The Lost Weekend
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Billy Wilder's grim, realistic treatment of alcoholism stars Ray Milland as Don Birnam, a troubled novelist with a drinking problem. Escaping from the apartment his worried brother (Phillip Terry) has confined him to for the weekend, Don makes his way to his favorite tavern, where he knocks back drink after drink, transforming from a trembling wreck into a garrulous charmer into a brutish lout. For the remainder of the weekend, he sinks further and further into his drunkenness, resorting even to stealing money from a prostitute to keep himself plied with liquor.
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