Nineteen Eighty-Four in popular media

George Orwell's dystopian political novel Nineteen Eighty-Four has been adapted for the cinema twice (with a third version possibly on the way), for the radio at least twice, and for television at least once. References to its themes, concepts and plot elements are also frequent in other works, particularly popular music and video entertainment. The following sections offer an incomplete but extensive list of these adaptations and references.

Film adaptations

Nineteen Eighty-Four has been made into two theatrically released films. The first 1984 film was released in 1956. The second 1984 film, released in 1984, is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the novel, and was critically acclaimed. Many of the film's scenes were shot on the actual dates mentioned in the novel (ie; When Winston Smith writes the date "April 4, 1984" in his diary, it was filmed on April 4, 1984). The film's soundtrack was performed by the band Eurythmics, and a single taken from this, "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)", was a hit in several countries. The film is notable for containing Richard Burton's last performance.

The Terry Gilliam film Brazil has been interpreted as a 'tribute' to the novel. In fact, the working title of the film was 1984 1/2. Gilliam claims not to have read the book before making his film.

Recently, it has been rumored that another film adaptation is set to be released in 2009, however according to the IMDb it is still in development. According to Dark Horizons and Moviehole, Tim Robbins is set to direct the film version of a stage adaptation written by San Francisco Mime Troupe head writer Michael Gene Sullivan, which was performed, directed by Robbins, at the Actor's Gang in Los Angeles.

Radio adaptations

The first radio broadcast of Nineteen Eighty-Four was a one-hour adaptation transmitted by the USA's NBC radio network at 9.00 p.m. on August 27, 1949 as number 55 in the series N.B.C. University Theater, which adapted the world's great novels for broadcast; it starred David Niven as Smith. Another broadcast on the NBC radio network was made by the Theater Guild on Sunday April 26, 1953 for the United States Steel Hour starring Richard Widmark as "Smith" and Marian Seldes as "Julia".

In the United Kingdom, the BBC Home Service produced a 90-minute version with Patrick Troughton and Sylvia Syms in the lead roles, first broadcast on October 11, 1965. In April and May 2005, BBC Radio 2 broadcast a reading of the novel in eight weekly parts.

The Mike Malloy Show, a U.S. liberal radio programme, began reading Nineteen Eighty-Four in late 2005 and vowed to continue doing so every night until whichever comes first: U.S. President George W. Bush is impeached, or the show is taken off the air. The reading was completed on May 11, 2006.

Television adaptations

The first television version of Nineteen Eighty-Four appeared in CBS's Studio One series in 1953. In it American actor Eddie Albert played Winston Smith and Canadian Lorne Greene played O'Brien

The second television version was adapted by Nigel Kneale for the BBC as a Sunday Night Play in 1954 starring Peter Cushing as "Smith", Andre Morell as "O'Brien" and Yvonne Mitchell as "Julia".. The same script was remade in 1965 for the BBC 2's Theatre 625 series.

It was voted No. 7 in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's television special My Favourite Book, which sought to find Australia's favorite book.

The scene involving Winston in Room 101 from the 1984 film adaptation of the book was ranked among the 100 scariest moments of TV history, as voted by Channel 4 viewers.

Operatic adaptation

Lorin Maazel, better known as a conductor, has composed the opera, 1984. The libretto is by Tom Meehan, who worked on The Producers, and JD McClatchy, professor of poetry at Yale University. The opera directed by Canadian director Robert Lepage premiered on May 3 2005 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. See science fiction operas.

Big Brother Awards

Each year, the national members and affiliated organizations of Privacy International present the satirical and sarcastic "Big Brother Awards" to the government and private sector organizations that have done the most to threaten personal privacy in their countries. Since 1998, over 40 ceremonies have been held in 16 countries and have given out hundreds of awards to some of the most powerful government agencies, individuals and corporations in those countries.

References in popular culture

References on radio

  • "1985", an episode from the fifth season of The Goon Show where 846 Winston Seagoon is a worker for the Big Brother Corporation (a play on the acronym of the British Broadcasting Corporation). Several times during the episode Eccles exclaims "It's good to be alive, in 1985!", and Room 101 becomes the BBC Listening Room, using recordings such as Mrs. Dale's Diary for torture.
  • Eric Corley's 'handle' (hacker nickname) is Emmanual Goldstein on the radio show "Off the Hook" on WBAI and "Off the Wall" on WUSB. Both shows deal with themes similar to the book. The first issue of his magazine "2600", which he serves as editor, was published in 1984.

