V for Vendetta is a 2005 dystopian political action film directed by James McTeigue from a screenplay by the Wachowskis. It is based on the 1988 DC Comics limited series of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The film is set in an alternative future where a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist totalitarian regime has subjugated the United Kingdom.
Produced by Silver Pictures, Virtual Studios and Anarchos Productions Inc., V for Vendetta was originally scheduled for release by Warner Bros. Pictures on 4 November 2005 (a day before the 400th Guy Fawkes Night), but was delayed; it instead opened in the United States on 17 March 2006 to mostly positive reviews from critics and was a box office success. However, Alan Moore, having been dissatisfied with the film adaptations of his other works, From Hell (2001) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), declined to watch the film and asked to not be credited or paid royalties.
V for Vendetta has been seen by many political groups as an allegory of oppression by government; anarchists have used it to promote their beliefs. David Lloyd stated: “The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.
Following global war and terrorism, the world is in turmoil. The United States is fractured as a result of a second civil war and a pandemic of the “St. Mary’s Virus” is ravaging continental Europe. The United Kingdom is ruled as a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist police state by the Norsefire Party, helmed by all-powerful High Chancellor Adam Sutler. Political opponents, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, atheists, homosexuals, and other “undesirables” are imprisoned and executed.
On November 4, a vigilante in a Guy Fawkes mask, “V,” rescues Evey Hammond, an employee of state-run British Television Network (BTN), from members of the “Fingermen” secret police. After the stroke of midnight, they watch his demolition of the Old Bailey, accompanied by fireworks and the “1812 Overture”. Inspector Finch of Scotland Yard investigates V’s activities. V hijacks a BTN broadcast to claim responsibility for the destruction, encouraging the people of Britain to rebel against their government and meet him on next year’s Guy Fawkes Night outside the Houses of Parliament. The police attempt to capture V. Evey helps him escape but is knocked unconscious.