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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 57.

    Everyone's missed James Stewart in "Harvey" (1950).

    Maybe that's because it's too close to reality... my reality anyway (hic)...

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Completely agree with Leaving Las Vegas, cages best performance

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    Comment number 59.

    In no particular order:
    Denholm Elliott's inebriated hack in the very underrated Defence Of The Realm
    Albert Finney as the epically sozzled consul Geoffrey Firmin in Under The Volcano
    Peter O'Toole as the dashingly drunk Donald Swann in My Favorite Year
    Sterling Hayden as the alcohoic novelist Roger Wade raging against the dying of the write in The Long Goodbye
    James Mason as Norman Maine (displaying the same ill-considered liking for a dip as Roger Wade) in A Star Is Born
    Staggering performances, one and all. ;-)

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    Comment number 60.

    All great suggestions so far, but I am surprised that nobody has mentioned Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in 'The Princess Bride' as one of the best screen drunks. Throughout the film there are subtle hints that Inigo has had a long history of alcohol abuse and I feel that this all stems from grief due to the loss of his beloved father. (SPOILER ALERT) when he avenges his fathers death by slaying the count, I feel that he has finally beaten his demons and will never turn to drink again. Patinkin puts so much depth into his performance, Inigo is a man who has loved and lost. I also like that he acts opposite Andre The Giant who was a notoriously heavy drinker.
    I feel his performance captures the perfect screen drunk due to the characters history and struggles with genuine human emotions. Or perhaps I have just really over analysed all this.....

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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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