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The War of the Roses (1989)

R | | Comedy | 8 December 1989 (USA)
A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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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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...
...
...
...
Josh at 17
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Carolyn at 17
...
Harry Thurmont
...
Jason Larrabee
...
Gloria Cromwell ...
Mrs. Marshall
Harlan Arnold ...
Mr. Dell
Mary Fogarty ...
Mrs. Dell
Rika Hofmann ...
Elke
Patricia Allison ...
Maureen
...
Elderly Mourner
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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

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

Opening Weekend:

$9,488,794 (USA) (10 December 1989)

Gross:

$86,888,546 (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

In 1953, Alfred Newman composed and recorded the 20th Century Fox Fanfare "with Cinemascope extension". In 1989, his son, David Newman re-recorded the fanfare for "The War of the Roses" in order to have the last note of the fanfare segue seamlessly into the first note of the opening titles music. See more »

Goofs

When Oliver and Barbara are eating dinner, the cutlery which Barbara is holding changes hands depending on the angle of the shot. 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 White Collar: Pulling Strings (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Traditional
Arranged by Sam Pottle
Performed by Sesame Street Cast
Courtesy of Children's Television Workshop
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It walks a very fine line between love and hate.
9 May 2001 | by (Sauk City, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

Danny DeVito's "War of the Roses" is a sharp and wickedly funny satire that looks deeply into married life and oh, yes that dreadful word - "divorce" is included, too.

Michael Douglas ("Traffic", "Wonder Boys"), Kathleen Turner ("The Virgin Suicides"), and director DeVito himself star here in the tale where the peaceful lives of a married couple, Oliver and Barbara Rose (Douglas and Turner) has begun to get nasty and downright brutal. Why is this happening you might ask? Simple. The war begins when in their divorce proceedings, Oliver and Barbara desperately want to get the house in their settlement. Unforturnately, they "both" get the house and try to avoid coming into contact (verbal or physical) with each other, which makes the situation worse.

DeVito, who is the film's onscreen narrator and plays Gavin, a close friend of Oliver's, tries to be careful here in how to handle the ongoing spat that Rose gets into. He has made an intelligent movie here in letting the film take a very fine line between love and hate. Also, there a few hilarious scenes where Douglas adds a special flavor to a pot of cooking fish that Turner was going to serve a small group of guests and how the house becomes a warzone that's rigged with some unexpected surprises. Plus, the DeVito character defines the legal battle as "a love story".

The performances are great and the photography by Stephen H. Burum ("The Untouchables") is stylish and marvellous. This film was adapted from the novel written by Warren Adler.


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