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:

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

Katharine Hepburn was offered the role of Helen St. James. She was interested, but had to turn it down in order to star in Without Love (1945). See more »

Goofs

When Don & Helen's parents are sitting back to back the hotel lobby and he's listening to them, the shadow/light on his face changes sides between the front and back 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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Connections

Referenced in Almost Perfect: The Lost Weekend: Part 1 (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Stole My Gal
(1918) (uncredited)
Written by Leo Wood
Played on piano and sung by Harry Barris at Harry and Joe's, with modified lyrics ("Somebody Stole the Purse")
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User Reviews

 
This is on my list of 50 best of all time....
28 December 2003 | by wisewebwomanSee all my reviews

The script and score are superb and the acting flawless. Ray Milland is riveting in the role of a man who is as consumed by alcohol as it is consuming him. He lives and breathes for it and all around him become secondary including his long suffering girlfriend.

There is always a girl like this in the life of a good looking useless purposeless alcoholic kept afloat by either a wife or other family member, in this case a brother who pays the bills and tries to sober him up and dry him out periodically.

The score is relentless and highly avant Gard for its time, featuring music normally backing sci-fi flicks. Some of the scenes are profoundly frightening, his stay in the drunk tank with a sadistic feminine male nurse outlining all the horrors that await him and his DTs which feature a bat biting the head off a bird.

Very well done. I felt the ending was a little too pat, that would be my only fault with this.

9 out of 10. Excellent.


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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)
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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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