Days of Wine and Roses (1962)




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This thoroughly depressing drama concerns the battles of a young couple against the insidiousness of alcohol addiction. Joe (Jack Lemmon) and Kirsten (Lee Remick) are young newlyweds with a seemingly bright future. Joe is an up and coming public relations worker with a promising career. When the pressures of the job become too much, he takes solace inside a bottle of booze. Kirsten joins the party in order to relate to her husband, and the two get down to some brain cell killing, liver damaging drinking that would make F. Scott Fitzgerald and W. C. Fields blush. Joe's career takes a decidedly downward turn, losing his job as the couple continues to tip more than a few. They move in Kirsten's father, who owns a greenhouse. After a night of drinking, Kirsten reveals she hid a bottle hidden under one of the greenhouse plants. In a terrifying scene, Joe tears up all the plants trying to unearth the hidden bottle, ruining his father-in-law's budding plants. Joe also goes through withdrawals in a mental hospital in yet another disturbing scene of horrible alcohol addiction. He seeks help from a 12 step group, but Kirsten can't shake the grip of demon alcohol. By now, the couple has a young daughter, and a sober Joe realizes he may have to leave the woman he loves when she becomes hopelessly addicted. The title song by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini won an Academy Award. while Lemmon and Remick received well deserved nominations for their gripping portrayals of the tortured couple whose lives are ruined by booze.
Classics , Drama
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Jack Lemmon
as Joe Clay
Lee Remick
as Kirsten
Charles Bickford
as Ellis Arnesen
Jack Klugman
as Jim Hungerford
Alan Hewitt
as Leland
Tom Palmer
as Ballefoy
Maxine Stuart
as Dottie
Katherine Squire
as Mrs. Nolan
Jack Albertson
as Trayner
Ken Lynch
as Liquor Store Proprietor
Gail Bonney
as Gladys
Olan Soule
as Elevator Operator
Mary Benoit
as Tenant
Ella Ethridge
as Tenant
Rita Kenaston
as Tenant
Al Paige
as Tenant
Jack Riley
as Waiter
Doc Stortt
as Boor
Jack Railey
as Waiter
Lisa Guiraut
as Belly Dancer
Carl Arnold
as Loud Man
Tom Rosqui
as Bettor
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Critic Reviews for Days of Wine and Roses

All Critics (7)

Grim, strong drama about alcoholism with Lemmon and Remick's stellar work.

March 22, 2008

Except for the (fake) ending, this is one of Hollywood's best films about the devastating effects of alcoholism, going beyond Wilder's Lost Weekend, and proficiently helmed by Blake Edwards just before the Pink Panther films changed completely his career

Full Review… | April 30, 2007

Hollywood doesn't make 'em like this anymore.

October 7, 2005

Quote not available.

May 16, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Quote not available.

August 22, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

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August 13, 2003
Billings Outpost (Montana)

Audience Reviews for Days of Wine and Roses

An alcoholic and his wife struggle to give up the drink. This classic film brims with authenticity primarily because of the performances by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. Though he has a few comic moments and scenes in which his character's drunkenness allows him to use comedic physical work, Lemmon creates scenes of moving verisimilitude as Joe Clay. He's at times charming and at others thoroughly tortured. Remick, likewise, is completely lost in the world of alcohol, and her drunken moments are absolutely believable, rarely descending into caricature. The film is superbly constructed, disposing of all the connective tissue and leaving us with only the elements necessary to tell the story. Blake Edwards's direction is pitch-perfect. During the second act, there are a few scenes that seem like a public service announcement for AA. As a drunkard, not an alcoholic, I don't know if all AA meetings begin with the convener reading the organization's list of principles, but regardless, this section seemed false to me. Overall, The Days of Wine and Roses is a fantastic, moving drama about the ravages of alcoholism that stands as one of Jack Lemmon's finest performances.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


This film has two things going for it: Lemmon's wonderful acting and Edward's camera work. Other than that the film does not earn the emotion that it is attempting to generate. The audience is taken through the developing relationship and subsequent alcohol drenched years at such a brisk pace that it is really hard to get a feel for these characters. What should be a gripping masterwork regarding addiction feels more like a really well acted commercial for AA. Taking into account how groundbreaking this film must have been upon it's release in 1962, I cannot say the film is a bad. It just hasn't aged well.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Well that was upbeat! I must say that this topic in the early 60s is an original idea. It very well showed an average couple and how drinking became the relationship's vice and then the relationship. Powerfully acted and horribly depressing. Especially if you're an occasional drinker.

Jennifer D
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

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