->''"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can't take quiet desperation!"''
-->-- '''Don Birnam'''

A 1944 novel by Charles R. Jackson, ''The Lost Weekend'' entered into PopCulturalOsmosis once [[TheFilmOfTheBook the film version]] was released the following year. Directed and co-written by Creator/BillyWilder and starring Creator/RayMilland, the film won four [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Oscars]], including Best Picture. Music/MiklosRozsa provided the film's score, notable for its prominent use of {{Theremin}}.

An alcoholic writer, Don Birnam (Milland), leads a tough existence in New York City. His girlfriend, Helen (Jane Wyman), is one of the few people out there who can hopefully lead him on the straight and narrow. However, Don's personal life has been at a crossroads due to his insecurities. After ditching his brother's suggestion for a weekend in the country, Don begins a long drinking binge, the titular "lost weekend". Of course, the more he drinks, the closer it may be to his last one...

''The Lost Weekend'' won [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Oscars]] for Best Picture, Best Director for Billy Wilder, Best Actor for Milland, and Best Adapted Screeplay for Wilder and Charles Brackett. It is on the UsefulNotes/NationalFilmRegistry.

!!This work features examples of:

* TheAlcoholic: Possibly the first Hollywood film to treat alcoholism in anything resembling a realistic way.
* AmbiguouslyGay: "Bim", the male nurse at the alcoholic ward.
* AtTheOperaTonight: In flashback, where Don meets Helen.
* BathroomStallOfOverheardInsults: Don overhears Helen's father talk unfavorably of him in the hotel lobby. Cue INeedAFreakingDrink.
* {{Bookends}}: The film opens with a shot of the Manhattan skyline and then pans over to Don's apartment window. The last scene is an exact reversal of that sequence.
* {{Bowdlerize}}: The novel pointed to a homosexual affair as the root of Birnam's troubles; the film version replaced it with writer's block.
* ColdTurkeysAreEverywhere: Don has gone to the opera. Unfortunately for him, the opera has a party scene in which everyone is [[OdeToIntoxication drinking and singing about drinking]], and bottles of champagne are everywhere.[[note]]The piece that is being sung on stage is the "Champagne Aria" from La Traviata.[[/note]] He has to leave.
* DrunkenMontage: This film features the UrExample of the drunkard wandering through the city-streets, while neon-signs float eerily around him. Yeah, that effect that has been endlessly imitated, it started here.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: The title isn't random; the whole movie, minus the flashback sequence, takes place as Don goes on a bender over a long weekend, starting Thursday afternoon.
* EyeOpen: Closeup on Don's eye after he wakes up after drinking until passing out.
* FlashbackEffects: There is a blur-over effect used for Don's flashbacks.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Gloria, the girl at Nat's Bar who likes Don, is strongly implied to be a prostitute. She keeps meeting total strangers at Nat's for dates, and she tells Don that she broke "a business date" to see him.
* GrayRainOfDepression: It's pouring out when Don, hitting bottom, steals Helen's coat, which he pawns. For a gun. [[DrivenToSuicide To use on himself]].
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Gloria, who lends money to Don. LoveMakesYouDumb may be the more appropriate description though.
* IllTellYouWhenIveHadEnough: Says Don to the bartender who suggests he take it easy.
* InfractionDistraction: The reason why Don bought two bottles of whiskey for the weekend trip. He wants his brother to find the first one so he would give up searching for the second one.
* IrishmanAndAJew: Don's attempt to pawn his typewriter is stymied because all the city's pawnshops even the Catholic-owned ones are closed for Yom Kippur. A character explains that the Jewish pawnbrokers return the favor by staying closed on St. Patrick's Day.
* ISOStandardUrbanGroceries: Played with. Don gets two bottles of rye with ten dollars he stole from his brother. But he doesn't want people in the neighborhood to think that he's going out buying liquor in the morning, so he buys a few pieces of fruit to put in the top of the bag to make it look like he just went out for groceries.
* LocalHangout: Nat's Bar.
* MeatOVision: A variant comes when Birnam attends the opera and hallucinates that the chorus is a row of empty, swaying trenchcoats, each with a bottle of rye in its pocket.
* MeetCute: Don and Helen, when their coat-check tickets get mixed up at the opera.
* MostWritersAreWriters: Don is a frustrated author with writers' block. Whether the inability to write has exacerbated his drinking or his drinking has robbed him of the ability to write is unclear, although the book's homosexual incident is the definite cause of this.
* OffTheWagon: The flashback reveals that Don had stayed sober for six weeks after meeting Helen. Then, nervous because her parents have come to meet him, he [[INeedAFreakingDrink goes on a spree]].
* PinkElephants: A particularly terrifying use of this trope, as Don hallucinates a bat swooping in and eating a mouse in the wall. Unlike many films, which have people seeing their Pink Elephants during their drunken binges, this one gets it right, and has Don seeing his mice and bat ''after'' his spree, when he's going through withdrawal.
* ScareEmStraight: Though not explicitly an educational film, it depicts the protagonist's descent into alcoholism very much this way.
* ShoutOutToShakespeare: Don has a habit of quoting the Bard when getting hammered. His first quote, "Purple the sails, and so perfumed ... " is from ''Theatre/AntonyAndCleopatra'', and his second, "Yea, all which it shall inherit ...", is from ''Theatre/TheTempest''.
* StaircaseTumble: Don loses his ballance on the stairs to Gloria's apartment and tumbled all the way down.
* {{Theremin}}: The first film featuring a theremin on the soundtrack. Music/MiklosRozsa used it in composing the score for the nightmare sequences.
* TropaholicsAnonymous: Averted. AA had been around for a decade when this film came out, but the widely accepted idea that 12-step programs are necessary to conquer substance abuse had not really caught on. The film ends with Don determined, with Helen's support, to quit drinking cold turkey and write his book.
* UnfamiliarCeiling: Don awakes at the alcoholic ward after his StaircaseTumble, wondering where exactly he is. The first thing he sees is the unfamiliar ceiling.