References on television

  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode _The_Next_Generation), while Captain Picard is being tortured, he is asked to describe how many lights were displayed. Although there were only four lights, his torturer wanted him to say five. This scene is a reference to Winston's torture experience with O'Brien showing him four fingers and wanting him to answer five.
  • Samsung's Anyband commercial for their Anycall cellphones in Korea. The city is controlled by a Big Brother figurehead that is always watching over its citizens, with the law "No talk, no play, no love."
  • "1984", an Apple Macintosh commercial depicting an Orwellian dystopia, directed by Ridley Scott.
  • "Kremzeek!", an episode of the Transformers, shows a malfunctioning Teletraan I broadcasting, "Choco rations down two grams, doubleplus ungood!" to the confusion of receiving law enforcement authorities.
  • "Treehouse of Horror V", an episode of The Simpsons, in one segment, Homer builds a time machine, alters the past and creates a dystopic future where Ned Flanders is the totalitarian lord of the world. Also, when Bart became Monty Burn's heir, the Simpsons hired someone to kidnap Bart, and 're-program' him. This man did what he was asked and went with Bart to a motel room that had the number '101' on the door. Unfortunately, this man kidnapped Hans Moleman instead.
  • Big Brother, the worldwide reality television show takes its name from the novel.
  • Room 101, a British television programme which takes its name from the novel.
  • The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert screams the words "Do it to Julia!" after he pretends to react to the torture of having skim milk in his coffee.
  • In an episode of the television animated program, Daria, Helen is after a promotion but the only way it can be done is if the entire family are sent away for a weekend to be psychologically assessed - Daria comments: "Gee, look at the time. 1984 already."
  • The Daily Show, After discussing the change in Republican Party Line from "stay the course" to "adapt to win" Jon says "Adapt to win. It has always been our policy to adapt to win." and the words Obey, War is Peace, and Jon's face with applause written under it appear behind him. In another episode, Jon compares Bush and his secret wire tapping program to Big Brother while a giant eye appears on the screen directly behind him.
  • SCTV had a 1984 themed episode presenting "telescreen" programming such as "Doublethink", a game show where proles compete for razor blades and shoelaces, a televangelist-type program about "praising Big Brother", and "Komrade Kangaroo" giving kids tips on how to spy on their parents.
  • In the television series, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Sabrina and Harvey complain because they have to read the novel.
  • Countdown with Keith Olbermann, a news program on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann often quotes from the novel, most recently: "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia." These are usually presented in the "Special Comment" editorial section of the show in reference to current American political debate. Olbermann often refers to the Fox News Channel as the "Ministry of Truth".
  • In an episode of the Cartoon Network program Johnny Bravo, Johnny is sent to the year 2584. During a visit to the futuristic version of his favorite fast food restaurant, an alarm is activated and the customers run into another building. Johnny follows them and discovers a huge television screen. The civilians are watching a show with the intro: "And now, a man who never stops controlling your brains, Big Brother!"
  • In an episode on Are You Being Served?, which is ultimately named Big Brother, Captain Peacock mentions Big Brother to Mr. Rumbold, who was watching everyone from hidden cameras.
  • In an episode of Fairly Oddparents there is a poster that has Vicky's face with the Caption "Vicky is Watching you."
  • "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High", an episode of Family Guy, in which Drew Barrymore's character Mrs. Lockhart was discussing Nineteen Eighty-Four with her English class, satirically claiming, "So basically, what Orwell was saying was, It's not perfect, but I'll take it."

References in popular music

  • Airstrip One which is the name given to Britain in 1984, is the name of a British indie-rock band - directly taken from the book.
  • David Bowie released the album Diamond Dogs (1974), which contains three songs inspired by Orwell's 1984: "We Are the Dead", "1984" and "Big Brother". Bowie originally planned a musical adaptation of Orwell's work as a full-length theatrical production, but the author’s late widow, Sonia Brownell, denied him the rights to the novel. A television special which first aired in late 1973, and which featured musical performances by Bowie as well as a guest appearance by Marianne Faithfull, was jokingly called "The 1980 Floor Show", as a punning reference to Bowie's unsuccessful attempt to obtain the licensing rights for a musical stage adaptation of the Orwell novel earlier that same year.
  • CANO's 1978 album Eclipse contains the song "Bienvenue 1984", which contains references to the novel and George Orwell. The song's lyrics present a dystopian reality of economic failures and ethnic strife.
  • In John Lennon's 1973 quasi-protest song "Only People", he repeatedly sings the line "We don't want no Big Brother scene..."
  • In their song "WWIII", industrial rock band KMFDM declares war on perversions of society. One verse contains the lyric "I declare war on Big Brother."
  • Radiohead's album Hail to the Thief contains the song "2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm)", where not only the title refers to Nineteen Eighty-Four but the first lines of the song seem to be referring to the hopelessness of Winston's struggle:

"Are you such a dreamer
to put the world to rights?"

