1984 is a 1956 British black-and-white science fiction film, based on the 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, depicting a totalitarian future of a dystopian society. This is the first film adaptation of the story, directed by Michael Anderson and starring Edmond O’Brien as protagonist Winston Smith, and featuring Donald Pleasence, Jan Sterling, and Michael Redgrave.
A voice-over narrator explains that in the mid-1950s, a nuclear war and devastation of Earth gave rise to three superstates: Oceania, Eurasia, and East Asia. By 1984, London, with its bomb-proof ministry, is designated as the capital of Airstrip One, a province of Oceania, controlled by one all-powerful Party, embodied by the figurehead Big Brother.
In the spring of 1984, Winston Smith, a member of the elite Outer Party, encounters Julia, a woman he suspects may be a member of the Thought Police. Winston returns to his apartment, where an electronic surveillance eye examines the contents of his briefcase. Smuggling a small black diary past the eye, Winston begins to write down the subversive thoughts he fears to say aloud. Winston’s reverie is interrupted when Selina Parsons, a little girl who lives next door, enters his apartment to practice denouncing him as a traitor. Robert Parsons, Selina’s father, invites Winston to join him for a drink at the local Chestnut Tree café.
Like the earlier film adaption of Animal Farm, 1984 was secretly funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.