Harrison Bergeron – The Most Frightening Movie You Likely Have Never Heard Of — 38 Comments

    • Correction made! This is what happens when you type at bout 100 WPM and think at about 200! Thanks for the catch.

    • Thanks for posting this. The last time I read this was in 6th grade english class and I remember thinking, “Why did they all just go along with it?”. Sadly, time and observation have made the answer obvious.

      • Consider they didn’t go along with it, in the end they demanded it. Think about that.

        • The British also ‘demanded it’. But for the opposition to around 3% in taxes, our founding fathers actually stood up to them, as everyone should continue to do so against oppression. But I am addressing the chior.

        • That 3% also established themselves as the new elite in the new nation which was the plan all along.

  1. There’s another version of this (unfortunately now pay walled):

    Both are pretty amazing.

    The masks by the way are to ‘correct’ inequality of appearance (can’t have anyone beautiful running around and damaging peoples self-esteem!).

    This version is also available on Amazon:

  2. Hey Jack…

    For those of your listener’s who are so inclined, they can search torrentz dot eu to find it.

  3. Hi Jack,

    I never heard of this film. But after some digging around I found out it was a made-for-TV film, NOT a theatrical release. And according to (see the link below in my post here), it was aired here in the USA once and ONLY once, back on Sunday, August 13, 1995. (I regret to say I cannot discern which TV network produced it.) Suffice to say, not too many people watch TV movies in August here in the USA–they’re all at the beach! (And Sunday night is not exactly a prime night for watching dark sci-fi films. That’s more of a Disney family night.) So it got one puny little broadcast, and then pretty much nothing else. It’s also noteworthy that back then in 1995, there was little or no after-market of videotape sales and rentals for made-for-TV films, and virtually no cable companies would have picked it up back then to play as a rerun. So it played here in the USA just once, during August of all times, then got buried and forgotten about for decades. does say the film was later screened at a mid-level film festival in Spain in 2003. Also, it seems it got some play-time in Europe (Germany, France, and Greece) but I have no idea if those European broadcasts might have been the broadcast graveyard of late-night.

    This year, 2015, it is enjoying its 20-year anniversary of its original broadcast (August of 2015), so perhaps that is why it’s resurfacing –that and the eerie correlation between the film’s predictions and current events.

    Yes, the actors you named are all awesome, including Sean Astin who plays the title role. I haven’t watched it yet, but with your endorsement, I will check it out.

    –Oil Lady

    • I think you are intertwining versions of it. This was made by Showtime, it was on quite a bit the year it was made. It was also in almost every DVD rental store for a few years, then it disappeared.

    • I see the confusion now Oil Lady, the release date of film on TV is just that, the first time it aired. Again like all things Showtime, Cinemax, HBO, etc. it aired many times.

  4. There’s a program called YTD Video Downloader that will pull the movie right off of YouTube for you – but beware, it likes to install additional crap without asking. Nothing too malicious, just browser homepage/search bar switchers – Malwarebytes run after the YTD installation will clean it all up.

  5. Glad you posted this because I had forgotten that it was mentioned in an earlier podcast. I use to read a crap load of Vonnegut, but somehow I missed this one. I know I’ll end up watching this tonight before going to bed and probably won’t sleep a wink.

  6. You also mentioned you were going to include in the show notes some video on YouTube about six separate songs by some singer all played simultaneously. I didn’t see a link to the vid. Or am I just blind? ?

  7. Wow! What a crazy movie that is so right on target. I think today another variable that I would call ‘the band’ used to control population is the immunizations that government is slowly trying to force onto every citizen at a younger and younger age. Think about it for a minute. At a time when we have more resources to live cleaner and healthier than every before, we are subjected to more intense immunization requirements. The human body is slowly being more forced to NOT develop and fight off anything like it should do by nature.

  8. This is indeed a chilling movie and amazingly prophetic. I watched it last year and don’t think I could watch it again (we’re living it). Very disturbing.

  9. If you insert the letters “ss” in front of the word youtube in a Youtube link it’ll redirect you to a site where you can download different formats of the video. Using Jack’s link as an example, insert “ss” in front of the word youtube like this: You can also save audio only if you like. The site redirects to

  10. The ‘great recession’ in 2018 reminded me of the intro to the 1987 movie, “The Running Man.” How about this: “By 2017 the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources, and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into military zones, rules with an iron hand. Television is controlled by the state…All art, music and communications are censored. No dissent is tolerated…” It’s a Schwarzenegger action flick, but its setting has similarities to where we are now and what we may be headed to. “The Running Man” is particularly interesting in how the powers-that-be use technology to create ‘news’ to be fed to the public to control it. I have to wonder if it’s just a coincidence that both movies made fairly accurate predictions about this country. I don’t know…

  11. Great find Jack. Never would have found this otherwise.

    There was one line towards the end that was tough to distinguish, so I’ll let people know what it was.
    After the climax, Klaxon says “she’s pregnant”. It’s a little tough to pick up, and had to replay it several times. Happens around 1:34:40.

