I am teaching 1984 in my Senior English classes. I have not watched the 1984 version of 1984 and need to know if it is appropriate for classroom use. These are struggling readers and my intent is to give them a visual reference for some of the ideas and setting.
I also would suggest using a film like 1984 in excerpt form to help visualize the characters or the setting rather than showing the film. Show those excerpts at strategic points in the reading process that anticipate stumbling blocks to student understanding. The drawback to showing an entire film adaptation to struggling readers before introducing the novel might make them think they have "done" a book like 1984.
I would suggest taking short passages from 1984 that describe key elements (characters, setting) with a high level of descriptive detail and have students create storyboards that would translate those words into frame by frame images similar to seeing them in a movie. Have students work in groups allowing them to discuss the selected passage before working on an approach to the storyboard. You could then show how that passage was treated in the film and have students discuss their versions with the filmmaker's interpretation.
This really depends on the school's policy. The movie is rated R and does have scenes containing full frontal nudity. However, I used it in my Senior AP Literature class because my school was understanding of the artistic potrayals of nudity. I also used Schindler's List which also has scenes of nudity and horrific violence. In 1984 the concept of freedom is used in these moments of nudity to show the free nature that existed between Winston and Julia. It is not without its purpose.
However, my students were mature enough to understand this and grasp the artistic meaning in these scenes. I would suggest using clips from the movie to give the studens a visual component, but not showing the scenes that might end with a misunderstanding by a student who then returns home and misrepresents the lesson to a parent.