The War of the Roses

December 8th, 1989


The War of the Roses

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Still of Kathleen Turner in The War of the RosesStill of Michael Douglas in The War of the RosesMichael Douglas, Danny DeVito and Kathleen Turner in The War of the Roses

A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle.

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 6.7/10 (21,714 voted)

Critic's Score: 79/100

Director: Danny DeVito

Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito

The Roses, Barbara and Oliver, live happily as a married couple. Then she starts to wonder what life would be like without Oliver, and likes what she sees. Both want to stay in the house, and so they begin a campaign to force each other to leave. In the middle of the fighting is D'Amato, the divorce lawyer. He gets to see how far both will go to get rid of the other, and boy do they go far..

Writers: Warren Adler, Michael Leeson

Michael Douglas - Oliver Rose
Kathleen Turner - Barbara Rose
Danny DeVito - Gavin D'Amato
Marianne Sägebrecht - Susan
Sean Astin - Josh at 17
Heather Fairfield - Carolyn at 17
G.D. Spradlin - Harry Thurmont
Peter Donat - Jason Larrabee
Dan Castellaneta - Man in Chair
Gloria Cromwell - Mrs. Marshall
Harlan Arnold - Mr. Dell
Mary Fogarty - Mrs. Dell
Rika Hofmann - Elke
Patricia Allison - Maureen
Peter Brocco - Elderly Mourner

Taglines: Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie.

Release Date: 8 December 1989

Filming Locations: 119 Fremont Place, Los Angeles, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $9,488,794 (USA) (10 December 1989) (1259 Screens)

Gross: $83,699,711 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

While shooting the scene where Michael Douglas (Oliver Rose) and Kathleen Turner (Barbara Rose) are sitting in the chandelier, director Danny DeVito pretended to break for lunch while the two actors were 30 feet above ground.

Continuity: When Oliver is hit by the pot, his top hat falls off. In the next shot when he hits the floor, the hat is back on and falls off again.

[first lines]
Gavin: [Gavin is talking to a client] You have some valid reasons for wanting a divorce.
[blows his nose with a handkerchief]
Gavin: Excuse me. My sinuses are very sensitive to irritants.
[sprays nasal decongestant up his nostrils]
Gavin: In the past five months, I think I've breathed freely with both sides working maybe a week total.
[pulls a cigarette out of a pack]
Gavin: I gotta cut this out. It's gonna kill me.
[lights his cigarette]
Gavin: I hadn't smoked for thirteen years. I kept the last cigarette from my last pack. I said if I never smoked this one cigarette I'll never smoke again, period. Thirteen years I kept that cigarette.

User Review

not your typical Hollywood yukfest

Rating: 8/10

Director Danny Devito and the writers are to be credited for following this story's dark premise straight to its grim conclusion, and not opting for a cop-out 'happy ending'. Maybe that accounts for the movie's relatively low user rating. Whatever. Turner and Douglas are superb here. I saw Douglas on the Carson show after the movie came out, relating how, after a day's shoot, he and Turner would get together to remind each other that they were still friends. Seeing the movie shows why they had to do this. Note how the movie begins in the openness and light of Nantucket in summer and gets progressively darker, ending in the claustrophobic closeness of the nailed-up house. A classic black comedy for grownups. Don't watch this one with your spouse unless you are on really good terms.


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