  • "Karma Police", also a Radiohead song, from the album "OK Computer", references the Thought Police.
  • Living Colour's song Cult of Personality has the lines "I exploit you; still you love me; I tell you one and one makes three". It also includes the line "I'm the smiling face on your TV".
  • The Doors album, Morrison Hotel contains a song titled "The Spy". Some of the lyrics are "I'm a spy in the house of love. I know the word that you long to hear. I know your deepest secret fear... I'm a spy, I can see what you do and I know." These lyrics are reminisent of The Party's spy technology contained in the Ministry of Love.
  • Rick Wakeman, from Yes released the album 1984 in 1981, to lyrics by Tim Rice. This is a concept album directly based on the novel.
  • Subhumans released the album The Day The Country Died in 1982, which appears to be influenced by Nineteen Eighty-Four. One of the songs is called "Big Brother", with lyrics like "There's a TV in my front room and it's screwing up my head", referring to the telescreen of the novel. Much like the novel, the album is largely dystopian, with songs like "Dying World" and "All Gone Dead", the latter of which contains lyrics like "It's 1984 and it's gonna be a war". According to Dick Lucas, the song "Subvert City" is based on the ideas of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley
  • "Nineteen Eighty Bore" is a song from the anarcho-punk band Crass, focusing on the alleged mind numbing affects of television.
  • 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) is the title of an album by Eurythmics, which was originally released in November 1984 as a partial soundtrack for the film adaptation. It contains the following tracks:

(3:28) "I did it just the same"; (3:59) "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)"; (5:05) "For the love of big brother"; (1:22) "Winston's diary"; (6:13) "Greetings from a dead man"; (6:40) "Julia" (4:40) "Doubleplusgood"; (3:48) "Ministry of love"; (3:50) "Room 101".

  • Oingo Boingo released a song called "Wake up (It's 1984)" on their 1983 album Good For Your Soul. Taking heavily from the movie as well as the book, it serves as commentary to current society.
  • Rage Against the Machine released the album called The Battle of Los Angeles in 1999 featuring the track "Testify" containing the phrase "Who Controls the Past Now, Controls the Future, Who controls the Present Now, Controls the Past...", a slogan used by the Party. The entire track "Testify" is arguably an indirect reference to the novel. Also on the same album, the song "Voice of the Voiceless" contains the lyrics "Orwell's hell a terror era coming through, but this little brother is watching you too". The song "Sleep Now in the Fire" states "I'm deep inside your children, they'll betrey you in my name," referencing Winston's neighbor.
  • Bad Religion released the album called The Empire Strikes First in 2004 featuring the track "Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever" with the title of the song being a direct reference to the Nineteen Eighty-Four novel. In the novel, O'Brien suggests the image of a boot stamping on a human face forever as a picture of the future. The song seems to be referring to the hopelessness of rebellion against the Party. The lyrics of the title track also states "You don't need to be afraid, you deserve Two Minutes Hate". The lyric book art style is Orwellian themed. During live shows at the time of the release of "The Empire Strikes First," they used a banner with the words "Two Minutes Hate." In their album Suffer, The song "Part II (The Numbers Game)" makes references to the book, with lines such as "Big Brother schemes to rule the nation" and "The government observes with their own electric eye".
  • Marilyn Manson's album Holy Wood includes a song called "Disposable Teens" in which he sings that he's "a rebel from the waist down". This is a direct reference to Orwell's book, when Winston accuses Julia of being "only a rebel from the waist downwards". Manson referenced 1984 in a much more explicit manner with "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" from the album, Antichrist Superstar. As well as conforming to the description of the "Hate Song" in Orwell's novel, it begins with the lines "we hate love, we love hate" and includes the spoken line of "History was written by the winners". On the same album, Manson introduces the song, "Minute of Decay", with the words "From a dead man, greetings", which is actually a line from the second film adaptation of 1984, not a line from the book, which reads instead as, "From the age of doublethink, greetings".
  • Incubus's album A Crow Left of the Murder includes the song "Talk Show On Mute", about how one day, the television might be watching us instead of us watching them, showing a world where humans are monitored at all times. Among its lyrics is the line

"Come one, come all, into 1984".

