The Rose (film)

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The Rose
The Rose 1979.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Rydell
Produced by Aaron Russo
Marvin Worth
Anthony Ray
Screenplay by Bo Goldman
Bill Kerby
Story by Bill Kerby
Starring Bette Midler
Alan Bates
Frederic Forrest
Harry Dean Stanton
Music by Paul A. Rothchild (Mendelssohn - Piano concerto no 1, 2nd movement, the Rose)
Cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by Robert L. Wolfe
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 9, 1979 (1979-11-09)
Running time
134 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9.3 million[1]
Box office $29.2 million[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] It was written by Bill Kerby and Bo Goldman from a story by Bill Kerby, and directed by Mark Rydell.[3]

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.[5]

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


In late 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 Huston Dyer (Frederic Forrest) and begins a romance with him. Rudge thinks Huston is just another hanger on, but Rose thinks she has finally met her true love. Huston 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. Huston and Rose break up and she returns to her hometown with an escort where she tells him about her past. Finally, 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 Jacksonville, Florida.



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.[6] At one point, Michael Cimino was also slated to direct.[7]


The Rose has an 86% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 reviews.[8] The film earned North American rentals of $19.1 million.[9]

Awards and honors[edit]



The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Home video[edit]

The Criterion Collection released the film on Blu-ray and DVD on May 19, 2015.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p259
  2. ^ "The Rose". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "The Rose". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ Elan, Priya. "Is the Janis Joplin biopic finally going to be filmed? Don't hold your breath", The Guardian, August 7, 2010. WebCitation archive.
  5. ^ a b "The 52nd Academy Awards (1980) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  6. ^ Gray, Sadie. "Ten big things I have learnt from my mistakes - Times Online". The Times.  Registration required
  7. ^ Stempel, Tom (2000). "Framework: A History of Screenwriting in the American Film". ISBN 9780815606543. 
  8. ^ "The Rose (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  9. ^ Solomon p 234
  10. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  11. ^ "The Rose (1979)". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 

External links[edit]