Downtrodden writer Henry (Mickey Rourke) and distressed goddess Wanda (Faye Dunaway) aren't exactly husband and wife: they're wedded to their bar stools. But they like each other's company - and 'Barfly' captures their gid... more »dy, din-soaked attempts to make a go of life on the skids.« less
"Barbet Schroeder had long wanted to bring Bukowski to the screen, and finally found his vehicle in "Barfly," based on a screenplay he commissioned from Bukowski, who wrote a very amusing book, "Hollywood," on the making of the film, which is a must read for anyone who wants to gain a full appreciation for the movie.Rourke was not Bukowski's first choice. Afterall, Rourke is an East Coast type, but he managed to fit himself to the role in fine gusto, taking on the persona of Bukowski in his early years in LA. Bukowski considered Faye Dunaway one of the last big-time Hollywood actresses, and speaks of her affectionately throughout his book. Bukowski didn't know what to make of Schroeder, who seemed to be singularly obsessed with Bukowski's life and times, to the point of trying to live it to capture the full essence of LA's skid row. Bukowski himself was enjoying a measure of success by this point, driving a BMW, an enjoying the finer things in life.The film moves along at a brisk pace, bringing together a motley assortment of characters with Rourke playing his role to the hilt. Dunaway is first class as his punch drunk love. This is Rourke at his smarmiest best, take him or leave him, as one would Bukowski, who isn't everyone's bottle of muscatel."
Introduction to Bukowski
Mark Begley | Fresno, CA USA | 12/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was my introduction to Bukowski. Back in 1987 I was an 18 year-old suburbanite on the verge of college and, without knowing it, many great discoveries. This would be one of the most enduring. I went to see it because I had loved Rourke in ANGEL HEART. I had no idea what to expect, I had never read Bukowski and only knew the name from a couple of songs that mentioned him. Rourke was absolutely fantastic in the film...I'd never seen a charcter like this (and haven't since). But what hit me was the writing--the script--how the life of down-and-outers could be so compelling and human and humorous. These bums weren't to be pitied, laughed at, or condemned. Wow. Since no bookstores in Fresno sold Bukowski I had to check out his books at the CSUF library, and thank God they had them all. POST OFFICE was the first, and I immediately saw the same wild humor from BARFLY. I've been hooked ever since, and to this day anxiously await each new Buk book. I also wish someone would turn either POST OFFICE, WOMEN, or HAM ON RYE into a movie. Paul Verhoeven had supposedly started shooting WOMEN back in the early '90s. What happened. Taylor Hackford has never filmed PO, which he owns the film rights to. Bits of HAM ON RYE are in the Belgian film LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL (CRAZY LOVE). Someone out there in tinseltown has got to be able to do Buk justice and not let BARFLY be the only worthwhile bit of filmdom attributed to him (forget about the utterly disappointing TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS, Gazzara is awful, and the script is filled with pomposity that would make Buk himself puke). Until then watch and rewatch BARFLY as often as you can."
To All My Friends!!! - Hail to the Great Charles Bukowski
F. Schwarcz | 01/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is profoundly entertaining. Pick up and read some of the great Bukowski novels (Ham On Rye, Post Office, Factotum, and more), short stories (Tales of Ordinary Madness, South of No North), and books of poetry (Love Is A Dog From Hell, Play The Piano Drunk Like A Percussion Instrument Until The Fingers Begin To Bleed A Bit) and you will get a glimpse into the darkest depths of the supremely talented and tormented Charles Bukowski. This film is filled with so many quotable lines and is the only film of its kind. Mickey Rourke plays a wonderful Henry Chinaski and Faye Dunaway is brilliant. Pay attention to when Henry spots Wanda from across the bar. In that scene, when they pan across the bar, the old man tilting back a bottle of Budweiser is none other than the actual Charles Bukowski himself. For fans of Bukowski, this is a must see. For those of you who don't know him, read his stuff before and after you see this film and you will potentially find yourself turned on to one of the greatest poets and writers of the 20th century."
One of My Favorite Movies
brikindawall | San Mateo, CA United States | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first caught Barfly on Late Night Television about 12 years ago and instantly fell in love with it. I had been looking for a cheap used Uncut VHS copy of this for awhile and just couldn't come across one. So I just purchased The DVD version. I am glad I did. Nothing like watching an older Film without the VHS wear lines and squiggles. Back to Barfly, it stars Mickey Rourke in a powerhouse role as Henry Chinaski a mostly drunk modern day poet disenfranchised by life. Faye Dunaway does an awesome job as Crazy Wanda Wilcox, Henry's love interest and self styled drunk herself . Barfly contains an excellent cast, even Frank Stallone shows up in a great role as Eddie the Bartender. Barfly contains many lines that once you hear them they will be burned into your conciousness forever. ("To All My Friends"). Barfly Blows away Leaving Las Vegas and puts Nicholas Cage to shame. I can't believe no Oscar Nominations were handed out for this Film. Barbet Scroeder directed a true masterpiece. Writen by Charles Bukowski and Loosely based on his life, and I say loosely. The DVD version has some extras which include a piece on the making of Barfly. You can't go wrong with owning this picture perfect un-cut version of Barfly."
Ted | Nova Scotia, Canada | 07/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoy(ed) this movie. In fact I don't treat it as a movie at all, I treat it like one of my favorite CDs. I put it in while I'm preparing a meal and it gently brings me into another world. So I guess what I like about it is the realism of the characters, as far as the 9 or 10 major actors go its absolutely perfect. I think I've watched it about 30 times."