst others have incorporated visual elements from the film. The film A Clockwork Orange made Kubrick one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, and the film is today a cult classic that is frequently referenced in popular culture.


A Clockwork Orange, like other dystopian science-fiction novels, had an important influence on industrial and cyberpunk music. The film version influenced bands' fashion styles. The band Tolchok took its name from A Clockwork Orange.

Hip hop and contemporary R&B

  • Rap group D12 released a song in 2001 titled "American Psycho," on their album Devil's Night. In the track D12 member Eminem, on the opening verse, raps the lyric "Lock your doors, drop to the floors, get your shotguns drawn - here comes another Clockwork Orange."
  • The video for "My Way" by R&B singer Usher is heavily influenced by the movie. In the video, Usher's outfit is similar to the main character in Clockwork Orange. He wears a bowler hat and has the trademark drawn eyelash on his left eye (Alex wore it over his right eye). He plays the protagonist to singer Tyrese Gibson, and playfully flirts with his girlfriend. He has a street gang with members who all wear bowler hats.
  • Three 6 Mafia producers DJ Paul & Juicy J sampled the movie's main theme in Frayser Boy's song Pistol Playa from his 2003 album Gone On That Bay.
  • The Beastie Boys song "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" from the album "Paul's Boutique" includes references such as "ultra violence is running through my head" and "I am like Clockwork Orange going off on the town."
  • Finnish rap artist Ezkimo's first album "Iso E" has a similar cover to that of Clockwork Orange's.
  • Artist Cage Kennylz (Christian Palko) better known as Cage was highly influenced by the movie. His single "Agent Orange" sampled the theme from Stanley Kubrick's film, which also played on his alter-ego, "Alex the Worm King".


  • In the Guns N' Roses video for "Welcome to the Jungle", Axl Rose is shown bound and watching several TV screens filled with sex and violence; the only dissimilarity with the Ludovico technique being that his eyes are not held open.
  • In Rob Zombie's song "Never Gonna Stop(The Red Red Kroovy)", there are several lyrical references to the A Clockwork Orange film. The line "My Durango 95" refers to a car that the droogs drive in one of the film's scenes. The line "Step back and watch it flow" refers to the blood that pours from Alex's victims. In the video, Rob Zombie is seen dressed as Alex, with his band members dressed as droogs. The video includes an homage to the Korova Milkbar scene and the hogs of the road scene. The song's alternate title is "Red, Red Kroovy," obviously similar to the actual term used krovvy, a Nadsat expression for blood.
  • French industrial metal band The Cosa Nostra Klub (then named Count Nosferatu Kommando) released an album called "Ultraviolence Über Alles" in 2002, and are heavily influenced by A Clockwork Orange. The album cover bears references to the film cover, with Hreidmarr pointing a shotgun at the camera (Alex is holding a knife in a similar fashion on the film cover) and Heinrich Von B giving the Kubrick stare.
  • The band Megadeth's fans are known as "droogies", a reference to the gang.
  • In Mötley Crüe's music video "Hoogilan's Holiday" Many scenes are derived from the movie and the video includes 4 people dressed as the droogs.
  • In the Carcass song "Room 101" there is line "No clockwork orange - The doom watch ticks" which probably means that the end of the world in nuclear conflict will come even sooner than the men's conversion to "clockwork oranges".
  • One of the songs from the Buckethead album Island of Lost Minds is titled "Korova Binge Bar", an obvious reference to the Korova Milk Bar in the film.
  • Sepultura's new album, A-Lex is about A Clockwork Orange.
  • Carnivore (band)'s song "Sex & Violence", there are the lines "Clock work orange, fast be coming" and "Ultra - violent offsprings of gore"

