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Bukowski - Born Into This

4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Documentary on Charles Bukowski, author of 'Notes of a Dirty Old Man', 'Love Is a Dog', 'from Hell', and the autobiographical novels, 'Women', 'Hollywood', and 'Post Office'.


Director John Dullaghan's biographical documentary about infamous poet Charles Bukowski, Bukowski: Born Into This, is as much a touching portrait of the author as it is an exposé of his sordid lifestyle. Interspersed between ample vintage footage of Bukowski's poetry readings are interviews with the poet's fans including such legendary figures such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joyce Fante (wife of John), Bono, and Harry Dean Stanton. Filmed in grainy black and white by Bukowski's friend, Taylor Hackford, due to lack of funding, the old films edited into this movie paint Bukowski's life of boozing and brawling romantically, securing Bukowski's legendary status. Born Into This relies on interviews with Bukowski for biographical information instead of cheesy voiceovers, bringing the viewer even closer to the author. For example, in one amazing sequence, Bukowski rides the viewer around in the backseat of his car, telling us through his rearview mirror of his stint as a post office worker which inspired the novel, Post Office. Scenes splicing interviews with Bukowski's ex-wife, Linda Lee, and R. Crumb's comic strip panels portraying Bukowski as a sex-crazed maniac, set the tone for bawdier parts of the film. Occasionally the film displays lines of Bukowski's poetry on the screen, as reminders that he was not only a raging alcoholic with a fierce sense of humor but also a talented and beloved writer. With so much hilariously shocking footage of "Hank," Bukowski: Born Into This presents Bukowski as a troubled but classic genius. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • Sneak peek at previously unpublished poems & "Dinosauria, We"
  • "Born Into This" behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Bukowski's final home footage from 1992
  • Deleted scene
  • Extended interviews with Bono, Linda Lee Bukowski, Taylor Hackford and Publisher John Martin
  • Tom Waits and Bono read Bukowski poetry

Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Bukowski, Bono, John Bryan, Linda Lee Bukowski, Marina Bukowski
  • Directors: John Dullaghan
  • Producers: Diane Markrow, John McCormick
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E8N8L6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,813 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bukowski - Born Into This" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
They finally are going to release this. I saw Born Into This in a small theater in NY. I have always been a big fan of Bukowski ever since a friend loaned me "Roominghouse Madrigals". I corresponded with CB briefly just before his death.

I have always felt that eventhough Bukowski was/is incredibly famous by any "poet" measure, he has been sadly overlooked by the scholarly crowd. I can't imagine anybody reading a substantial portion of his work and not agreeing with me that Buk was one of the most influential and important writers of the last century. There have been several biographies written about Buk, none of which did him justice. This film is the first one in my opinion. You get a real feel for what made him tick, his genius and at times his recklessness. You also get a look at the love he had for his last wife and her unflailing patience with him.

The entire film is entertaining, touching, educational and everything else you could ask for.

My recommendation is see this even if the only connection you have to Buk is watching Barfly. You'll be picking up Post Office in no time.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm glad this was made! Saw it in a theatre when it opened about three years ago and was happy to see it was out on DVD recently--and snapped one up off the amazon site right away.

Props to the filmmaker! A big thank you to Tom Waits (another favorite) for making an appearance and for reading the Buk poem. Others have tried to read Bukowski's stuff, and it just doesn't work, doesn't come off right. Waits is absolutely perfect for this sort of material and ought to consider doing an entire album of either Buk's prose and/or poetry.

Back to Bukowski for a minute: I don't care what his detractors continue to moan and gripe about when it comes to the man's work--because I said it more than 25 years ago and I'm still saying it today--and I will say keep saying it until the day I die: he was a mad genius!

One good/solid third of his output is pure GOLD--and I am talking about the best stuff. As a result, he will be read forever. In my opinion, this guy remains the greatest American poet of them all, period.

A third of his output is fair, and the last third is quite lousy, in fact, unreadable (and I place Pulp in that last third bunch; some of the stories in Hot Water Music are weak; the novel Hollywood is really not as good as it otherwise might have been, etc) -- but, so what? How many great hitters, get the best, can hit a homer each and every time at bat? Every single time? No way.

Did the writer have flaws and weaknesses as a man? Hell, yes! Who isn't flawed? I'm not perfect, and neither are you--or anyone else. All I have to say just take a real good look at what the man endured as a child, look what he lived through. And if you can't understand that, and don't get it, or simply REFUSE to get it...well, there is nothing else to be said.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So says the grave of Charles Bukowski a man who, behind his pocked and weathered face, had an ambition of which no one would have guessed. At this point, readers may have grown tired of hearing me rave about this or that documentary--as I have seen so many excellent ones over the course of the last year; however, "Born Into This," is as good a bio-pic as any ever made. It is unbelievably interesting and artful. The director knew Bukowski well, and this footage is extremely intimate. Stylistically, its strongest feature is the superimposing of Buk's poetry and sentences across the screen--which are then reproduced at the same speed at which he speaks. It creates a powerful effect and this is never more true than when he passionately mouths the title poem.

It's really not a pretty tale. Bukowski led a sorrowful life. Although, its damage was somewhat mitigated by his later, unforeseeable, success in which "the blondes with the [certain unmentionable physical attribute] came too late." There was a certain, dare-I-say, nobility about this dirty and talented old man. He existed to drink, write, and have sex. He was what he was, and how many people can say the same? There was not a once of pretension in him. He had a high level of artistic integrity and wrote diligently every day. Even if one doesn't like Charles Bukowski or feels repulsed by him, his perspective was so unique that one must appreciate him. What a life! This documentary captures the man far better than any book that I've read about him. I'd say R.I.P., but I'm not sure peace is something he ever wanted.
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Format: DVD
I am not judging this documentary on the lighting or cinematography whatever (you wouldnt want me to anyways). I gave this documentary 4 stars because of the info relayed and the moments that we saw captured in Bukowski's life.

My negatives about the documentary: I watched this film on a whim and was so engrossed in the info I received, I just couldnt watch the film in an objective way to relay a good mix of negatives.

However, I do agree with another commentor how some of the interviews were a bummer. From his last wife, Linda #2, I didnt feel any sincerity or care or emotion coming from her as she stood today. And I feel as if thats an unfair statement to make about the documentary's appeal because I was truly doubtful of Linda's "love" for Bukowski versus being doubtful of the credibility of the documentary.

And then some of the other interviews ... like the guy who was Bukowski's first publisher, Bono, etc, I just found them really un-enlightening.

My main love for this documentary comes from my assumptions about Bukowski (through his poetry) being discredited by seeing the real man on this film. I thought Bukowski was just a loud, "dirty old man". And, in some sense, he was - but not in the way I had perceived.

Some of you guys might think Im simple but . . .

Good points

- I really loved hearing Bukowski's poems being read by Bukowski. He has a scratchy, but somehow gentle voice.

- I liked how Bukowski answered questions asked by reporters. They certainly asked him the rollyoureye questions, like "what is love?" but he played along and answered them - in a very poetic way. You could see him give the question considerable thought. Then he'd smirk and say something beautiful.
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