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Barfly (1987)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  16 October 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 13,408 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 56 critic

Based on the life of successful poet Charles Bukowski and his exploits in Hollywood during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.


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Title: Barfly (1987)

Barfly (1987) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
J.C. Quinn ...
Gloria LeRoy ...
Harry Cohn ...
Joe Rice ...
Old Man in Bar
Julie 'Sunny' Pearson ...
Hooker in Bar
Donald L. Norden ...
Man in Alley


Henry Chinaski never cared for the American dream, the thought of needing to become 'something' and fit into the system disgusts him. He believes that life is free and yours to live like you see fit, and if that in some cases involves copious amounts of whiskey then so be it. Henry spends his days drinking and listening to the radio, and he spends his nights drinking and fighting against Eddy who he thinks personifies shallowness and shameless self promoting. Sometimes in the middle of this he finds the time to jot down a few lines of poetry or a short story. After fighting Eddy and winning for a change Henry is thrown out of his regular bar where Eddy is a bartender. This leads him to seek another watering hole where he happens to find Wanda who is a barfly, in her own words "if another man came along with a fifth of whiskey, I'd go with him". Henry is not fazed by this thou and moves in with her. Of course Wanda immediately goes off and sleeps with Eddy, but after some clothes ... Written by Erik Wallen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bar | whiskey | radio | bartender | fight | See All (69) »


Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bar kelebegi  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)


$3,221,568 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Star Mickey Rourke is billed only as Henry and not by his full character name of Henry Chinaski in the closing credits. See more »


When Henry gets out of bed, Tully has terrible bedhead as their conversation starts. When it cuts back to her a second later, her hair has been neatly brushed. See more »


Henry: I remember ordering a draught, barkeep. What, are you out of brew, or has that lobotomy finally taken hold?
See more »


Referenced in Snakes on a Train (2006) See more »


Silver Threads Among the Gold
Music by H.P. Danks and lyrics by Eben E. Rexford
Arranged by Lou Ukelson
Published by Jimmy Skinner Music (BMI)
Performed by Shot Jackson and Friends
Courtesy of Vetoo Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Bukowski's Only Hollywood Screenplay!
28 June 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

What can we say about Barfly? A great picture. That's what we can say. A friend of mine recommended Barfly to me. I watched the start and it said "Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live!" After that I was hooked, I knew this guy Bukowski wrote from the gut. I bought as many Bukowski books as possible. Pulp, Hollywood, and Women (my favourite!). I like his novels and short stories more than the poetry. But some of the poems are intense! The movie is also excellent. The two leads are great-Faye Dunaway is in high acting form here. So is Mickey Roarke who seems to have gotten under Bukowski's skin for the role......a side note he did the movie sober! This movie is directed by Barbet Schroeder who also did Reversal of Fortune. He also made the 4 hour Charles Bukowski Tapes (which I own) and it is good, but way too long! Bukowski drinks and reads poems. Back to the film-good supporting actors in this one. The beautiful Alice Krige (from Haunted Summer) is in this as well as David Lynch regular Jack Nance. Lynch was actually on set one day. Bukowski has a funny cameo a barfly in the bar where Mickey meets Faye. I heard that Dennis Hopper wanted to direct this and have Sean Penn star. Schroeder fought hard for it though. Hopper states Schroeder couldn't direct traffic! I guess he proved him wrong. Schroeder went into a production office with a power saw and threatened to cut off his pinky finger if they didn't put more funding into the film. Obviously a labour of love. So check it out if you can, the writing is top notch stuff.......Highly recommended. Thanx.

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