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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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Poet/lecturer Charles Serking awakens from his alcoholic haze long enough to take a bus back to L.A. and plunge into an orgy of drink and sexual depravity.

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Stars: Ben Gazzara, Ornella Muti, Susan Tyrrell
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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 movie's "screenplay [was] commissioned in 1979" according to the Turner Classic Movies website. This was around eight years prior to the picture being made and released. 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

Henry: You know, in the guest house, you could write in peace.
Tully: Hey, Tully baby, nobody who could write worth a damn could ever write in peace, Jesus.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Muchachada nui: Episode #4.5 (2010) 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

 
A fitting tribute to anyone who goes to any bar.
27 November 2002 | by mhasheiderSee all my reviews

Tender and surprisingly straight to the heart romantic-comedy that features Mickey Rourke (in one of his best roles) as Henry, a partially hump-backed middle-aged man is proud to be a part-time poet and full-time drunk who finds himself in a short-time, drawn to a fellow alcoholic, Wanda (Faye Dunaway) and a civilized publisher, Tully (Alice Krige).

Director Barbet Schroeder patiencely takes the movie, which is based on the work and maybe, life of not-so-sober poet Charles Bukowski, and transforms it into a meaningful movie. Even the bar where Henry normally hangs out at, "The Golden Horn", has the same dreary, smoke-filled atmosphere that you'd find at any tavern, bar, or pub. A fitting tribute to anyone who goes to any bar.

That part of the movie that works wonders is the camera work of Robby Muller ("To Live and Die in L.A.", "Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai"), that captures the typical scene in a bar. You don't have to look too close to see the conversations and arguements.

"Barfly" is a different movie and it's worth watching on a rainy day or on the weekend.


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