->''"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 the PopCulturalOsmosis once the film version was released the following year. Directed and co-written by Creator/BillyWilder and starring Ray Milland, 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.
* BookEnds: The film opens and closes with the same shot of the Manhattan skyline.
* {{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 (''Theatre/LaTraviata'') has a party scene in which everyone is [[OdeToIntoxication drinking and singing about drinking]], and bottles of champagne are everywhere. 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 single weekend.
* EyeOpen: Closeup on Don's eye after he wakes up after drinking until passing out.
* TheFilmOfTheBook
* 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.
* IllTellYouWhenIveHadEnough: Says Don to the bartender who suggests he take it easy.
* 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.
* MoralGuardians: On both ends: the liquor industry tried to sway Paramount from releasing the film, allegedly even going as far to bribe Billy Wilder. On the other hand, the more traditional folks tried to keep it from release for fears it would encourage drinking.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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''.
* 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.