Roger Ebert visits the set of ‘Barfly’ with Mickey Rourke back in 1987


Down here in the bad part of town, a man named Big Ed runs a bar named Big Ed's, which pretty much sums up the way he sees things. A lot of the regulars live upstairs in low-rent rooms, and come downstairs to drink when the bar is open. When the bar is closed, they go upstairs and wait for it to open again.

One night not long ago, Charles Bukowski was holding down the short end of the bar. He was looking around with wonderment on his face, because he had spent most of his life getting drunk in joints like this, but tonight was different, tonight they were making a movie inspired by his life, and they had rented out Big Ed's to shoot in.

"The movie is called 'Bar Fly,' and it's about me, because that's what I was, a bar fly," Bukowski explained. "You ran errands for sadists and let the bartender beat you up, because you were the bar clown. You filled people's days with your presence, and maybe you'd get a few free drinks now and then."


Commentary, Filmmaking

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