New Wave

  • The band The Shirts refer to "all you lovely Droogs" in the song "Poe" on their debut album in 1978
  • The Edinburgh post-punk band The Scars recorded a song called "Horrorshow" as part of a double A-sided single that was released by the Fast label in 1979. It is almost a complete retelling of the Clockwork Orange novel, which was at the time a huge influence on lead singer Robert King, and its title is from the novel's slang term for "good".
  • The band Sigue Sigue Sputnik used both the word "ultraviolence" and samples from the film on their single 'Love Missile F1-11' in 1986, also adopting the film's imagery for their stage costumes and video clips. The band uses a great deal of references to the film and book, including using the film soundtrack to open their concerts. Their 1990 album The First Generation includes a song called "Ultraviolence". Many remixes of their songs, such as the 1986 remix of the song "Love Missile F1-11 (The DMX remix)" by Paul Dykene features other A Clockwork Orange references, including samples of the song "I want to Marry a Lighhouse Keeper."
  • In Blur's music video for their single The Universal Damon Albarn is Alex and the rest of the band are his droogs. The set of the music video is supposed to be the Milkbar.
  • Heaven 17 derived their name from a list of new artists posted at a record store. Two girls ponder their choices including Heaven 17 or Goggly Gogol in a scene during the film.
  • Panic at the Disco's music video style for their first album is reminiscent of the that of Alex and his drooges'.

Punk and Oi!

  • Proto-Oi! band Cock Sparrer has a song called "Droogs Don't Run."
  • English Punk Band, The Adicts dress in costume resembling that of the droogs.
  • Lower Class Brats, whose singer goes by the moniker Bones DeLarge, has maintained a theme of both the film and the book in the band's lyrics, merchandise and tattoos.
  • The Ramones album Too Tough to Die features an instrumental called Durango 95 (named for a vehicle Alex drives in the film), and the album cover shows the band backlit at the mouth of a tunnel, echoing the film scene where Alex and his droogs attack a derelict.
  • In 1988, the German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen released a concept album Ein kleines bisschen Horrorshow (a reference to Alex's Nadsat phrase a bit of [the old] horrorshow [ultraviolence]). The members had been involved as musicians in a German stage production of ''A Clockwork Orange.'
    • The song "Here Comes Alex" by the band UK Subs is an English cover of the song "Hier Kommt Alex" from this album. This song refers to A Clockwork Orange several times, and the theme of the song echoes the theme of the movie. The original version of the song is also a playable song in the video game Guitar Hero 3.
  • The Skoidats' 1999 album, A Cure for What Ales You, contains a song called "The Night of the Droogs," with lines such as "The blood will flow like clockwork red." The chorus is "This is the night, the night of the droogs."
  • There is an underground French punk band called Orange Mécanique, which is the French title of the movie.
  • Manchester band The Fall had a song from their 1985 album This Nation's Saving Grace "To NK Roachment :Yarbles". 'Yarbles' appears in the book as nadsat for 'testicles'.
  • The band Horrorshow Destruction (hardcore punk / France) got their name from the book.
  • The 4Skins have a song called "Clockwork Skinhead", one of the lyrics of which is "He's just a Clockwork Skin'ead and he's got no choice"
  • A Czech bad named Degradace have a song called "Clockwork Orange".


Electronic Music and dance pop

  • Cage Agent orange (trip hop)
  • Cygnus X does The Orange Theme based on the movie's theme.
  • The 1980s British electropop band Heaven 17 took their name from a band in the book.
  • British dance act Moloko's name was adopted from Nadsat, a term invented by Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, referring to a milk drink with admixed drugs.
  • The gypsy folk band DeVotchKa also named themselves after a Nadsat word meaning "girl".
  • Kylie Minogue's "Fever tour" in 2002 featured the thematic set "Droogie Nights", which was strongly influenced by A Clockwork Orange. Minogue and her dancers were dressed like Alex and his gang. The set's official story mentioned "Clockwork Orange", and was based on the plot of the movie.
  • In 2005, Stereo Total of Germany turned the film's title music into their song "Orange mécanique".
  • Electric Hellfire Club, a mock-Satanic industrial/dance band, features a song entitled "Ultraviolence", replete with sound effects from the film, on their 1996 Cleopatra release "Calling Dr. Luv".
  • There was a synth/dance/techno/pop band from the Flint, Michigan area known as UltraViolence.
  • German DJ Paul Van Dyk dress up as Alex in the music video "White Lies"(featuring Jessica Sutta).
  • The video for Unklejam's 'Stereo' is heavily influenced by the Korovo Milk Bar
  • Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy incorporate samples from the film in the song "Rivers" on Rabies (album).