  12. Even though it was dubbed. I don’t think the education is to far off. My grandson was home schooled for about 2 years then they relocated to a small town in AL. He tested high honors and because they weren’t part of the town, the principal said they don’t have an honor system. He graduated 2nd in his class even though his english teacher wouldn’t accept his paper that was an hour late. He lost several points which put him in second place. One reason I believe is because he has proven several people wrong in the school. His father is a gospel preacher at a Church of Christ and is also very outspoken. They don’t play in the town’s or schools buddy system.

  13. My wife and I watched this movie last night. I didn’t tell her where I heard about it until later. Her comment was, “What year isnthis from, 1985? Wow, this is on the money!”

  14. Great movie.
    The Old Man made a very big mistake. If he had told Harrison about the child things would have gone the Old Mans way possibly.

    Where their is life their is HOPE. Harrison’s whole world was basically nuked. All he saw was the mushroom cloud of destruction. Like in the Matrix once he saw the Truth he refused to live in that other world. He realized his death was the only way to eventually wake the future generations up. Since his death would be a Major extreme instead of the “Safe Middle ground” that was on the air. Basically an alarm clock some people wake up immediately while others take a few minutes to wake up.

    In the movie at the end did you see how willing both boys were to removing the bands. Neither said anything about it like it was bad or wrong.

    We Humans Must NEVER denounce what we are. This is what makes us Human. We ALL must accept that we have failings like greed, envy, lust , aggression, and hate, but we must temper and use those failings with our strengths HOPE, FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, AND FAMILY through common blood or chosen association.

    In a few books I have read, their is a warning about denying what we are and not finding a constructive way to channel our goodness and our evil. Like in the book series Man-Kzin wars by Larry Niven and The Peace Warrior series by Steven L. Hawk. In the first book series we were lucky to not be conquered by aliens and in the second series we were conquered by the aliens. All because we denied our darker side. If we deny our good side WE will destroy ourselves we don’t need an outside force to do it, but if we deny our “Darker Side” not evil just dark We leave ourselves weak against an outside aggressor that maybe an alien from outer space. Who knows its possible. I believe if WE can harness BOTH the Darkness and the Light in US, I truly believe WE can Shake the Heavens. If their is other intelligent life in the Universe They WILL know we can be fair, but mess with US and We’ll give them a beat down they will NEVER forget.
    Balance and Control is the key.

  15. The short story “Harrison Bergeron” was required reading and discussion for freshmen college students for years. It was recognized to be a landmark piece as significant as Orwell’s 1984.

    • Was that before the colleges became part of the System? You take the Governments money (loans) you get co-opted.

        • I guess no one is going to snap to this?

          So why do you guys think I am not such a fan of the story or the newer movie (2081) compared to the 1995 movie?

          The movie is more accurate to what control in a society looks like. The 2081 movie and the story are so dark, so dismal that said academics don’t see the same shit happening TO THEM while they read the damn book.

          In any well run tyranny the majority falsely believe themselves to be free!

    • Sad commentary that in 1985 we looked at 1984 as a cautionary tale. By 2015 many see it as an instruction guide.

  16. Very good movie. I can see why it was never really promoted. It is a thought provoker…what “if” a lot of it is true…alas…just like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a ‘tootsie pop’…the world may never know. Manipulation, by the gov’t….or “whatever”…is a reality, though…and that manipulation needs to be exposed. I think many of us realize it, but…what to do about it…might be the problem.

  17. I listened to the episode today at work and shared the bit where you talked about it with a friend. I just got done watching it and I am now searching for a DVD. I will settle for the VHS if I have to. I never used a DVD/VCR combo but this movie is worth the expense of buying one simply to get a DVD hard copy of this movie. I also just linked the youtube video to facebook and encouraged all to watch it.

    Im 38, when I was young, I spent a lot of time in the public library and the school library. I remember having read a story that sounded just as you were describing this. I had missed your opening and had to relisten to get that this was based on a short story. I read that short story. Thanks to someone here who posted a link to the text, Im about to read it again.

    Thank you so much for this!