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Barfly (1987)

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


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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gloria LeRoy ...
Harry Cohn ...
Joe Rice ...
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 <erik.wallen@bluetie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bar | whiskey | drinking | visit | money | See All (154) »


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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,900, 18 October 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


There is no original score for this film. The film's soundtrack was mostly based on original source music specially selected by Associate Producer and Music Supervisor Jack Baran, with the exception of a few classical pieces selected by actor Mickey Rourke. 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: [to his own bloody face as reflected in the bathroom mirror] Nothing but the dripping sink. Empty bottle. Euphoria. Youth fenced in, stabbed and shaved. Taut words propped up to die
See more »


Referenced in I Drink, I Gamble and I Write: The Making of Barfly (2002) See more »


Hair Street
By John Lurie
Published by Barking Lady Music (BMI)
Performed by The Lounge Lizards
Courtesy of Island Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Film!
29 August 2002 | by See all my reviews

This has to be one my favorite movies. I found it very entertaining and fun, which is odd, considering the subject matter. The movie chronicles the misadventures of two talented, yet hopeless drunks. The dialog is snappy and the direction is wonderful. Mickey Rourke gives the film world a glimpse of just how great he could have been. Moreover, Dunaway shows why she will always be considered one of the top female leads of all time. **** out of ****

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