Best Movies by Farr
The Lost Weekend Poster
Released Runtime Category
1945 74 Drama
Director Language
Billy Wilder English
Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry

The Lost Weekend

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What's it About

Struggling writer Don Birnham (Milland) has a nasty drinking problem that worries his girlfriend Helen (Wyman) and his brother, Nick (Terry). Though they are hesitant to leave him alone, Don convinces them to take in a concert without him, promising to do some serious work on a novel. Instead, Don hunts for a hidden stash of booze, finds money, and goes on a hellish, two-day alcoholic binge.

Why we love it

Billy Wilder's searing look at the "problem" of alcoholism was harsh, unpleasant stuff for audiences to swallow in the '40s, but Paramount execs — who nearly shelved "Weekend" over pressure from temperance and liquor lobbyists — were thrilled when it became a huge hit. That's due entirely to Milland's riveting, Oscar-winning portrayal of Don, a man so hysterically self-destructive that he sacrifices his dignity — and others' goodwill — to keep himself in a state of perpetual stupor. Cheery it's not, but "Lost Weekend" is a landmark work, showcasing Wilder at his gut-wrenching best. Wyman also excels in an early role as the long-suffering Helen.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"