  • Manic Street Preachers released the album The Holy Bible in 1994, which contains the song "Faster". At the beginning of the song a voice (John Hurt, sampled from the movie version of 1984) quotes a line from the book, although not word for word: "I hate purity. I hate goodness. I don't want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt." They also had a track called "1985", in which they make various references to the novel, such as "In 1985, Orwell was proved right".
  • Benzene Jag, an obscure punk band formed in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada released a 45 rpm single called "Fuck off 1984" in 1983.
  • Anaal Nathrakh's album Domine Non Es Dignus includes a song called "Do Not Speak" that opens with a sample of "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot, stamping on a human face, for ever." Due to Anaal Nathrakh's lyrics being unpublished, the exact influence of 1984 is unknown. However, the words "pain, frustration, faded memories" are intelligible, and 1984 certainly fits with the apocalyptic, despairing, anti human themes of the band.
  • In the song "George Orwell Must Be Laughing His Ass Off" by Mea Culpa, the second verse begins with "If 2 plus 2 don't equal 5, I guess I'm just no fun".
  • Singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke published a song called "When Two and Two are Five" with Jennifer Kimball (as The Story).
  • The Pet Shop Boys have a song called "One and One Make Five" on their 1993 album Very.
  • The song "The Panama Deception" by Anti-Flag begins with the text "Their two plus two does not equal four. Their two plus two equals whatever they want us to die for".
  • Open Hand released a song called "Newspeak" on their 2005 album You and Me. The song title and lyrics deal heavily with the ideas of newspeak and being thought controlled.
  • The Rare Earth hit single "Hey Big Brother", released in 1971, sings of the future arrival of Big Brother, first addressing this future Big Brother directly and then finishing by expressing a rebellious defiance against his arrival.
  • The Dead Kennedys' 1979 single "California Über Alles" contains the lyrics "Big Bro on white horse is near", and also "Now it is 1984 / Knock knock at your front door / It's the suede-denim secret police / They've come for your uncool niece" in reference to the thought police of the novel. Another reference to the book can be found in the song "We've got a bigger problem now" on the album In god we trust INC. The lyrics "Close your mind/ its time for the two minute warning/ Welcome to 1984 are you ready for the third world war/ You too will meet the secret police".
  • The Dutch synthesizer musician Ed Starink composed and recorded a "Big Brother Suite" in 1983. He remixed that suite in July 1991 in his new digital studio and released it with the album "Retrospection" under his own Star Inc. label. In the liner notes of this album, he explains that "1984" by Orwell inspired him to create a work that was a mixture of the 12-tone system and rhythmical pop influences. The suite contains the following tracks: (8:08) "Big Brother"; (0:52) "Two and two make five"; (4:09) "Minitrue"; (1:25); "Lunatic"; (5:46) "Julia"; (0:41) "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" (3:50); "The Ministry of Love, Including Room 101".
  • The album Vistoron, released in 2004 by Japanese electronic musician Susumu Hirasawa under the name KAKU P-MODEL, contains a track titled "Big Brother". Hirasawa has offered Big Brother as a free download in MP3 file format.
  • Van Halen released the album MCMLXXXIV that year.
  • New Zealand band Shihad start off their debut album Churn in the song "Factory" with the quote "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever".
  • Rock singer Darais Kemp released two songs on his album Sweet Sweet ("Room 101" and "Two Minutes Hate") that explicitly alluded to the novel.
  • Sage Francis references "Big Brotherly love" and declares, "Don’t forget what two plus two equals" in the political song "Hey Bobby".
  • Anti-Flag released a song called "Welcome to 1984", in which the band talks about the book in various ways, such as, "Mr. Orwell from the grave, adding fresh ink to the page" and "The double talk is past surreal". An acoustic version of this song appears on Punk Goes Acoustic 2.
  • German band BAP referred to Orwell and 1984 in their live recording of the song "Ne schöne Jrooß" on their 1983 live album "Bess demnähx": "Leven Orwell, vierunachzig ess noh, ess mittlerweile nur noch een läppsch Johr" (Cologne dialect for "Dear Orwell, '84 is near, meanwhile it's only one more shabby year to go"). In concerts after 1984, they replaced the second verse with "Ess mittlerweile leider vill ze vill wohr" ("Unfortunately, much too much has meanwhile become reality").
  • British Oi! band Combat 84 chose their name based on 1984.
  • The song "1977" by British punk band, the Clash, includes imagery of civil disorder on the streets of London, similar to that described in Orwell's explanation of the Party's rise to power, and a coda that consists of a lyrical count-up from the year 1977 that ends on 1984.
