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Burroughs: The Movie (1983)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography | 8 October 1983 (USA)
Burroughs: The Movie explores the life and times of controversial Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs, with an intimacy never before seen and never repeated. The film charts the ... See full summary »

Director:

Howard Brookner
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Cast

Credited cast:
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon
Mortimer Burroughs Mortimer Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
Lucien Carr Lucien Carr
Jackie Curtis
Allen Ginsberg
John Giorno John Giorno
James Grauerholz James Grauerholz
Brion Gysin Brion Gysin
Lauren Hutton ... (archive footage)
Patti Smith
Terry Southern Terry Southern
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Storyline

Burroughs: The Movie explores the life and times of controversial Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs, with an intimacy never before seen and never repeated. The film charts the development of Burroughs' unique literary style and his wildly unconventional life, including his travels from the American Midwest to North Africa and several personal tragedies. Burroughs: The Movie is the first and only feature length documentary to be made with and about Burroughs. The film was directed by the late Howard Brookner. It was begun in 1978 as Brookner's senior thesis at NYU film school and then expanded into a feature which was completed 5 years later in 1983. Sound was recorded by Jim Jarmusch and the film was shot by Tom DiCillo, fellow NYU classmates and both very close friends of Brookner's. Written by Pinball London

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Official social media page

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burroughs: The Movie See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color | Black and White (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #789. See more »

Connections

Features William Buys a Parrot (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting look at an unknowable man
20 February 2016 | by jadavixSee all my reviews

"Burroughs" is a documentary about the man any fan is bound to find fascinating. For starters, he is involved from start to finish, and the movie also features Allen Ginsberg in conversation with the writer. His son, Billy Burroughs, who killed himself during the making of the movie also shows up, as well as Burroughs brother Mortimer.

The movie tells the story of Burroughs' life, but more interesting to me were some of the digressions, for example Burroughs, in the suit and tie he is always wearing, reading his transgressive opus Naked Lunch in a night club in front of a crowd of young people, and most bizarrely, Burroughs showing off his weapon collection: a blow gun, air pistol, combat knife, blackjack... he slashes the knife at the camera, explaining that with this blade you could cut someone's throat before they even knew what hit them.

But he doesn't like violence, he explains.

There is also an explanation of the night when his wife Joan was killed in an accident: Ginsberg believes it was suicidal ideation on Joan's part that made her encourage Burroughs to try to shoot a wineglass off her head. Burroughs, on the other hand, calls it an "ugly spirit" he has always lived with that made him take the shot and miss.

All up, "Burroughs" is a must see for fans of the man, who still remains an enigma to me after having seen it. He resists description just as his work resists categorization.


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