The War of the Roses (1989)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Divorce lawyer Danny De Vito warns his prospective client that the story he's about to tell isn't a pretty one, but the client listens with eager intensity -- as do the folks out there in the movie in the audience. The War of the Roses can best be described as a slapstick tragedy concerning the decline and literal fall of a marriage. After 17 years, Oliver (Michael Douglas) and Barbara (Kathleen Turner) Rose want a divorce. Not for this couple is there anything resembling a "civilized … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Warren Adler, Michael Leeson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 18, 2001
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


as Oliver Rose

as Barbara Rose

as Gavin D'Amato

as Josh (at 17)

as Carolyn (at 17)

as Harry Thurmont

as Larrabee

as Mrs. Marshall

as Josh (age 10)

as Carolyn (age 10)

as Man in Chair

as Mr. Dell

as Kitty Kitty the Cat

as Mrs. Dell

as Elderly Mourner

as Bidder at Auction

as Autioneer's Assistan...

as Mrs. Dewitt

as Dr. Hillerman

as Orderly

as Gavin's Secretary

as Nancy, Oliver's Sec...

as Nurse

as Latin Woman

as Latin Assistant

as Teenage Boy

as Anchorwoman

as Anchorman

as Mr. Fisk

as Mr. Marshall

as Josh, Age 3

as Carolyn, Age 3

as Bleeding Man

as Manicurist Trainee

as Dr. Gordon

as Mr. Marshall

as Bleeding Man

as Stand-In
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The War of the Roses

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Critic Reviews for The War of the Roses

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (9)

DeVito's taste for unorthodox camera angles and striking camera movements occasionally verges on overreaching but for the most part admirably serves the action.

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Trying to wring yocks from a deranged couple locked in mortal combat over possession of their house is more suited to film noir than black comedy.

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Top Critic

De Vito's quirky camera angles and Kathleen Turner's steely-eyed spite inject a sadistic comic-strip madness into a film that for once has the nerve to see its nastiness through.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

DeVito's direction is distinctively odd (with a lot of low-angle shots looking up at things), enjoyably mischievous and always somehow mindful that there may be, at the heart of all this comic mayhem, something substantial going on.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

DeVito triumphs by instilling this caustic satire with truth and consequence.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

[A] deliciously jaundiced perspective on matrimony.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The War of the Roses


Oliver Rose: You weren't even multiorgasmic before you met me, were you? 

"There is no winning! Only degrees of losing!"

It took me a long time to finally watch this movie and it really was worth it. This is a dark comedy out of heaven. I loved everything about it. Danny DeVito's commentary and direction are awesome. And of course Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner give fantastic and fun performances as a married couple who are now dueling for their home. The movie is extremely fun and entertaining. 

Oliver and Barbara Rose have been married for 17 years. In those 17 years, they had two kids and Oliver worked himself into a position where he is making loads of money. The family is rich and they buy their dream house. Barbara spends years making the house as perfect as possible, but when she is finally done she realizes that her marriage is no longer a satisfying one. She wants a divorce, but she also wants the house and Oliver isn't going to give that up easy. Basically the whole run time is full of marital disputes and craziness. 

Kathleen Turner is so good at playing a bitch. She excels at it to such a degree, that I only think of her as a bitch. Michael Douglas is just Michael Douglas. He's a solid and multidimensional actor who never disappoints. Those two on screen together in this movie are perfect. They much more fun to watch then they were in Romancing The Stone. 

The movie is essentially a drama that they playoff as a comedy, and it works really well. These types of Black Comedies don't always work, but when they do, they aren't just good, they're amazing. This is one of those examples. DeVito doesn't make a false step. He brings us into a world of marital hell and he does it with a strong sense of style and wit. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


Funny movie about a divorce lawyer and his client Oliver Rose. Barbara worked her whole life to provide for her family and make a good home. When the kids are off to college, she wants to set up her own business. Her husband takes no interest. He thinks their life is perfect but she wishes he was dead. They war over their beautiful house. Great cast.

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer


Fun and really dark black comedy about a fighting couple from Danny DeVito.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

The War of the Roses Quotes

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