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The Lost Weekend (1945)

 -  Drama  -  16 November 1945 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 20,106 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 79 critic

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout.

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(from the novel by), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Lost Weekend (1945)

The Lost Weekend (1945) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Phillip Terry ...
Howard Da Silva ...
Nat
...
...
'Bim' Nolan
Mary Young ...
Mrs. Deveridge
Anita Sharp-Bolster ...
Mrs. Foley (as Anita Bolster)
Lillian Fontaine ...
Mrs. St. James (as Lilian Fontaine)
Frank Orth ...
Opera Cloak Room Attendant
Lewis L. Russell ...
Mr. St. James
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Storyline

Don Birnam, long-time alcoholic, has been "on the wagon" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen, he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events, all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last...one way or the other. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

weekend | alcoholic | drink | writer | drinking | See more »

Taglines:

The screen dares to open the strange and savage pages of a shocking bestseller! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lost Weekend  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Studio advisers warned Ray Milland that this would be the death of his career. Milland himself was initially reluctant to take the part, as it had been turned down by many other leading actors of the day. However, Paramount was convinced that the only way they could sell such a film was with a matinée idol in the lead. Billy Wilder acquiesced to this only when it became clear that his first choice, José Ferrer, would not land the part. See more »

Goofs

Don places the bottle on the right side of the ceiling lamp and later retrieves it from the left side. See more »

Quotes

Don Birnam: Are you in the phone book?
Helen St. James: Yes, but I'm not home very much.
Don Birnam: Well, I'll call you at your office.
Helen St. James: Editorial Research. If Henry Luce answers, hang up.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

It Was So Beautiful (and You Were Mine)
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Barris
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Played on piano and sung by Harry Barris at Harry and Joe's
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
more than just a simple "message" movie, Wilder tries to make addiction as human a crisis as possible
25 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although in some respects some of the conditions and dialog from the Lost Weekend have become dated, the performances and the ideas behind it- plus the heightened style of it- make it work many years down the line. Oscar winning director Billy Wilder makes Don Birnem's struggle something that is unmistakable, especially if you've been around these kinds of people. Most of us have seen the drunk at the end of the bar with grandiose ideas and romanticized visions amid that need (nevermind enjoyment) of the booze. But the film is successful if only because it makes this obsession with the flailing writer Don as his major internal conflict, and that it goes deeper to something that is in many of us, even if we don't drink.

Basically, Don wants to get off alcohol so he can write his great book. Despite some advice from the "friendly enemy" (as I would call one) local bartender, and the girl Gloria, there is little hope for him it seems. He goes on a four-day bender, looking frantically all over the apartment when it's not in easy reach. This all leads up to going clean, which involves a truly paranoid-filmed sequence by Wilder (one of his very best).

It is almost all harrowing drama, and only in the minute moments when Don is completely unsympathetic does the film lose some of its momentum. But really, the film is as much about the psychology of this man, of the writer in desperation (though never wanting to admit it), and Ray Milland's performance (at least for the time) was daring enough to show as much as could be shown at the time. The film probes just enough into the subject matter to not become very preachy (I don't think Wilder's message is to never drink ever as much as one of keeping control of one's life and system), and at the core is just entertaining drama.


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