  • The second album, What Will the Neighbours Say? by British band Girls Aloud contained the track "Big Brother" which features the line "Big Brother's watching me and I don't really mind".
  • The 2003 song, "All That's Left," by the band Thrice, includes a chorus with direct reference to 1984. ("A Ghost is all that's left, of everything we swore we never would forget. We tried to bleed the sickness, but we drained our hearts instead. We are, we are the dead.")
  • The song "Freedom" from the 1987 album Raise Your Fist and Yell by Alice Cooper includes the lyrics "You want to rule us with an iron hand, You change the lyrics and become Big Brother."
  • Propagandhi's 1993 album How To Clean Everything features a song titled "Head? Chest? or Foot?", stating "I'd rather be in prison in a George Orwellian world, than your pacified society of happy boys and girls." in the final verse. The band also contributed a song titled "War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom, May All Your Interventions Be Humanitarian" to the Fat Wreck Chords compilation Live Fat, Die Young.
  • The band Antiba recorded a song called "Destroyed Reputation", in which they say, "In Orwell's hell, your soul you'd sell now falling, stalling,"
  • The song "The Machine" by the group Darkwell talks about, "A virtual admission of guilt, confession/Orwell's future tense, libertcidal/the species enslaved, the will is broken/to avert doom - obnoxious."
  • ApologetiX does the song "Look Yourself", which contains the lyric, "As he moves forward it's true George Orwell/The moral of the story is truth's ignored, emotion's most important"
  • The band called Skyclad has recorded a song, which refers to 1985: "We've made tomorrows world - could George Orwell be correct?"
  • Another song, "Into The Fire", by the group Burning Point, says, "Into the Fire You put me through hell/Twisted Desire in the world of Orwell/Total Control of body and mind/...into the fire"
  • Million Dead did a song called "Charlie And The Propaganda Myth Machine", which notes, "And the BFG a propagandist for an unaccountable regime,/Orwell’s vision with a wrinkled face./Hold out the arm and quiet the voice."
  • In their song "Who Makes The Nazis?", the band Fall answers their own question with, "Bad-bias TV/Arena badges/BBC, George Orwell, Burmese police/Who Makes the Nazis?"
  • The group Oi Polloi has a song called "Fuck Everybody That Voted Tory", in which they claim, "Machine gun toting police on our streets/TV cameras watching your every move/George Orwell's '1984' is here and now"
  • The Rutles recorded the parody, albeit fictional, song Please Hold My Hand, that includes the line "I'm not the type of guy who likes to play 'Big Brother'."
  • Our Lady Peace's album Spiritual Machines contained a track entitled "R.K. 1949" where the narrator states, "The year is 1949, George Orwell portrays the chilling world in which computers are used by large bureaucracies to monitor and enslave the population in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four."
  • UK rap artist Jehst makes a number of references to 1984 in his lyrics "2004, its more like 1984 right here right now" and "Its 1984!” in songs with a strong political edge, he also makes reference to "Orwellian Prophecies", Thought Police and Big Brother.
  • The title track on the Supertramp album "Brother Where You Bound" is a 16 and a half minute piece with a definite Orwellian feel to it - including some 1984 passages spoken at the beginning of the piece.
  • Alternative jazz artist Bobby Previte released "Coalition of the Willing" in 2006 with songs such as "The Ministry of Truth", "Airstrip One", "Ministry of Love", "Oceania", "The Inner Party" and "Memory Hole" inspired by 1984.
  • The band Project 86's 2002 album Truthless Heroes contains many lyrical references to 1984, including the line "These thought police coming for me" on the track Know What it Means.
  • Utopia's album Oblivion contained a track entitled "Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw" based on novel main character which includes the line I have found us a place where there's no telescreen and there's no hidden mikes and it's not too unclean.
  • Coldplay's song "Spies" depicts the general society illustrated in 1984 as well as the concept of thoughtcrime (with references to the Thought Police) and lack of freedom. It includes lines such as "I awake to see that no one is free. We're all fugitives, look at the way we live. Down here, I cannot sleep from fear, no. I said, which way do I turn? I forget everything I learn." and "And if we don't hide here, they're going to find us, and if we don't hide now, they're going to catch us when we sleep, and if we don't hide here, they're going to find us." .
  • Cog: Australian progressive rock band Cog use lines from 1984 in their song 1010011010 (666 in binary) referencing room 101.
  • Neil Young in his song 'Living with War' states "I never bow to the laws of the thought police"
