The War of the Roses (1989)

R  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  8 December 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 35,686 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 95 user | 45 critic | 17 from

A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Donat ...
Gloria Cromwell ...
Harlan Arnold ...
Mary Fogarty ...
Rika Hofmann ...
Patricia Allison ...
Peter Brocco ...


The Roses, Barbara and Oliver, live happily as a married couple. Then she starts to wonder what life would be like without Oliver, and likes what she sees. Both want to stay in the house, and so they begin a campaign to force each other to leave. In the middle of the fighting is D'Amato, the divorce lawyer. He gets to see how far both will go to get rid of the other, and boy do they go far.. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie.


Comedy | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 December 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Rosenkrieg  »

Box Office


$83,699,711 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The second feature film directed by Danny DeVito which was made and released about two years after his first which was 1987's Throw Momma from the Train (1987). See more »


When Oliver and Barbara are eating dinner, the cutlery which Barbara is holding changes hands depending on the angle of the shot. See more »


[first lines]
Gavin: [Gavin is talking to a client] You have some valid reasons for wanting a divorce.
[blows his nose with a handkerchief]
Gavin: Excuse me. My sinuses are very sensitive to irritants.
[sprays nasal decongestant up his nostrils]
Gavin: In the past five months, I think I've breathed freely with both sides working maybe a week total.
[pulls a cigarette out of a pack]
Gavin: I gotta cut this out. It's gonna kill me.
[lights his cigarette]
Gavin: I hadn't smoked for thirteen years. I kept the last cigarette from my last ...
See more »


Referenced in Designing Women: The Big Desk: Part 2 (1991) See more »


Pretty Lady, Lovely Lady
Written by Nicky Addeo
Performed by Nicky Addeo
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A comedy about contempt
30 March 2011 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

A middle-aged affluent couple hit marital problems and start fighting over the ownership of their mansion. This leads to increasing levels of antagonism and borderline sociopathic behaviour.

The War of the Roses is very 80's, very loud and kind of fun. If you want a subtle study of marital breakdown then seek it somewhere else because this most certainly is not it. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner play the warring couple. We follow their story from their first meeting, through the happy early days to the outright marital war that constitutes the end of their relationship. Douglas and Turner are basically let loose on this film to chew the scenery and go cartoonishly over-the-top. And for the most part it's a great deal of fun seeing them do this, as both are very capable actors who can play mildly deranged very convincingly. I felt, however, that the film lost a bit of steam in its final section. As the pair went increasingly berserk in their antics, the film lost me a bit. Having said that, it is a funny film at times and it's quite a bit of fun watching both principal actors going hell for leather. It's probably a film that people going through a divorce can relate to best. It most probably will give them a few ideas.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Not A Comedy` dondi_v
Why do people think that all conflicts among couples are like this? heidegg-1
Did part of her still love him? jcloud28
Is it me or has it improved with age? stuffic
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Waste of Time !!! harry_potter_fan62
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