7.3/10
16,951
88 user 65 critic

Barfly (1987)

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2:04 | 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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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:

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

Charles Bukowski wanted Sean Penn to star as protagonist Henry Chinaski, but Penn insisted that Dennis Hopper direct the film. Later, Hopper directed Penn in Colors (1988) without Hopper acting in it; then Penn would around three years later direct Hopper in The Indian Runner (1991) which Penn doesn't act in. Bukowski had written the Barfly (1987) screenplay for Barbet Schroeder, who had filmed him for French TV years before, and would not surrender it to Hopper, whom he despised as a gold-chain wearing Hollywood phony. Bukowski and Penn became friends for the rest of his life. 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

Wanda: I can't stand people, I hate them.
Henry: Oh yeah?
Wanda: Do you hate them?
Henry: No, but I seem to feel better when they're not around.
See more »


Soundtracks

Poem of Ecstasy
By Alexander Scriabin
Courtesy of Supraphon Records, Prague
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not your typical Golan-Globus production
25 April 2000 | by JohnSealSee all my reviews

Barfly is a rarity in American cinema: a character study that doesn't worry about telling a story with a beginning, middle, and explosive end. Mickey Rourke is excellent as Henry Chinaski, a writer and habitue of skid row who isn't so much slumming as soaking in it. The real surprise here is Faye Dunaway as his love interest: it's easily her best performance since Chinatown and proves she still has it. Also of note is Frank Stallone as Eddie, the barman who keeps getting into one sided fist fights with Henry. A triumph and one of the best American films of the eighties.


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