  • In "Who Are You?" from the Black Sabbath album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, it has the lyrics, "You're just like Big Brother/giving us your trust/and when you have played enough/you just cast our souls into the dust."
  • The Nine Inch Nails song "Every Day Is Exactly The Same" is about 1984, and makes references to the thought police and Winston's diary. It also speaks about the routineness of the party and being watched. In addition to this, the entire album Year Zero is themed around an alternate future where a very orwellianesque government presides over the people ruling in total autocracy.
  • The music video for '...And They Obey' by Kinesis, starts with a newsreader type figure saying, "And now, it's time for your daily two minutes of hate... enjoy." This is followed by the song itself, which contains numerous political references.
  • Anais Mitchell's song "1984" contains various references to Big Brother, vast files on a person's activities, the house being bugged, a USA Patriot Act and reporting people to the government.
  • The Gothic metal band 2 Minute Hate's name is a reference to Two Minutes Hate.
  • Ex-Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips also released an album called 1984 in 1981, but it was instrumental and a commercial flop.
  • In 1981, The Plasmatics, led by shock rocker Wendy O. Williams, released the album Beyond the Valley of 1984. The album contained the charged track "Pig Is a Pig", a not too subtle reference to her arrest in Milwaukee for her near erotic stage performances (and reported beating by police officers). Her treatment by the police caused her to comment, "This is supposed to be 1981! Not 1984!"
  • "B" Movie on the 1981 album Reflections by Gil Scott-Heron contains the line, "Why wait for 1984, when you can panic now and avoid the rush?"
  • "Room 101" is a song by the UK extreme metal act Carcass, on their album Swansong.
  • The Indie band Jr. Anti-Sex League and the country-bluegrass band Victory Gin both took their names from the novel.
  • The Austin Lounge Lizards' song "1984 Blues" is a stereotypical blues song, in which the singer describes how he "met (his) baby / in the Ministry of Love", how "Big Brother is watching / watching on the telescreen", and how he tells "Mister Thought Policeman" that he "don't wanna do no wrong".
  • On the 1972 Stevie Wonder album Talking Book, there is a track entitled "Big Brother", which opens "Your name is Big Brother./ You say that you're watching me on the telly/ Seeing me go nowhere."
  • The song I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor of Arctic Monkeys mentions "a robot from 1984".
  • The Ozzy Osbourne song, "Rock 'n' Roll Rebel" makes reference to "the ministry of truth", and "the ministry of peace" which are in the novel; it also mentions four ministries that are not in the novel: fear, grace, war, and joy.
  • In the rock opera penned by The Protomen, the phrase "we are the dead" is spoken (or chanted), such as when a mob of rebels is being slain by Dr. Wily's robots.
  • In the inner sleeve of The Strokes' 2003 album Room on Fire bassist Nikolai Fraiture wears a T-shirt that reads "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance in strength", which is a quote from this book.
  • The 1998 album Buy Me, I'll Change Your Life by electronic band Snog is loosely based around the George Orwell classic Nineteen eighty-four
  • In 2007 symphonic rock group Aesma Daeva released the song "Since the Machine" The lyrics included direct quotes from "THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM"
  • In 2005 the indie band Straylight Run released a song called "Big Shot(Hands In The Sky) in a which a line of the song says "You'll get a bullet in the back of the neck" which is a reference to the novel.
  • Reset's song Big Brother refers to the novel saying the government controls the media and makes everyone think the same, and song "Pollution" says "I'm not a walking commercial, my life is not a rehearsal" which may also refer to the novel.
  • The Paul Weller penned song "Standards," performed by The Jam on their 1977 album This Is the Modern World, loosely echoes the themes of the novel culminating in the lyric "Look, you know what happened to Winston!"
  • The song, This is Fucking Ecstasy by the band Say Anything contains lines such as, "The cameras follow me for miles, born a slave in 1984" that come from Orwell's novel.
  • The US Band InnerPartySystem's name comes from the novel and the "Inner Party" of the government in "Nineteen Eighty-Four"
  • The electronic-pop band Epoxies released two songs on their 2005 album 'Stop the Future' that make clear references to 1984, "Struggle Like No Other" having the main lines 'Hush its not safe to talk that terminal could be switched on.'
  • American rapper Nas references Nineteen Eighty-Four in his song Sly Fox: "watch what you say Big Brother is watching"
  • The video for The Pogues' song A Pair of Brown Eyes is set in a Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque Britain, with Margaret Thatcher in place of Big Brother.

