7.9/10
33,709
165 user 124 critic

The Lost Weekend (1945)

Passed | | Drama, Film-Noir | January 1946 (USA)
Trailer
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 »
Reviews
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:

THE BLAZING...VIVID PAGES OF AMERICA'S SENSATIONAL BEST SELLER! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Midway Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - August 30, 1946 - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Milland actually checked himself into Bellevue Hospital with the help of resident doctors, in order to experience the horror of a drunk ward. Milland was given an iron bed and locked inside the "booze tank." That night, a new arrival came into the ward screaming, an entrance which ignited the whole ward into hysteria. With the ward falling into bedlam, a robed and barefooted Milland escaped while the door was ajar and slipped out onto 34th Street where he tried to hail a cab. When a suspicious cop spotted him, Milland tried to explain, but the cop didn't believe him, especially after he noticed the Bellevue insignia on his robe. The actor was dragged back to Bellevue where it took him a half-hour to explain his situation to the authorities before he was finally released. See more »

Goofs

When the waiter gives him the check at Harry & Joe's and he reaches for it, the glass, ashtray, napkin and cigarette all change position between camera shots. 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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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

Risk-Taking Film-Making at Its Finest.
7 July 2002 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

Uncompromising, dark and definitely disturbing Best Picture Oscar winner from 1945 that deals with a writer's (Ray Milland in one of the very best performances ever shown on the silver which deservedly landed him his only Oscar) alcoholism and the effects that his problem has on himself, his work and those closest to him. The love of his life (Jane Wyman) and his very supportive brother (Phillip Terry) try to save Milland from a habit that has gotten terribly out-of-hand. Heart-wrenching flashbacks into Milland's demise are sometimes difficult sequences to get through. In the end it is not a sure thing if Milland can distance himself from his disease and return to a normal life. Billy Wilder's uncompromising direction and screenplay yielded him Oscars in this film that scared many studios away in the early-1940s due to its intense subject matter and the question of whether the film could create interest. Made during a time when patriotic movies and romantic comedic farces dominated the cinema, "The Lost Weekend" was truly unlike anything ever experienced before. A very well-made production that is first class all the way. A real classic in every sense of the term. 5 stars out of 5.


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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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