Film / The Rose

A 1979 film directed by Mark Rydell and starring Bette Midler in her first film appearance as a vulnerable, self-destructive rock singer looking for love.


  • Abusive Parents: One of whom is played by Doris Roberts (Mrs. Foster/Rose's mother).
  • Award-Bait Song: The title tune, sung by Midler, is actually an aversion; because composer Amanda McBroom hadn't written the song specifically for the movie, it was ineligible for Academy Award consideration. (It did win Midler a Grammy Award, however, and became a massive hit.)
  • Bi the Way: Rose is caught making out with a woman named Sarah, which sends Houston into a fit of rage.
  • Broken Bird: Rose
  • Broken Tears: Rose's character frequently has these, whether she's performing on stage, arguing with her manager or her boyfriend and through other personal struggles.
  • Downer Ending
  • Driven to Suicide: Rose, heartbroken after her breakup with Houston, decides to indulge in a fatal combination of heroin, alcohol and barbiturates before her concert.
  • Foreshadowing: Remember the tear-stricken out-of-breath sounding opening monologue by Rose in the beginning? Oh God. Once you seen the whole movie (up to the tragic ending), the film's opening will make a lot of sense and a lot of tears.
  • Love Triangle: Several examples, but the main one is Rose's choice between Houston and her desire for fame.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown : Rose wants desperately to return to her hometown a success. It doesn't go well for her.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rose is basically a thinly-veiled version of Janis Joplin.
  • Oscar Bait: As Rose, Bette Midler sings, she gets strung out, and she dies. Midler was nominated for Best Actress but lost to Sally Field (Norma Rae).
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Lots of all three. During the first on-screen concert, it's even a "crowd chant".
  • The '60s: The film is set in 1969...
  • Slut-Shaming: Inverted when Rose tells Houston the football story, then played straight in the western bar.
  • The "The" Title
  • The Tragic Rose: Rose herself, of course, to the fullest use of the trope.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Rose, whose face and eyes are so stained with her tears running her mascara.