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The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies

3. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Patrick Magee, Carl Duering

We say this with the utmost admiration for Stanley Kubrick's seminal A Clockwork Orange: It's quite possibly the best watch-while-stoned movie ever made.

To be a bit more serious, A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick's daring salute to free will, even if it's with malicious intent. Malcolm McDowell's character, a gang leader named Alex who rapes and steals for sheer kicks, undergoes a radical reconditioning experiment that alters his internal reflexes; after the procedure, the smallest urge to do bad leaves him feeling sick and unable to defend himself against all of the vengeful folks he wronged prior to his personality transformation.

Set in an oddball future where people drop intricate slang in British accents and old women collect giant penis statues, Kubrick's dizzying adaptation of the classic Anthony Burgess novel is a movie that no other director, living or dead, could've made. The music, all loopy synthesizers and echoing bass, keeps the viewer on edge; the casualness of its violence, such as a vicious rape set to McDowell's a capella rendition of "Singin' In The Rain," defies good taste; and the stylistic touches, particularly a three-way sex scene that's sped up to a ludicrous speed, as if someone's finger is glued to the fast-forward button, are downright strange.

As funny as it is disturbing, A Clockwork Orange is a movie that somehow feels fresh and dangerous with each new viewing.

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