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The 50 Most Disturbing Movies

46. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

For the dozen or so people out there who have yet to see Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, it can be easily described as a bleak look at a dystopian future where free will is controlled by the government and ultra-violence is a way of life for the street kids of London.

Kubrick’s masterful blend of shocking violence and unrepressed sexuality caused Clockwork to get an X rating when it hit the States. And Kubrick himself even withdrew the film from theaters in Britain after fears that people were committing copycat crimes linked to the movie. The ban was lifted after his death in 1999.

But it’s not even in the abject violence or multiple rape scenes where the film is truly disturbing; it’s one scene in particular that really lands it on this list. When the main character of Alex is brought into a government center to retool his violent personality, he is strapped to a chair and forced to watch video after video of repulsively savage footage until the mere thought of violence makes him physically ill. While doing this, his eyelids are forced open by metallic clamps, exposing his eyes to every second of film.

It’s a gut-wrenching scene that is made even more disturbing once you realize that actor Malcolm McDowell actually had to physically endure the same torture as his character just to get the shot right.

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