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The War of the Roses (1989)

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

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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 December 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Rosenkrieg  »

Box Office

Gross:

$83,699,711 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Billing: Michael Douglas (1st), Kathleen Turner (2nd) and Danny DeVito (3rd). See more »

Goofs

When Barbara runs over Oliver's sport car in their yard, a ramp cover with grass is visible. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Supernatural: Shut Up, Dr. Phil (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
HE is HER victim
16 October 2002 | by (Vienna, Austria) – See all my reviews

A classic feature of Danny DeVito's (far too few) works as a director is that they are utterly evil. Cruel. Wicked. Merciless to their characters and merciless to the viewer. Although this is often combined with slight exaggeration, it is exactly what I love about them.

After seeing The War of the Roses the second time after having grown a little older, I still feel that particular satisfaction. But this time, there are a few more things I think about, a few more questions I ask myself. For instance: who is the bad guy in the film? Who is `to blame'? And although it's clear that the Roses both have extremely unmoveable and stubborn characters, which partly leads to the catastrophe, I came to the conclusion that Barbara is the driving force of the whole divorce story. She announces her wish to divorce upon grounds that are not quite convincing. Maybe people who do not like Michael Douglas can sympathize with her but her reasons are not fair. She invariably follows her instinct without paying any respect to other people. Kathleen Turner portrays her most believably in this insufferable phase.

Oliver Rose, on the other hand, is one of those people who are proud of doing everything in a perfectly correct manner. He is therefore very sensitive and easily confronted if one doesn't acknowledge his correct behavior. He then becomes completely helpless and unable to react properly. That makes him an ideal `victim' to Barbara's striking egoism.

I'm mentioning this only because it is a new aspect I found during second viewing, and I am sure it was also DeVito's intention to develop characters like this, so for him, the turbulent divorce story is not just a parable on how stupid people are in general. He of course reserved the best role in the film for himself – he is the wise man who tells the parable and who emerges victorious in the end.

The War of the Roses with its merciless cruelness remains one of my favourite comedies of all time.


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