7.9/10
33,034
165 user 116 critic

The Lost Weekend (1945)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir | January 1946 (USA)
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2:08 | Trailer
The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Charles R. Jackson (from the novel by), Charles Brackett (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ray Milland ... Don Birnam
Jane Wyman ... Helen St. James
Phillip Terry ... Wick Birnam
Howard Da Silva ... Nat
Doris Dowling ... Gloria
Frank Faylen ... 'Bim' Nolan
Mary Young ... Mrs. Deveridge
Anita Sharp-Bolster ... Mrs. Foley (as Anita Bolster)
Lilian Fontaine Lilian Fontaine ... Mrs. St. James
Frank Orth ... Opera Cloak Room Attendant
Lewis L. Russell Lewis L. Russell ... Mr. St. James
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Storyline

Don Birnam, long-time alcoholic, has been "on the wagon" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen, he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events, all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last...one way or the other. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How daring can the screen dare to be? No adult man or woman can risk missing the startling frankness of The Lost Weekend! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare for the part, Ray Milland spent one night in Bellevue Hospital as a patient. He also stopped eating as much, as most alcoholics forget to do so. See more »

Goofs

Don removes from his typewriter the title page for his novel "The Bottle" and crumples it up. Near the end of the movie, Helen hands it to him as a flat, crisp piece of paper. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Wick Birnem: You better take this along, Don. It's gonna be cold on the farm.
Don Birnam: Okay.
Wick Birnem: How many shirts are you taking?
Don Birnam: Three.
Wick Birnem: I'm taking five.
Don Birnam: Five?
Wick Birnem: Yeah, I told them at the office I might not be back until Tuesday. We'll get there this afternoon. That'll give us all Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. We'll make it a long, wonderful weekend!
Don Birnam: It sounds long all right.
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Connections

Referenced in The Wonder Years: The Lost Weekend (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

La Traviata
(1853) (uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Libiamo ne' lieti calici (Drinking Song) Performed by John Garris and Theodora Lynch with The San Francisco Opera Company
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User Reviews

Powerful landmark film on alcoholism has lost none of its status...Ray Milland deserved his Oscar...
16 April 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

I take exception to previous comments that call the film "daring for its time" or "dated". It's still a very powerful film and there is nothing dated about the theme of a man who loses his soul to the bottle. It was a landmark film in its time and still is--there is no question about its holding power and the excellence of writing, acting and direction. Yes, even by today's standards! It outclasses more recent films dealing with alcoholism as it focuses on one man's problem with the bottle--a problem that affects all of the people whose lives he touches--particularly his loyal girlfriend (Jane Wyman in one of her best roles) and Philip Terry as his more conventional brother. The emotions are stark and real. The pity we feel for Milland's character is also mixed with disgust for his weakness. It's an accurate depiction of an alcoholic's struggle for the next fix--a never ending search for the next bottle. The pseudo-babble of a previous commentator attempts to inject disdain for the film as outdated and outclassed by more serious works. Nonsense! This was a stark and powerful film in 1945 and I have news for you--it is just as powerful and timely today! No other American film comes close to it. It is as searing an indictment of alcoholism as you are ever likely to see and Milland fully deserved his Oscar.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lost Weekend See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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