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The Stanley Kubrick film Steven Spielberg called the first "punk rock" movie


Whilst director Steven Spielberg is responsible for some of cinema’s most revolutionary moments, from the appearance of the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park to the ingenious subtlety of the girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List, he is also a filmmaker who works very much within the boundaries of Hollywood cinema. Inspiring the likes of J.J. Abrams, Edgar Wright, and David Fincher among many others, Spielberg’s immense impact on the landscape of cinema would help it to transition the medium into the 21st century marked by vast technological innovations. 

Often leaving the screenplays of his films to a bevvy of different budding writers, it is rare that Steven Spielberg takes full creative control over his projects. Although each of his films may contain a certain emotional, whimsical tone, the director is far from an auteur, quietly drawing inspiration from cinema history to blend in with each of his stories. 

This should not detract at all from Spielberg’s success, however, as whilst Spielberg may not display the experimental styles and techniques of the likes of David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky, he has certainly helped to sculpt the landscape of modern cinema. 

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Heavily influenced by the great Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg was astonished by his 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, a film the director would describe radically as “the first punk rock movie ever made” in an interview with the American Film Institute. As the director behind Raiders Of The Lost Ark creator explains: “It was a very bleak vision of a dangerous future where young people are free to roam the streets without any kind of parental exception. They break into homes and assault and rape people, the subject matter was dangerous but Kubrick had a kind of twinkle in his eye”. 

Picking out the particular scene in which Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his gang of ‘droogs’ violently attack a man whilst listening to Gene Kelly’s ‘Singing In The Rain’, Spielberg described the moment as “the most horrifying things I think I’ve ever witnessed”.

Concluding, the director adds, “That was audacious and I think very dangerous at the time. When you look at the movie right now, unfortunately, history has caught up to the movie and the headlines we now live with everyday in our lives are not dissimilar to the subject matter of the 1970s film A Clockwork Orange”. 

A huge admirer of the iconic director, Steven Spielberg noted 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange as two of his favourite Stanley Kubrick films.

Take a look at the original interview between Spielberg and the American Film Institute in the link below. 

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