One of the first things that will strike anyone watching A Clockwork Orange today is how thoroughly modern it looks. If not for the presence of the youthful face of established thespian Malcolm McDowell, one could be forgiven the assumption that the movie was made far more recently than 1971. Unlike many of its contemporaries, A Clockwork Orange is in no way dated, and the issues it addresses are as urgent today as they were three decades ago. How many other films from the early '70s can make this statement?
Part of the reason for the movie's contemporary look is Kubrick's forward-thinking philosophy of film making. From Lolita onwards, the director pushed the envelope. (In fact, one could argue that he did it before the 1962 film - overtly homosexual scenes from Spartacus were cut at the studio's insistence.) While human nature may not have changed since 1971, motion picture standards have. There is copious nudity, sex, and violence in A Clockwork Orange. And, while the sex is not pornographic and the violence is not explicit, they were pervasive enough to initially earn the movie an X rating. Today, the saltier elements of A Clockwork Orange fall into the mainstream of the MPAA's R category (and the film has since been re-classified as such).