Bukowski: Born into This (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bukowski: Born into This (2003)

Bukowski: Born into This (2003)

Bukowski: Born into This



Critic Consensus: A thoroughly engrossing documentary examining the life of talented but troubled writer Charles Bukowski.

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Movie Info

Advertising writer John Dullaghan makes his feature-length directorial debut with the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This. The infamous poet, novelist, and screenwriter Charles Bukowski has made a legacy of writing about hard living in a unique prose style. His work paralleled his lifestyle, leading to the autobiographical novels Women, Hollywood, and Post Office. This documentary investigates his life through archival clips, interviews, and footage of the man himself. He appears at a public reading in San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore. Conversations with Bukowski's friends, including rock star Bono and actor Sean Penn, reveals some personal stories and experiences. Bukowski: Born Into This was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.more
Rating: R (for language and sexual content/nudity.)
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 21, 2006
Box Office: $81.7k
Magnolia Pictures

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Critic Reviews for Bukowski: Born into This

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (22)

An amazing, worthy journey.

Full Review… | October 28, 2004
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Provides an overview of Bukowski's work and allows us to gaze into the soul of a man who built a fortress of toughness around his vulnerable core.

August 20, 2004
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

The filmmaker knows when to shift the rhythm of his investigation. The authenticity of art is woven with the artifice of life.

Full Review… | August 20, 2004
Denver Post
Top Critic

Over a period of seven years, Dullaghan interviewed hundreds of people who knew or were affected by Bukowski. The result is both wide-ranging and intimate.

Full Review… | July 30, 2004
Seattle Times
Top Critic

How much was legend, how much was pose, how much was real? I think it was all real, and the documentary suggests as much.

Full Review… | July 16, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Dullaghan's raw and defining documentary about the man -- and the myth.

Full Review… | July 15, 2004
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bukowski: Born into This

moving documentary on the mad poet bukowski who never compromised his work. a powerful portrait of a brave yet fragile man who some would call an asshole

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A heartfelt, interesting portrait of one of America's greatest writers. The presence of Bono felt completely out of place and even a bit intrusive, but aside from that I enjoyed everything about this film.

Mike T.

Super Reviewer


This film is a terrific overview of the man's life and career, filled with archival footage of readings, interviews with his friends and family and some strange behind the scenes stuff of he and his ladies around the home. Painting a rather thorough portrait of the man, his humble origins and the lifestyle that both fueled his writing while almost killing him at the same time, we even get to follow the man around L.A. in snippets of older footage, which is an interesting way to see his life.

Highly recommended.

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