The Rose is a 1979 American drama film which tells the story of a self-destructive 1960s rock star who struggles to cope with the constant pressures of her career and the demands of her ruthless business manager. The film stars Bette Midler, Alan Bates, Frederic Forrest, Harry Dean Stanton, Barry Primus and David Keith.

The story is loosely based on the life of singer Janis Joplin. Originally titled Pearl, after Joplin's nickname, and the title of her last album, it was fictionalized after her family declined to allow the producers the rights to her story. It was written by Bill Kerby and Bo Goldman from a story by Bill Kerby, and directed by Mark Rydell.

The Rose was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Midler, in her screen debut), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Frederic Forrest), Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

Midler performed the soundtrack album for the film, and the title track became one of her biggest hit singles in 1980.


The Rose (film)

In 1969, Mary Rose Foster (Bette Midler) is a famous rock and roll diva known as The Rose. Although a success, she is burnt out and lonely but is kept working by her gruff, greedy manager and promoter Rudge Campbell (Alan Bates). Though loud and brassy, Rose is an insecure alcoholic and former drug user who seems to crave approval in her life. As such, she is determined to return to her hometown, now as a superstar. After being humiliated by a country singing star named Billy Ray (Harry Dean Stanton) whose songs she performs in her show, Rose takes off with a limousine driver named Houston Dyer (Frederic Forrest) and begins a romance with him. Rudge thinks Houston is just another hanger on, but Rose thinks she has finally met her true love. Houston tells her that he is actually an AWOL sergeant from the Army, and she tells him of her past in Florida. They have a rocky relationship and her lifestyle of "Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll" and constant touring lead her to an inevitable breakdown. Houston and Rose break up and she returns to her hometown with an escort where she tells him about her past. In the film's ending, Rose collapses on stage from a fatal drug overdose (on alcohol, barbiturates and heroin) in the opening minutes of her long-awaited homecoming concert in Florida.


The Rose (film)
  • Bette Midler as Mary Rose Foster (The Rose)
  • Alan Bates as Rudge Campbell
  • Frederic Forrest as Houston Dyer
  • Harry Dean Stanton as Billy Ray
  • Barry Primus as Dennis
  • David Keith as Pfc. Mal
  • Sandra McCabe as Sarah Willingham
  • Will Hare as Mr. Leonard
  • James Keane as Sam
  • Doris Roberts as Mrs. Foster
  • Danny Weis as Danny, Band Leader and Guitarist of "The Rose Band"
  • Sylvester as drag queen
  • Michael Greer as Emcee ("Baby Jane")


The film was originally offered to Ken Russell, who chose instead to direct Valentino. Russell has described this decision as the biggest mistake of his career. At one point, Michael Cimino was also slated to direct.


The Rose (film)

The film earned North American rentals of $19.1 million.

Awards and nominations

The Rose (film)
  • Golden Globes: Best Actress - Musical/Comedy (Bette Midler), Best Original Song - The Rose (Amanda McBroom), New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - Female (Bette Midler)
  • National Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Frederic Forrest)
  • Academy Awards: Best Actress (Bette Midler), Best Supporting Actor (Frederic Forrest), Best Editing (Robert L. Wolfe, Carroll Timothy O'Meara), Best Sound (Theodore Soderberg, Douglas O. Williams, Paul Wells, James E. Webb)
  • Golden Globes: Best Picture - Musical/Comedy, Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (Frederic Forrest)
  • BAFTA Awards: Best Actress (Bette Midler), Best Sound ((Theodore Soderberg, Douglas O. Williams, Paul Wells, James E. Webb)
  • César Awards: Best Foreign Film (Mark Rydell)
Other honors
  • In 2004, the American Film Institute ranked the song "The Rose" number 83 on their AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs list.

Home Video

The Criterion Collection will release the film on Blu-ray and DVD on May 19, 2015.

See also

The Rose (film)
  • The Rose (song)


External links

The Rose (film)
  • The Rose at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Rose at AllMovie
  • The Rose at Rotten Tomatoes

The Rose (film)

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