Mickey Rourke plays Henry Chinaski, a poet and alcoholic. He spends his life in bars in Los Angeles, drinking every night. One day he meets Wanda, also a alcoholic and falls in love with her. Wanda is not like his former girlfriends, one is still able to see the beauty she once was before she started to drink. Together they meet Tully Sorenson, who wants to publish some of Henry’s poems. For a short time he becomes famous but in the end it is clear that Henry and Wanda have only one goal in life: drinking to forget the lousy life they live outside the bars of Los Angeles.
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Charles Bukowski, the talented crown prince of self-abuse, wrote the short stories upon which the surprisingly entertaining Barfly was based. The film concentrates on alcoholic writer Mickey Rourke (the Bukowski alter ego) who carries on a hate-hate relationship with bartender Frank Stallone. Rourke makes the acquaintance of another of society’s castaways, Faye Dunaway, who in addition to being a souse is said to be crazy. They move in together, even though Dunaway all but promises to be unfaithful for the price of a drink. Rourke has a chance to clean up his act when offered a large commission for his writings by publisher Alice Krige. They too end up in bed, each trying to change the other. The clarion call of the cheap wine bottle overrides Rourke’s half-hearted efforts to enter the mainstream. Watch for author Charles Bukowski, as well as Fritz “Pop!” Feld and Vance Colvig (who’s made a career out of playing street people) in Barfly bit parts.