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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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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

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

The picture is considered to be a "black comedy". The film is, according to Mike D'Angelo at the 'AV Club' website, "one of the darkest comedies ever financed by a major studio". See more »

Goofs

During the dinner party scene, Oliver and Barbara are in the kitchen. After Oliver says, "You're not equipped to, honey", there is a close-up on Barbara in which a roll of paper towels is visible on the wall. Then there is a cut to a wider shot, and the length of towel hanging from the roll has changed. 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 ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Hollywood's Fear of Love (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Only You (And You Alone)
Written by Buck Ram and Ande Rand
Performed by The Platters
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects a division of
PolyGram Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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