The Good

A great movie that really does it's best to not understand Charles Bukowski but simply present him.

The Bad

Magnolia Films didn't include a copy of the movie with Special Features.

I first saw the movie Barfly when I was 14 years old. I can't say I entirely knew what was going on but I got it. It wasn't until my final few months in college that I picked up one of Charles Bukowski's books and then, without realizing I was doing it, proceeded to read all of his novels. He is without a doubt my favorite writer and, for me at least, the best there ever was. Nobody says it as simply and easily as he does and that is why his work lives on.

I knew that Bukowski: Born Into This was going to be a great film. Director John Dullaghan has managed to make a movie that plays almost exactly how Bukowski's stories read. He takes us through the writers life while never making us forget just how important the medium was to the writer. In fact, it isn't so much that Bukowski was a writer as he was man that had to write.

This film both celebrates and doesn't sugarcoat the person who invented a new form of modern American literature.


Sadly, the version of Bukowski: Born Into This that Magnolia Films sent to us didn't have any of the special features on it. Therefore, I cannot review them at this time.


Full Screen - This is a mix of video interviews, film footage (shot by Taylor Hackford no less) and still photographs. In fact, the audio design is such that we have people talking, but then we will just hear the audio from a Bukowski poem (read by Bukowski) over various images. This is a thickly layered movie and I would love to have the chance to check out the special features sometime.


Dolby Digital Stereo. Considering the many different formats with which the story of Charles Bukowski's life has been told, I commend the creators of this film for giving this movie the best possible audio design. Some of this footage was shot in ancient 16mm, yet the image and especially the audio quality are top notch. All in all, the audio on display here very much bolsters what a great film this is visually.


As we didn't get a regular version of this movie to review, I can just comment on the cover. It futures Bukowski having a beer somewhere in LA. I am assuming it's Los Angeles just because that's where he lived. Also, there is scantily clad girl behind him. This is the only misstep of this DVD in my opinion. I know that "Hank" was very enamored of women, but he didn't start getting them until later in his life, and then, to quote the man, by that time he was "too strong."

Final Word

Why in the world did it take so long for this movie to come to DVD?

First of all, I really have to give Magnolia Films credit because they released this movie and I saw it when it played in the local art theater by my house. That company seems to be going out of their way to put interesting projects in the public eye, and I cannot recall a film of theirs, that I have screened, that I thought was bad. Surely, some are better than others but overall you have to give this scrappy filmhouse credit for trying.

Why it took so long for Bukowski: Born Into This to make it's way to DVD shelves is anybody's guess, but rather then complain about that anymore, I am just going to enjoy the fact that I now own this movie on DVD.

Bukowski: Born into This was released January 18, 2003.