The Lost Weekend (1945)

101m, 2788 metres
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American drama film with fantasy sequences directed by Billy Wilder.

Plot Summary

Failing writer Don Birnam has hit the bottle big time. With the help of his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen, he manages to stay sober for ten days and a recovery seems likely. But when Wick and Helen are away for a long weekend, Birnam gives in to temptation. As he suffers terrifying , he struggles with his past and his addiction.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Billy Wilder
Copyright MCMXLV [1945] by Paramount Pictures Inc.
A Paramount picture
Produced by: Charles Brackett
Screen Play by: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
From the Novel by: Charles R. Jackson
Director of Photography: John F. Seitz
Editorial Supervision: Doane Harrison
Music Score: Miklos Rozsa
Sound Recording: Stanley Cooley, Joel Moss
Western Electric Recording
Costumes: Edith Head
Makeup Supervision: Wally Westmore
Special Photographic Effects: Gordon Jennings
Process Photography: Farciot Edouart
Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick
Set Decoration: Bertram Granger
Locations: Bellevue Hospital, First Avenue, , City, New York, USA *; New York City, New York, USA *; Shrine Auditorium, W. Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA *

Ray Milland (Don Birnam)
Jane Wyman (Helen St James)
Phillip Terry (Wick Birnam)
Howard Da Silva (Nat)
Doris Dowling (Gloria)
Frank Faylen (‘Bim' Nolan)
Mary Young (Mrs Deveridge)
Anita Bolster (Mrs Foley)
Lilian Fontaine (Mrs Charles St James)
Frank Orth ( cloak room attendant)
Lewis L. Russell (Charles St James)

Alternative Titles

Días sin huella – Argentina, Spain
Farrapo Humano – Brazil, Portugal
Forspildte dage – Denmark
Förspillda dagar – Sweden
Giorni perduti – Italy
Le Poison – Belgium (French), France
Tuhlattuja päiviä – Finland
Het Vergift – Belgium (Flemish)
Das Verlorene Wochenende – Austria, Germany

Extracts included in
The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003)
AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (2000)
The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder (1986)
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)
Precious Images (1986)
The Screen Writer (1950)
Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (1994)



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.13 p.60


  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.19 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • by Walt Lee pp.266-267 – credits

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide June 2007 p.28 – illustrated listing