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The Lost Weekend (1945)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  16 November 1945 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 23,067 users  
Reviews: 131 user | 91 critic

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



(from the novel by), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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


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 way or the other. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How daring can the screen dare to be? No adult man or woman can risk missing the startling frankness of The Lost Weekend! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 November 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Días sin huella  »

Box Office


$1,250,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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


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 »


Referenced in Splendor (1989) See more »


(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Played on piano and sung by Harry Barris at Harry and Joe's
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Risk-Taking Film-Making at Its Finest.
7 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Uncompromising, dark and definitely disturbing Best Picture Oscar winner from 1945 that deals with a writer's (Ray Milland in one of the very best performances ever shown on the silver which deservedly landed him his only Oscar) alcoholism and the effects that his problem has on himself, his work and those closest to him. The love of his life (Jane Wyman) and his very supportive brother (Phillip Terry) try to save Milland from a habit that has gotten terribly out-of-hand. Heart-wrenching flashbacks into Milland's demise are sometimes difficult sequences to get through. In the end it is not a sure thing if Milland can distance himself from his disease and return to a normal life. Billy Wilder's uncompromising direction and screenplay yielded him Oscars in this film that scared many studios away in the early-1940s due to its intense subject matter and the question of whether the film could create interest. Made during a time when patriotic movies and romantic comedic farces dominated the cinema, "The Lost Weekend" was truly unlike anything ever experienced before. A very well-made production that is first class all the way. A real classic in every sense of the term. 5 stars out of 5.

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