Stanley Kubrick was born and raised in New York City. He died of a heart attack in his sleep in 1999 in Harpenden, England.

Although Kubrick was ethnically Jewish, when asked if he had a religious upbringing, he responded “No, not at all.” His upbringing was quite secular, and he didn’t even have a Bar Mitzvah.1

Kubrick always had an interest in religious concepts including the concept of god, and the possibility of an afterlife even though he did not believe in any monotheistic religions, and never adhered to any specific church. On the topic of God he had this to say:

I’d be very surprised if the universe wasn’t full of an intelligence of an order that to us would seem God-like. I find it very exciting to have a semi-logical belief that there’s a great deal to the universe we don’t understand, and that there is an intelligence of an incredible magnitude outside the Earth. It’s something I’ve become more and more interested in. I find it a very exciting and satisfying hope.2

Although there are rumors that he was atheist, it’s hard to believe that a man who was willing to accept god, or at least a concept of god in some form or another, could be an atheist. But the quote above would indicate something between the lines of Agnosticism and Deism.

As far as an afterlife, Kubrick was at least hopeful for any life after this one. Kubrick appealed to the hope of immortal spirits and said “It would be nice” if there were ghosts.3

Kubrick had commented on his film The Shining, and said:

 …anything that says there’s anything after death is ultimately an optimistic story.4

Wait… The Shining is… happy!?

Strangelove Government

Kubrick seemed to have a deep distrust in the government. Although he favored capitalism and was extremely distrustful of socialism–even the watered-down version of Britain’s (his adopted country) Labour Party, which he opposed5 –he was critical of both sides of the political spectrum. Kubrick didn’t agree with man’s desire to proclaim himself as “a noble savage.” He would recall:

Man isn’t a noble savage, he’s an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I’m interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it’s a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.6

In Kubrick’s film, A Clockwork Orange, we can clearly see his criticism of political extremes in society. He commented:

The idea that social restraints are all bad is based on a utopian and unrealistic vision of man.7

In one interpretation of this film, we can say that Kubrick attempts to illustrate social institutions gone a bit berserk–that when a society is faced with a law-and-order problem of this magnitude, it might go a bit berserk. And in the end, we see two social extremes: a criminal in a pre-civilized state, and a society committing a worse evil in attempting to cure him.

Kubrick was outspoken, and his political and religious views were indeed difficult to categorize. His films, however, reveal a man deeply connected to something beyond himself–be it something spiritual or human.

This article was written by C. Lenz and sourced and posted by Tom Kershaw.

  1. Stanley Kubrick. The Bronx Times. []
  2. Stanley Kubrick. Celebrity Atheist List. []
  3. Stanley Kubrick. Celebrity Atheist List. []
  4. Stanley Kubrick. Jew or Not Jew. []
  5. Plumbing Stanley Kubrick. Visual-Memory. []
  6. The Hechinger Debacle. The Kubrick Site. []
  7. Kubrick’s Psychopaths. Gordon Banks. []