Charles Bukowski, the talented crown prince of self-abuse, wrote the short stories upon which the surprisingly entertaining Barfly was based. The film concentrates on alcoholic writer Mickey Rourke (the Bukowski alter ego) who carries on a hate-hate relationship with bartender Frank Stallone. Rourke makes the acquaintance of another of society's castaways, Faye Dunaway, who in addition to being a souse is said to be crazy. They move in together, even though Dunaway all but promises to be unfaithful for the price of a drink. Rourke has a chance to clean up his act when offered a large commission for his writings by publisher Alice Krige. They too end up in bed, each trying to change the other. The clarion call of the cheap wine bottle overrides Rourke's half-hearted efforts to enter the mainstream. Watch for author Charles Bukowski, as well as Fritz "Pop!" Feld and Vance Colvig (who's made a career out of playing street people) in Barfly bit parts. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
not everyone will appreciate this movie. Its writing is brilliant. The movie is about an author that is a talented writer, but also an alcoholic.. just a very outstanding movie. The drinking gets excessive and old, but the movie's point is that some artists simply don't have their lives together, and yet somehow they still remain artistic geniuses. Above all, the dialogue is brilliant, as is the acting.
I've watched this movie a number of times, and I think it's an absolute classic... up there with Streetcar Named Desire, and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. There's nothing like taking a stroll into the boom boom room of life. If you like Charles Bukowski you'll drink deep from Barfly. Mikey Roark and the stress goddess, Faye Dunaway, are brilliant together. FAYE: "Do you hate people?... I hate people. MICKEY: "Noooo... I don't hate people.... (pause)... but I do seem to feel better when they're not around.?" That line alone is worth the price of the rental.
Not as good as Bukowski's books, but then, when does a movie EVER equal the paper version? Rourke and Dunaway do a good job of playing the boozing Bukowski and his lady friend. Dunaway has great legs too. For better insight into the writing/making of Barfly, read Bukowski's "Hollywood." Actually, I would recommend reading the book first and then seeing the movie. I think you'll appreciate it much more.