New York Times - 09/30/1987
"...Some kind of small, classic, one-of-a-kind comedy....A big, broad, mesmerizing performance by [Rourke]..."
New York Times - 12/27/1987
Included in the New York Times "10 Best Films of 1987"
Variety - 05/13/1987
"...Bukowski's dialog is punctuated with wry philosophical comments on life....[Rourke's] performance is the centerpiece of the film, and keeps it buoyantly alive throughout..."
Film Comment - 07/01/1987
"...Faye Dunaway drops by with her beauty, humor, and screen smarts....She convinces and captivates. The smile is undiminished, the energy unflagging, the attention to detail unfailing....Faye is still a class act..."
Los Angeles Times - 11/05/1987
"...[A] dark, wry, toughly tender movie....BARFLY is beautifully written, acted and directed..."
Based on a semiautobiographical short story by poet and screenwriter Charles Bukowksi and directed by Barbet Schroeder, BARFLY offers insight into the world of the alcoholic, where all that matters is the next drink. Henry Chinaski (Mickey Rourke) is a talented writer of prolific prose; unfortunately, he's also a skid-row alcoholic with a violent temper. He picks fights nightly with Eddie (Frank Stallone), the bartender at the local watering hole the Golden Horn and lives in a seedy tenement, stealing food and trying to scrape together enough money for booze. Fellow alcoholic Willa Wilcox (Faye Dunaway) catches Henry's eye at the bar one afternoon, and although she has a reputation for being unstable, the two embark on a relationship with each other and the bottle. Their liaison is full of drama, humor, and irrational behavior; it is put to the test when Henry meets Tully (Alice Krige), a rich, privileged literary editor who wants to publish his stories and save him from himself. The film features exceptional performances from Rourke and Dunaway as they portray the highs and lows that are part and parcel of alcoholism--as well as love.
Writer Charles Bukowski's autobiographical account follows the besotted adventures of skid-row writer Henry (Mickey Rourke) who begins a turbulent yet caring romance with fellow barfly Wanda (Faye Dunaway). Their rocky relationship is threatened when a literary editor (Alice Krige) buys one of Henry's stories and tries to get to know the troubled, intriguing man better, in this engrossing character study by Barbet Schroeder (REVERSAL OF FORTUNE).
Black Comedy |
Classic Fight Scenes |
Love Triangle |
Substance Abuse |
Theatrical release: December 1987.
It took seven years before Barbet Schroeder was able to make BARFLY. In the meantime, he videotaped screenwriter Charles Bukowski and released the material as video interviews.
Schroeder signed a contract with Bukowski promising not to change any of the script without Bukowski's permission.