UC Berkeley Library

Alcohol in Film

Julia (France | USA | Mexico | Belgium, 2008)

Director, Erick Zonca. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Saul Rubinek, Kate Del Castillo, Aidan Gould, Jude Ciccolella, Bruno Bichir, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Kevin Kilner, John Bellucci, Ezra Buzzington, Roger Cudney, Eugene Byrd, Neko Parham. Julia is a 40-year-old alcoholic on the constant decline. She spends the nights partying, usually not knowing where she is, when she wakes up. Because of that, she loses her job. Her only friend, Mitch, a recovering alcoholic himself, makes her go to an AA meeting, where she meets her neighbor, Elena.

Karanja, The Suffering Alcoholic: Is There Hope? (Kenya, 1999)

Director, Steve Kiura. A drama created in Kenya to encourage alcoholics to seek help. Karanja, a family man is caught in the trap of alcoholism. His colleague Frank, a recovering alcoholic, tries to help but Karanja ignores him. Soon he loses his job and family. At rock bottom, Karanja comes to the realization that he really needs help. At this point Frank convinces him that alcoholism is a sickness and that he is powerless by himself. Karanja joins the Alcoholics Anonymous support group, finds a new life and is reunited with his family. 67 min.

La Bonne Absinthe (1899)

Directed by Alice Guy. Long thought lost, this tiny flickering fragment from the dawn of film history - just 56 seconds long - is the earliest filmed version of an absinthe being prepared and drunk. Directed by the pioneer female director Alice Guy it tells a short, comical story: a man walks into a cafe, orders an absinthe, the waiter brings a bottle and adds a large dose to his glass, the man adds water from a carafe in an absent minded way while reading his newspaper, not realising that he's missing the glass entirely.

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Directed by Mike Figgis. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands. Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter whom lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera. 112 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
Academy Award - Best Actor (Nicolas Cage)
Golden Globes - Best Actor, Drama (Nicolas Cage)

Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962)

Directed by Sidney Lumet. Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards Jr., Sir Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell. Based on Eugene O'Neill's 1956 autobiograpy, this film depicts a day in the life of a family deteriorating under drug addiction, alcoholism, and imminent death. 180 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Lost Weekend (1945)

Directed by Billy Wilder. Cast: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard da Silva, Doris Dowling, Frank Faylen. A would-be writer's dissatisfaction with his life leads him on a three-day binge. This film gives an uncompromising look at the devestating effects of alcoholism. 100 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Mabel's Married Life (1914)

Director, Charles Chaplin. Cast: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand. Mabel goes home after being humiliated by a masher whom her wimpy husband won't fight. The husband goes off to a bar and gets drunk. She buys a boxing dummy hoping it will inspire her husband, but when he returns he gets in a fight with it, taking it to be the ladykiller. 17 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database