The Lost Weekend
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Billy Wilder's searing portrait of an alcoholic features an Oscar-winning performance by Ray Milland as Don Birnam, a writer whose lust for booze consumes his career, his life, and his loves. The story begins as Don and his brother Wick (Philip Terry) are packing their bags in their New York apartment, preparing for a weekend in the country. Philip, aware of his brother's drinking problem, is keeping an eye of him, making sure he doesn't sneak a drink before the departure of their train. Arriving at the apartment is Don's girlfriend, Helen St. James (Jane Wyman), who has… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Director Billy Wilder's technique of photographing Third Avenue in the grey morning sunlight with a concealed camera to keep the crowds from being self-conscious gives this sequence the shock of reality."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"What makes the film so gripping is the brilliance with which Wilder uses John F Seitz's camerawork to range from an unvarnished portrait of New York brutally stripped of all glamour."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"One of cinema's earliest and best portraits of drug addiction."
‑ Jim Schembri, The Age (Australia)
"While you watch it, it entirely holds you."
‑ James Agee, The Nation
"Painfully sincere and uncompromising look at alcoholism for a film released in 1945, with a superb central performance."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"It is intense, morbid -- and thrilling. Here is an intelligent dissection of one of society's most rampant evils."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A shatteringly realistic and morbidly fascinating film."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Although ultimately less bleak than Charles Jackson's autobiographical novel, the film is uncompromising in its depiction of the lies, self-deception and degradation that alcoholism leads to."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"An uncompromising look at alcoholism at a time when addiction was considered a personal failing to be swept under the rug of polite society."
‑ Christopher Lloyd, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
"It still makes one of the strongest statements about alcoholism, though time has taken away some of its edge."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Today it's less impressive but not without its virtues."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Despite the grim subject matter, there are glimpses of Wilder's characteristic mordant wit, and the director's location work in New York's Third Avenue district is exemplary. Casting the hitherto bland Milland was a stroke of genius."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"Taken as a treatise on addiction generally, it's remarkably sensitive and thoughtful."
‑ Dan Geary, Total Film
"Bold, sobering, intelligently written and acted with great skill by Ray Milland."
‑ , Film4
"A stirring portrait of the horrors of alcohol addiction."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
More reviews for The Lost Weekend on Rotten Tomatoes