  • The popular cartoon series The Simpsons contains frequent references to the film version of A Clockwork Orange. In several episodes, Bart is portrayed as Alex DeLarge from the movie.
    • In the episode "Dog of Death", Smithers props Santa's Little Helper's eyes open and forces him to watch a sequence of destructive scenes set to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, a la the Ludovico Technique. Santa's Little Helper transforms from playful and friendly to vicious and violent, the opposite reaction of Alex.
    • In the episode "Duffless", Bart reaches for cupcakes placed by a vengeful Lisa, copying the extreme high and low angle shots used in the film when Alex reaches for the woman's breasts. Due to Lisa's conditioning, Bart then falls shivering on the floor, similar to how Alex begins reacting.
    • In the episode "Treehouse of Horror III", Bart dresses up as Alex for a Halloween party.
    • In the episode "A Streetcar Named Marge", Bart states "I have a pain in me gulliver" almost directly quoting Alex.
    • In the episode "Homer the Smithers", Mr. Burns is lying in bed in a body cast, chewing loudly and pausing his speech for Smithers to spoon-feed him, in a direct allusion to the scene in the film after Alex jumps out the window.
  • In Teen Titans, Malcolm McDowell voiced Mad Mod, a villain who used technological illusions and brainwashing techniques. His appearances have included several nods to A Clockwork Orange, including a scene in the episode bearing his name where Starfire was attempting to resist a brainwashing that was strongly similar to the Ludovico Technique, where her eyes were held open by the chair restraining her in front of a hypnotism screen.
  • The Goodies' episode "Invasion of the Moon Creatures", in which Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor roam the streets dressed in rabbit suits styled after Alex's mode of dress (including the mascara on one eye) and beat people at random with giant carrots.
  • In The Mighty Boosh, in the Electro episode, the band Vince joins is called Kraftwerk Orange. He also wears a droog-like outfit when performing.
  • In LOST episode "Not in Portland", one of the characters is subjected to the same sort of brainwashing/aversion therapy techniques in Cell #23, which is the same numbered room in which Alex gets his therapy.
  • In the British program, Star Stories, which parodies famous celebrities, one episode has Michael Douglas suffering from an addiction to sex. His rehabilitation involves him being forced to watch a sexual scene (to the sound of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony) whilst being physically beaten.
  • In Invader Zim episode Parent Teacher Night, Zim forces the roboparents to watch a parental guidance video, attaching them to chairs, and noticeably holding their eyes open with devices similar to those in the movie.
  • In Yes, Dear, Kim trashes a truck with a tire iron while whistling "Singing In The Rain."
  • In the Doug episode Doug's Nightmare on Jumbo St, Porkchop ties up Doug's hands and opens his eyes, parodying the Ludovico technique in the film.
  • In the Disney cartoon series Recess, the preppy girl group The Ashleys find out that tomboy Spinelli has the first name of Ashley and is therefore "one of us" (which they chant in a way referencing the old classic horror film Freaks. As part of her conditioning, Spinelli is tied to a chair by the Ashleys, her eyelids scotch-taped open, as she is forced to watch a My Little Pony-type cartoon.
  • Alex Delarge himself appears briefly in The straight-to-DVD director's cut of the South Park Imaginationland trilogy, as one of the many characters to come from the evil half of Imaginationland.
  • In the VH1 television series I Hate My Thirties, there is an episode in which the characters of Carole and Chad babysit the ill behaved son of the character called Travis. For a brief moment he is seen dressed as Alex while cutting the curtains with a box cutter.
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Super Trivia", Frylock straps Meatwad and Master Shake in front of his computer in the style of the Ludovico Technique so they can answer trivia questions.
  • In the Comedy Central television series Lil' Bush, which parodies the life of George bush and other political figures; Jeb Bush, who is portrayed as an animal-like, brain dead person, receives a knock on the head, and becomes intelligent. He is later subjected to a ludavico type experiment, that is even referenced as part of A Clockwork Orange, to turn him dumb again.
  • In the opening title of the cartoon Robot Chicken, a chicken is strapped down with its eyelids forced open in front of dozens of TV sets.
  • In the second season episode of Sledge Hammer!, A Clockwork Hammer, criminals try to neutralize Sledge Hammer through a variation of the Ludovico Treatment. It is unsuccessful, despite having worked on others before---Sledge loves all the violence he is shown, and asks for a copy of the videotape: "I take VHS!"


The film version of A Clockwork Orange immediately revolutionised the science-fiction film genre, opening the way for other films to portray elaborate dystopian narratives and to intelligently analyse social dilemmas. Many film directors have borrowed themes and cinematic techniques from the film. The film is an essential part of modern cinema and films often reference it.

