7.2/10
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91 user 68 critic

Barfly (1987)

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2:01 | Trailer
Based on the life of successful poet Charles Bukowski and his exploits in Hollywood during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Director:

Barbet Schroeder
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Barbet Schroeder interviews Bukowski.

Stars: Charles Bukowski, Linda Lee Bukowski, Barbet Schroeder
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... Henry
Faye Dunaway ... Wanda Wilcox
Alice Krige ... Tully
Jack Nance ... Detective
J.C. Quinn ... Jim
Frank Stallone ... Eddie
Sandy Martin ... Janice
Roberta Bassin ... Lilly
Gloria LeRoy Gloria LeRoy ... Grandma Moses
Joe Unger ... Ben
Harry Cohn Harry Cohn ... Rick
Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Joe
Joe Rice Joe Rice ... Old Man in Bar
Julie 'Sunny' Pearson Julie 'Sunny' Pearson ... Hooker in Bar
Donald L. Norden Donald L. Norden ... Man in Alley
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Storyline

Henry Chinaski never cared for the American dream, the thought of needing to become 'something' and fit into the system disgusts him. He believes that life is free and yours to live like you see fit, and if that in some cases involves copious amounts of whiskey then so be it. Henry spends his days drinking and listening to the radio, and he spends his nights drinking and fighting against Eddy who he thinks personifies shallowness and shameless self promoting. Sometimes in the middle of this he finds the time to jot down a few lines of poetry or a short story. After fighting Eddy and winning for a change Henry is thrown out of his regular bar where Eddy is a bartender. This leads him to seek another watering hole where he happens to find Wanda who is a barfly, in her own words "if another man came along with a fifth of whiskey, I'd go with him". Henry is not fazed by this thou and moves in with her. Of course Wanda immediately goes off and sleeps with Eddy, but after some clothes ... Written by Erik Wallen <erik.wallen@bluetie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Szenen eines wüsten Lebens See more »

Filming Locations:

Culver City, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,900, 18 October 1987

Gross USA:

$3,221,568

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,221,568
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alice Krige replaced Helen Hunt in the role Tully Sorenson. Hunt was originally cast but Schroeder felt that the part needed an actress with a little more experience to play opposite Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. See more »

Goofs

When Henry gets out of bed, Tully has terrible bedhead as their conversation starts. When it cuts back to her a second later, her hair has been neatly brushed. See more »

Quotes

Eddie: I'd hate to be you if I were me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Eleven Men Out (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Trio in B Flat, Op. 97 (The Archduke)
written by Ludwig van Beethoven
courtesy of Supraphon Records, Prague
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Mickey Rourke's best performances in a darkly funny film
15 January 2006 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

"Barfly" was a fairly successful film when it was released and garnered generally favorable reviews. Roger Ebert gave it four out of four, and along with "Angel Heart," it helped solidify 1987 as the Year of Mickey Rourke.

However, almost twenty years later it isn't talked so much about anymore, and I feel it deserves to be. Rourke gives one of his finest performances as Henry, a loner who walks hunched over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Henry works at a bar as a runner - delivering orders and such. But he's always getting into drunken brawls with the bartender, usually losing.

One day Henry's life takes a turn when he meets a downtrodden woman (Faye Dunaway) and they embark on a relationship.

"Barfly" is a great film. Rourke was vocal later on in his career about his dislike of director Barbet Schroeder, but Schroeder's direction is part of what makes this film so good.

However, the absolute best aspect of the movie is Rourke's performance. Embodying the late writer Charles Bukowski (whose work this was based upon, and who had a brief cameo in the film), Rourke is unrecognizable - like Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade," his entire demeanor and physicality seems to change.

I highly recommend "Barfly" - it's funny, dark, witty, touching and downright enjoyable. One of the best films of the '80s.


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