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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


1984 (1984)

WINSTON SMITH (John Hurt) writes in his secret diary: Freedom is the freedom to say “two plus two equals four”. If that is granted, all else follows.

O’BRIEN (Richard Burton) is torturing Winston: Do you remember writing in your diary ‘two plus two equals four’?.

After reprogramming, O’Brien holds up four fingers, and Winston says, truthfully, that he believes there are five fingers.

At the end of the movie we see Winston, broken and believing, writing in the dust of a table: