The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.


Billy Wilder


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





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


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 way or the other. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »


Drama | Film-Noir


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Billy Wilder claimed the liquor industry offered Paramount $5 million to not release the film; he also suggested that he would have accepted, had they offered it to him. See more »


Before the bartender pulls the towel to the side in order to eat, it's already changed position between camera angles. See more »


[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.
See more »


Referenced in Splendor (1989) See more »


(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Played on piano and sung by Harry Barris at Harry and Joe's
See more »

User Reviews

"I'm not a drinker; I'm a drunk."
11 July 2016 | by elvircorhodzicSee all my reviews

LOST WEEKEND is a film about the state of life of any man. In general, every life is full of ups and downs. Alcoholism, as a kind of escape from his own life is more than stable. Lack of self-confidence, poverty and lack of understanding are just some factors with which the main character struggles. Alcohol is a deadly rescue. The story is quite realistic and morbid. The main protagonist is a split personality. We get to know him through the illustration of a drunk and writer in the attempt. I have to admit that this movie at first viewing fascinating.

I have to admit that the minor characters have been pretty naive. I have the impression that the main protagonist and bottles of alcohol tell a story, while minor characters just go and get lost. Practically everything is told in a couple of days where we can see how a man touches a human and moral bottom. Unwritten parts of the novel through flashbacks working perfectly

Ray Milland as Don Birnam is simply brilliant. He revealed the ugly nature of man, through the degradation of life, weakness and shame.

Jane Wyman as Helen St. James had the demanding role of loyal girls. In this case, love knows no boundaries. The lack of emotion is so obvious and I her character can not imagine as a kind of salvation or the voice of reason.

Other characters are "stations" on the road to environmental ruin. Caring and exemplary brother who miraculously evaporate at the beginning of the film. Ironic and gritty bartender, sadistic medic or girl in love at the bar.

Lost Weekend is a very honest and disturbing drama. The musical score perfectly corresponded to the theme of the film. I must say that I am not satisfied with the contrived happy ending. The main protagonist in 5 minutes free his life of suffering. It's all in the decision, but the decision came suddenly and utterly illogical.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 168 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

January 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lost Weekend See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed