Winston Smith (John Hurt) lives under a totalitarian regime in which he works to rewrite history in order to fit the needs of the government which is run by the Party and a figurehead known as Big Brother. Winston is a criminal according to the government because he harbors thoughts against the regime and Big Brother. One day, he meets a young woman Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) who shares his subversive beliefs. The pair embark on a sexual affair which is a crime. Winston then encounters an upper level member of the Party named O'Brien (Richard Burton) who claims that he is a member of a resistance group against the Party, and he wants Winston and Julia to join the resistance.