References in film

  • 1984 (1984 film) - a British film based on the novel and released in the eponymous year in the United Kingdom. The film is notable for its muted colors, which were produced by a unique film-processing technique specially devised for the movie.
  • Hackers (from 1995) has a character named Emmanuel Goldstein. In one scene, he says "1984? That's a typo. Orwell is here now, livin' large. We have no names, no names, man, we are nameless..."
  • Me and the Big Guy (from 1999) is a comedic short-film that satires the relationship between Winston and Big Brother by portraying its main character, Citizen 43275-B, entirely grateful of the Revolution and treating his telescreen as if it were his own best friend.
  • Equilibrium (from 2002) - starring Christian Bale and resembling Nineteen Eighty-Four. The movie tells the story of "Libria" after being ravaged by the Third World War and therefore suppresses all human feelings in order to stop the outbreak of war again. Cleric Preston (Bale) is the leader of a police force who draw comparison to the Thought Police from the book. Libria is also controlled by the "Father", another comparison to "Big Brother" from the novel.

References in video games

  • In the Sanctuary Woods CD-ROM game "Victor Vector & Yondo: The Cyberplasm Formula", there are references to "Victory Cola" and "Victory Coffee". 1984-themed graffiti can be found in several scenes including "2+2=5" and "doubleplusgood". In addition, one scene features a door marked "101", next to which is the graffiti, "The worst thing in the world". If the player clicks on the doorbell next to the door, it falls off and a rat can be heard squeaking.
  • In the PC game SimCity Societies, the Authoritarian society is slightly based on Nineteen Eighty-Four, with a Ministry of Truth, Justice Palace, and, among other items, gigantic television screens displaying a bald man who has an uncanny resemblance to the Big Brother of the movie based on the novel.
  • Beyond the Sword, the expansion the game Civilization IV, has a scenario that takes place in a world similar to the one described in 1984. Big Brother and Oceania are replaced by Mr. Big and America Inc, Eurasia is replaced by Europa, Eastasia is replaced by the Asian People's Cooperative, and the Southern Empire replaces the War Zones
  • In Mother 3, the main antagonist Porky Minch takes on a Big Brother-like role as the Pig King. He rules over the denizens of the Nowhere Islands and New Pork City through a program of brainwashing and intimidation, as well as projecting an image of a Forever-young Leader, further deepening the similarities
  • In Command & Conquer, Kane can be heard saying "He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past." A slightly altered quote from 1984
  • In Half life 2 the player navigate through a dominated world that show similiraties with Orwell's book. Featuring giant brodcasting screen and omnipresent police.

References in comics

  • An issue of The Mighty World of Marvel featured a variant of Captain Britain from the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four. This version was named Captain Airstrip One (real name George Smith, a combination of George Orwell and Winston Smith) and was a member of the Thought Police.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier is set in Britain after the fall of the Big Brother government. In this version it came to power in 1945 (Orwell had wanted to set 1984 in the present day but was asked not to by his publisher), and fell in 1956. This version does not appear to have been as effective as the novel since only two years later Britain has reverted (for the most part) to its pre-Big Brother state. In this version it is explicitly stated that Big Brother was General Harold Wharton, and that Oceania/ Airstrip One was only in control of Britain and lying about controlling anywhere else. O'Brian replaced BB in 1952 and seems to have remained in power until forced into an election by the revived Conservative party in 1956. Miniluv being actually MI5.
  • In the fourth panel of the May 31rst, 2007 comic for Bob and George, in the fourth panel, upon being trapped in life-drain shields, Mike says, "This is doubleplusungood, isn't it", both a reference to a running line in the comic and the book. The comic is also called Alternatespeak, a reference to newspeak.
  • In Bart Simpson #26's story Spree for all, Jimbo is holding a sign saying: "Big Jimbo is watching you!"

References in books


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