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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.

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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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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

The exterior and interior of the Golden Horn were actually Big Ed's bar in downtown Culver City at what was then Washington Blvd and Main Street (across from the Culver Hotel). The bar and hotel were torn down in the late 80s due to fire damage shortly after the film was released, and a parking lot sat in its place until construction on a new office, shopping, and dining structure (dubbed the "Culver Steps") began in 2017. The portions of Washington Blvd and Main St were also replaced with a pedestrian mall, so the area is virtually unrecognizable today...with exception to the still-standing Culver Hotel - saved due to its National Historic Landmark status. See more »

Goofs

Henry calls an ambulance and gives address of apartment building as 334, while in scene earlier that day building is clearly marked 360. See more »

Quotes

Henry: [Voice over] And as my hands drop the last desperate pen, in some cheap room, they will find me there and never know my name, my meaning, nor the treasure of my escape.
See more »


Soundtracks

Leroy's Blues
written by Stefan Grossman & Paul Jones
published by KPM/APM (ASCAP)
courtesy of Associated Production Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bukowski's Only Hollywood Screenplay!
28 June 2005 | by moviefiend69See all my reviews

What can we say about Barfly? A great picture. That's what we can say. A friend of mine recommended Barfly to me. I watched the start and it said "Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live!" After that I was hooked, I knew this guy Bukowski wrote from the gut. I bought as many Bukowski books as possible. Pulp, Hollywood, and Women (my favourite!). I like his novels and short stories more than the poetry. But some of the poems are intense! The movie is also excellent. The two leads are great-Faye Dunaway is in high acting form here. So is Mickey Roarke who seems to have gotten under Bukowski's skin for the role......a side note he did the movie sober! This movie is directed by Barbet Schroeder who also did Reversal of Fortune. He also made the 4 hour Charles Bukowski Tapes (which I own) and it is good, but way too long! Bukowski drinks and reads poems. Back to the film-good supporting actors in this one. The beautiful Alice Krige (from Haunted Summer) is in this as well as David Lynch regular Jack Nance. Lynch was actually on set one day. Bukowski has a funny cameo a barfly in the bar where Mickey meets Faye. I heard that Dennis Hopper wanted to direct this and have Sean Penn star. Schroeder fought hard for it though. Hopper states Schroeder couldn't direct traffic! I guess he proved him wrong. Schroeder went into a production office with a power saw and threatened to cut off his pinky finger if they didn't put more funding into the film. Obviously a labour of love. So check it out if you can, the writing is top notch stuff.......Highly recommended. Thanx.


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