  • Films directed by David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino have copied A Clockwork Orange's very ambiguous and complex central character.
  • Films that use similar cinematic techniques to A Clockwork Orange include A Boy and His Dog, THX-1138, and Westworld.
  • The torture scene in Reservoir Dogs being set to Stuck in the Middle With You was described by Quentin Tarantino in an interview as a direct reference to the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex kicks the writer and rapes his wife to the tune of Singin' in the Rain.
  • In Gangster No. 1 (2002) Malcom McDowell, the actor who played Alex in the film version, plays his character of a gangster as an older version of Alex.
  • In The Coen Brothers film Fargo, Carl says he's in town for "just a little of the ol' in-and-out," a direct quote from Alex. In Raising Arizona, another movie by the Coens, Beethoven's Ode to Joy is heard in the film score - only this time as a bluegrass banjo tune, to fit with the general mood of the picture.
  • In Queer Duck:The Movie, the lead character undergoes therapy similar to the Ludovico treatment to "cure" his homosexuality. He is forced to watch films with his eyes clamped open. However at the end he reveals that he would like a copy because it's a "less gay version of A Clockwork Orange."
  • There is a pornographic movie, entitled A Clockwork Orgy, starring Kaitlyn Ashley. In this version, Alex is a female (Alexandra), the Korova is just a regular, run-of-the-mill bar, and there is no prison chaplain.
  • In the film "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny", Jack Black, trying to sleep on a park bench, is assaulted by a gang which are dressed as the Droogs. As the Droogs approach Jack, the first note from the main theme plays. One of the Droogs fails to speak with an English accent and is hit by a fellow gang member. They beat Jack Black up and then run off on their own, allowing Kyle Gass to approach Jack who is half unconscious and take credit for the gang's running off.
  • In Richard E. Grant's film Wah-Wah the main character, Grant himself as a child, has his life changed by watching a late night screening of A Clockwork Orange. This acts as a turning point in his life, symbolised by the image of Alex's face superimposed over Grant's.


  • Professional wrestler Scott Levy, more commonly known as Raven, is noted as popularizing the Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match, a variation of a hardcore match used exclusively in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
  • The Princeton University ultimate teams are known as "Clockwork Orange." The team disc features a recreation of Alex's unique eye makeup. Additionally, the letters "CO" are visible in the pupil, and use the same font that is seen on the film posters.
  • In Wrestling Society X, Ring Announcer Fabian Kaelin (Ryan Katz) often dresses up like Alex, with the derby hat, suspenders, old-fashioned clothes, and the eye make-up. Also, WSX has ran a storyline where Team Dragon Gate were brainwashed in a Ludivico Technique-type fashion.
  • The film inspired the name for the Italian football team Juventus FC's ultra group who are called The Drughi (The Droogs in Italian language).
  • The professional wrestling promotion Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) uses the term ultraviolent in reference to their brand of hardcore wrestling.


  • The opening scene of Conker's Bad Fur Day for Nintendo 64 is a parody of A Clockwork Orange intro. It has the same music and also starts with a first shot of the face of the main character, Conker The Squirrel, with an evil grin, holding a glass of milk, sitting in a throne surrounded by several characters from the game. While camera moves back, enlarging the view of the scene, Conker starts to introduce himself and telling his story.
  • The final boss from Fatal Fury Real Bout: Dominated Mind for PlayStation, called White, is basically the result of an inspiration from the Alex, since it wears a similar outfit, same kind of hat, eyebrows painted below his eye, and uses a cane as his weapon of choice. Also, he seems to be psychotic and his main power (on the storyline) is the Mind Control, brainwashing people's brain making them obey his will.


  • The Korova Milk Bar in New York City references the bar from A Clockwork Orange, and even features décor similar to that of the movie, as well as milk and ice-cream themed drinks.
  • The Korova Milk Bar in Bourke Street Melbourne also references the bar from the film, with similar décor and milk themed drinks soon to be added to their bar menu.
  • The Glasgow Subway in Glasgow, Scotland is referred by locals as The Clockwork Orange. This is because the trains are bright orange and the system is circular. It is mentioned in the Iain Banks book Espedair Street, which also refers to the "clockwork orange pub crawl."


Further reading

  • Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange by Stuart Y. McDougal Cambridge University Press, 2003 ISBN 0521574889

External links

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