In the future, an oppressive government maintains control of public opinion by outlawing literature and maintaining a group of enforcers known as firemen to perform the necessary book burnings.
This is the premise of Ray Bradbury's acclaimed science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451, which became the source material for French director François Truffaut's English-language debut.
While some liberties are taken with the description of the world, the narrative remains the same, as fireman Montag (Oskar Werner) begins to question the morality of his vocation. Curious about the world of books, he soon falls in love with a beautiful young member of a pro-literature underground -- and with literature itself.
Critics were divided on the effectiveness of the result; some praised the unique design and eerie color cinematography by Nicolas Roeg, while others found the film's stylized approach overly distancing and attacked the central performances as unnatural.
In any case, however, the film inarguably succeeds in making Truffaut's reverence for the written word abundantly clear, especially during the film's justifiably famous finale.