Charles Bukowski Barfly Movie Quotes

 Barfly Movie Poster

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Here are the best quotes from the Charles Bukowski penned film Barfly. Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke as Henry Chinaski and Faye Dunaway as main love interest Wanda Wilcox, was released in 1987.

Charles Bukowski makes a cameo in the film, as a barfly, which you can watch below.

Barfly Quotes

Jim, the Bartender (talking about Chinaski): “He opens and closes the place. I say he’s okay.”
Female barfly: “What’s okay about him? He’s like a wet rat in the rain. A rat without any teeth.”
Jim: “Rat hell! He refuses to join the rat race. He drinks and he waits.”

Henry Chinaski (writing): “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.”

Landlady (outside apartment building): “Drunk every day at noon! You oughta get yourself a job!”
Chinaski: “Hey, I have one.”
Landlady: “Oh, really?”
Chinaski: “Yeah, killin’ the cockroaches in that place of yours.”

Chinaski: “I remember ordering a draft, barkeep. What are you out of brew, or has that lobotomy finally taken hold?”

Barfly Film Poster

Click the image to buy this Barfly movie poster.

Wanda Wilcox: “I can’t stand people. I hate them.”
Chinaski: “Oh, yeah?”
Wanda: “You hate them?”
Chinaski: “No, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around.”

Chinaski: “I’m gonna ask you the same damn thing people are always asking me.”
Wanda: “Like?”
Chinaski: “Like what do you do?”
Wanda: “I drink.”

Wanda: “Just one thing. I don’t ever want to fall in love. I don’t want to go through that again.”
Chinaski: “Hey, don’t worry, nobody’s ever loved me yet.”

Wanda: “We’re all in some kind of hell. And the madhouses are the only places where the people know they’re in hell.”

Jim: “You worked last year?”
Chinaski: “Six months in a toy factory. You don’t know how men suffer for children.”

Tully Sorenson: “Excuse me, who are you?”
Chinaski: “Oh, the eternal question. The eternal answer: ‘I don’t know.’”

Boss: “How do you explain all these gaps in your employment record?”
Chinaski: “Well hey, anybody can get a job. It takes a man to make it without working.”

Chinaski: “This is a world where everybody’s got to do something. You know, somebody laid down this rule that everybody’s got to do something. They got to be something. You know, a dentist, a fighter pilot, a narc, a janitor, a preacher, all that. Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things I don’t want to do. All the things that I don’t want to be. All the places that I don’t want to go, like India, or to get my teeth cleaned. Save the whale, all that. I don’t understand that.”

Barfly movie setChinaski: “Humanity, you never had it from the beginning.”

(Couple next door heard arguing through the wall, Chinaski laughs.)
Wanda: “What is it?”
Chinaski: “Oh, it’s hatred. It’s the only think that lasts.”

Tully: “I’m one of the main producers of The Contemporary Review of Art and Literature.”
Chinaski: “Oh, Producer.”
Tully: “I own the magazine.”
Chinaski: “So?”
Tully: “So, we’ve discovered you.”
Chinaski: “Oh, I had an idea that I’d be discovered after my death.”

Tully: “Why don’t you stop drinking? Anybody can be a drunk.”
Chinaski: “Anybody can be a non-drunk. It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth.”

Tully: “You can really write. Why do you live like a bum?”
Chinaski: “I am a bum. What do you want me to do? You want me to write about the sufferings of the upper classes?”
Tully: “This may be news to you, but they suffer too.”
Chinaski: “Hey, baby, nobody suffers like the poor.”

Charles Bukowski Barfly Cameo

Charles Bukowski Barfly cameo.

Tully: “You know, in the guesthouse you could write in peace.”
Chinaski: “Hey, Tully, baby, nobody who could write worth a damn could ever write in peace.”
Tully: “I take it you don’t care for my world.”
Chinaski: “Well baby, look around. It’s a cage with golden bars.”

Chinaski: “I belong on the streets. I don’t feel right here. I feel like I can’t breathe.”
Tully: “You just aren’t used to easiness. You can grow into it.”
Chinaski: “Hey, baby, grow is for plants. I hate roots.”

Chinaski: “Hey, money isn’t dumb. They say it talks, you know.”

Chinaski: “Now look, girls, be realistic. None of us hardly know one another. We’re basically strangers to each other. We’ve passed in the night and met again in a bar. Be realistic. There’s no way, there’s no reality to any of this.”

Charles Bukowski Barfly Cameo

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  1. A friend of mine played Lenny the paramedic in this movie.

  2. Paramedic: “Don’t be sorry, just change your underwear”

  3. I think you left out a gem:
    Chinaski: That’s it.
    Tully: That’s what?
    Chinaski: I’m broke. Can’t buy another drink.
    Tully: You mean you don’t have any money?
    Chinaski: No money, no job, no rent. Hey, I’m back to normal.

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  7. No doubt a gem. I thought that was the best line in the film. Love this movie and it is definitely the best Mickey Rourke character ever.

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