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Flying High?

Friday 1 February 2013, 16:50

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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The big movie released this week is Flight with Denzel Washington as a pilot with an alcohol problem. This seems like the perfect time to list my five most memorable screen drunks - but what are yours?

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Mark reviews Flight

Denzel Washington interviewed by Simon Mayo

Denzel's Top Five

 

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    Comment number 61.

    Nic Cage was responsible for me pouring my Saturday night bottle of wine right down the sink it had that much of an effect on me.Powerful stuff to say the least!!

    Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in The Days of Wine and Roses .Only ever watched it twice as I find it totally heartbreaking, it deals with the issue in such a poignant,and understated way but at the same time packs a real punch it's so well crafted with wonderful performances.

    Here's a couple more..

    Dean Martin - Rio Bravo
    Matt Dillon- Factotum
    Billy Bob Thornton- Bad Santa
    Paul Newman-The Verdict
    Albert Finney-Under the Volcano

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    Comment number 62.

    One of the greatest screen drunks was W.C. Fields.
    Lee Marvin played some wonderful comedic drunks as in Cat Ballou and Paint Your Wagon.
    Dean Martin as the drunken deputy looking to redeem himself in Rio Bravo.

    Other favourites of mine:
    Burton & Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend.
    James Mason in A Star is Born.
    Peter O'Toole in My Favorite Year.
    Charles Laughton in Hobson's Choice.

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    Comment number 63.

    All excellent performances, Doctor. I'd certainly agree with your decision to mention Richard E Grant as Withnail as one of the all time greatest alcoholic performances, however, one that I feel was sorely missed from your run down was Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. An incredibly emotive performance that, at times, manages to evoke both sympathy and disdain simultaneously. Surely it deserves a mention?

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    Comment number 64.

    How come I can rate comments on the rest of the BBC site, but I can't rate comments in this one blog?

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    Comment number 65.

    1965's Lee Marvin at Kid Shellen in Cat Ballou was a childhood fav of mine. http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/221341/Cat-Ballou-Movie-Clip-Kid-Shelleen.html

    Also released in 1965 was The Hallelujah Trail (Donald Pleasence, Burt Lancaster, Lee Remick)-- securing booze for a foretasted Denver freezing winter was the goal. In once scene, American Native Indians partook and disaster ensued. (about 5 minutes into this Elmer Bernstein music /video clip) http://youtu.be/Eh1xfk33PdE

    I hope to see Flight on DVD.

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    Comment number 66.

    Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou. You can smell his breath through the screen and only wonder at what caused his long johns to turn that colour.

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    Comment number 67.

    1. Robert Shaw as Quint in Jaws
    2. Mark Burns as Bernie in A Day at the Beach
    3. Harrison Ford as Deckard in Blade Runner
    4. Dean Martin as Dude in Rio Bravo
    5. Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in The Doors

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    Comment number 68.

    Dan Aykoryd as a drunk suicidal Santa in Trading Places is hard to beat

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    Comment number 69.

    Nic Cage in Leaving Las Vegas is what I would have chosen as my favourite drunk. However I think Nick Nolte is particularly good in Warrior I thought.

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    Comment number 70.

    ...Actually, I'll amend that to:

    1. Robert Shaw as Quint in Jaws
    2. Mark Burns as Bernie in A Day at the Beach
    3. Harrison Ford as Deckard in Blade Runner
    4. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone
    5. Dean Martin as Dude in Rio Bravo

    (Kilmer's Morrison in The Doors is still a great turn, but his Holliday can drink the Lizard King under the table!)

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    Comment number 71.

    On a lighter note, what about Jimmy Stewart in George Cukor's 'The Philadelphia Story'? For me, he captured the comical side of drunkenness very charmingly - laugh-out-loud funny and also pretty accurate.

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    Comment number 72.

    Richard Burton did some great drunks in his earlier films and an embarrasing on in nearly everything he made after 1970.

    I'm not sure why Mark chose Nick Cage's sanitised performance of an alchoholic in Leaving lost Vegas.

    Onthe flip side of tee total Richard E Grant I can't remember infamous boozer Oliver Reed ever playing a drunk on screen

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    Comment number 73.

    I love Barfly ,Mickey Rourkes second best film ( best being AngelHeart). It should definitely be in the top five. I would also give an honourary mention to Michael Caine in Educating Rita, fab performance.

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    Comment number 74.

    Jeff Bridges in 'True Grit', 'The Big Lebowski' or 'Crazy Heart'. Take your pick.

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    Comment number 75.

    Val Kilmer - Tombstone
    Michael Caine - Educating Rita
    Clint Eastwood - The Unforgiven

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    Comment number 76.

    Gene Wilder - Blazing Saddles
    James Stewart - Harvey

    The only thing about Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now is - he's not acting that!

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    Comment number 77.

    Definitely Jane Fonda, opposite Jeff Bridges, in Sidney Lumet's 1986 romantic thriller The Morning After. The film is by no means perfect, and has a kind of tv movie of the week feel about it, but there is more than enough in the strong performances by the leads to keep you watching. Fonda is all aggressive desperation, and vodka fuelled cattiness that makes you weep for her. The last scene of the film still gets to me to this day.

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    Comment number 78.

    If we can allow puppets, Gary from Team America : World Police

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    Comment number 79.

    Elwood P Dowd in 'Harvey' is surely the most sympathetic portrayal of a drunk on the screen.

    As played by James Stewart. Hos co-star won an Oscar for her performance.

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    Comment number 80.

    The extreme and violent side of alcoholism on screen: The extraordinary performance by Ray Winstone in Nil by Mouth.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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