Movie Review: Fahrenheit 451

FahrenheitThumbby Brad Nelson
I really do love books. I wouldn’t burn one even by Al Franken. I’d put it front and center in my library (if someone donated it to me) to remind people not only of the diversity of opinions out there, but how many of them are truly stupid.

But that is a judgment I am free to make. I don’t want and don’t need a nanny state deciding what I can and can’t read, if I can or cannot smoke, if I can or cannot drive a car, where I can live, what I can eat, who I must hire, what I must pay, where I must get healthcare, etc. This was the heart and black soul of the old Soviet Union and remains the fantasy of all statists, Communists, socialist, “Progressives” and other Utopian central planners. And defines much of where the dystopian United States is right now.

In Fahrenheit 451, they burn many books and the state attempts to brainwash and control its citizens. And I chuckled at the big screen that Montag’s wife was fascinated with. She spend much of the day in front of it. She lived her dull, narrow life soaking up state-run propaganda in the form of entertainment (shades of people staring into their iPhone or who think MSNBC is the news).

She was becoming a shell of a person, which can happen to any of us under such regimes. We start apologizing for them and adopting the ways of squelching. It’s chilling to see how, for our own good, of course, the state steps in to decide not only what we can read but if we can read at all. And reading is outlawed entirely in the world of Fahrenheit 451.

You watch a movie such as this and see how far already the nanny-state Democrats have pushed things while the wimpy and weak Republicans stand by and do nothing. They live in fear of having an opinion lest such an opinion hurt their image with the New York Times.

And the very funny thing is you have so-called “enlightened” or progressive people defending this intrusion into our lives. That’s the beauty of reading and understanding Orwell, and I do recommend his Animal Farm above all of his other works. You might just forget how much of the reality now resembles the world of what used to be fiction.

Books such as Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World, and movies such as Fahrenheit 451, Brazil, and even Soylent Green are such great things to immerse your head in every once in a while. It makes you realize how many of the elements from these Big Brother dystopias have come to pass. I hope one or more intrepid readers will list those way. But if you are honest with yourself, you go along with most of them without thinking, which is the way the state likes it.

One arguably need only study the actual and recent history of leftwing China and the Soviet Union to understand most of what needs to be understood about these statist, oppressive societies that purport to bring a better life by ordering things to the nth degree according to those on high who claim they know best.

One need not look for for this nonsense. Simply observe what has come out of the mouth of Obama just yesterday. I heard that he said that raising the debt ceiling had nothing to do with raising the debt. We are living in Orwellian times. We don’t have to go to a book or movie for Doublespeak. Just turn on the TV.

But art itself can often very succinctly make the point that is otherwise difficult even for a slew of history books. But if you are not found of reading, you can just listen to Harry Reid or Obama. They are walking, talking Orwellian nightmares. And this Orwellian nonsense has become so pervasive, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s not according to 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 that I live my life. I live it more with the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers in mind.

fahrenheit451photoA large portion of the people out there walking among us are basically mind-numbered robots of the Left, their free wills and brains having been swapped out for Leftist nonsense. It’s all they know. It’s all that they’ve been taught. And it doesn’t matter where you go. You can go to National Review and find plenty of them. You can find them wherever you go. It’s not about a disagreement over philosophy or some fine point of the law. It’s about living in an entirely Orwellian pseudo-reality of a mind formed by state propaganda and/or the needs of the Party.

So although simply turning on the TV and watching the Orwellian garbage coming out of the mouth of Obama’s is to steep oneself in Newspeak, sometimes there’s nothing like watching a movie such as Fahrenheit 451 to really gain an appreciate for how bizarre things have become. And if you’re one of the pod people, there’s no need to tell me. I already know. I can tell by the way you sit in front of the big screen.

As to the movie itself, it’s a very entertaining and chilling movie filled with fine performances. And if you can’t see Michelle Obama’s face on that big screen telling us all to drink more water  then you are likely one of the pod people. Please keep your distance. But I can’t rate this movie too highly because it’s been so duplicated in our own society in many ways (hard and soft) it’s as if the copyright on it has been forcibly removed. It no longer belongs to itself. But if it did, I’d give it 3.2 badly-used fire engines out of 5.


Available on DVD ($11.46 new, $4.29 used), DVD Widescreen ($97.95 new, $7.88 used), or Instant Video ($2.99 or 3.99 HD) from Not available for streaming on Netflix.

Available at ($16.98 hardback, $7.90 paperback, $7.50 Kindle).

The Wikipedia entry for Fahrenheit 415.


Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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2 Responses to Movie Review: Fahrenheit 451

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    This is certainly a very fine movie, and also largely follows the original book by Ray Bradbury (who dealt with similar themes, most especially the lose of literary culture, in several short stories). There are some interesting differences, such as the fact that Clarisse McClellan in the book is a small girl who gets run over fairly early in the book. Also of interest is that when Montag escapes to the book people, he has no book with him, but has already memorized some portions of the Bible. It’s not hard to see why Hollywood would change that even back in the 1960s or so. Also worth mentioning is that in the original book, when Montag’s commander explains the origin of the rejection of books, he gives as an example the way blacks respond to “Little Black Sambo”.
    Another interesting feature of the book is that Montag’s first experiment at reading a forbidden book is a joint affair; he and his wife open up what proves to be a copy of Gulliver’s Travels in which the travails of the Big-Endians in Lilliput is mentioned. Naturally, such a line, read out of context in the middle of a book, would be hard to understand (particularly for people who don’t know the history behind it).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You make me want to read Gulliver’s Travels. I just got done with Chesterton’s bio of St. Francis so I’m looking for another book anyway. G.K. has a book on eugenics I might pick up next. Thanks for the further interesting info on 451.

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