Requiem for a Dream
Cast & Crew
Aging widow Sara Goldfarb lives alone in a high-rise apartment building in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. One summer day her only child Harry, an aimless young man, visits her, steals her television set and pawns it to buy drugs. After Harry and his friend, Tyrone C. Love, "get high" on the drugs, they wander through the Coney Island amusement park, making plans to deal large quantities of heroin and use the profits to retire. In the days that follow, Sara buys back the television set, as she has done many times before, from pawnshop owner Mr. Rabinowitz, who suggests that Sara ask the police for help with her son. Sara refuses, explaining that Harry is all that she has. Back at home, while she watches her favorite game show "Tappy Tibbon's Month of Fury," Sara is offered a chance to appear on a television show by a phone solicitor. Longing for the days when her family was together, she immediately imagines herself on stage in the slim-fitting red dress she wore to Harry's high school graduation. When Sara discovers she is too plump to fit into the dress, her friend helps her start a strict diet and Sara becomes obsessed with all the foods that she is now forbidden to eat. Meanwhile, Harry and his girl friend, Marion Silver, discuss their future. Marion, who feels abandoned by her wealthy family, receives support and encouragement from Harry to open her own clothing design business. Days later, Sara is chatting with her older female friends on the sidewalk outside the high-rise, when the mailman delivers the television appearance application package. All of the women then excitedly help Sara fill out the application. Later at Tyrone's apartment, after he and Harry inject heroin, Harry fantasizes that he is walking alone to the end of a pier toward Marion, who turns to him smiling, filling him with joy. At the high-rise, Sara watches the game show, which promises to transform her life, if she would decide to remove red meat and refined sugar from her diet. When Sara's cravings become overwhelming, she gets a diet pill prescription from an unscrupulous physician and returns home, scoffing at the refrigerator, the symbol of her cravings. The pills make her frenetic, and as she cleans and rearranges her entire household, she begins to fidget and sweat profusely. Uptown one evening, Marion sees Arnold, her psychiatrist, to satisfy her parents' demands. On the street, Harry and Tyrone sell the heroin and use part of the huge profits to finance Marion's clothing business. Harry, happy that he might finally be on his way to a satisfying life, visits his mother and apologizes for his past behavior. At her apartment, he notices that Sara is gaunt and grinding her teeth, and asks if she is on drugs. Sara admits to taking diet pills, but, claiming that she has no reason to live without a husband or son to look after, refuses to give up the one thing that makes her feel good and helps her lose weight. Harry begs her to quit, knowing from experience how drugs can destroy her life, but she demurs. Late one night, while Tyrone is meeting some drug dealers to discuss increasing his job responsibilities, gun fire is exchanged and Tyrone is caught by the police. Harry bails Tyrone out of jail and reports that most of their money has been lost because of a drug war between Italians and Blacks. Drugs are in short supply and very expensive. The following fall, Marion and Harry, having become increasingly addicted to heroin, isolate themselves in Marion's apartment. They bicker over the last of their drug supply and at Harry's request, Marion has sex with Arnold to earn money for drugs. The betrayal ruins her relationship with Harry and emotionally devastates them. When a drug shipment finally arrives in town, Tyrone and Harry wait in line with hundreds of others at a convenience store loading dock. As the anxious crowd pushes towards the dealers, someone fires a shot and Harry returns to Marion without drugs. Frustrated by Marion's insatiable need for drugs, Harry gives her the telephone number of a pimp named Big Tim, who will provide heroin in exchange for her prostituting herself. Meanwhile, the effect of the diet pills is dwindling for Sara and she increases her dosage, causing her to hallucinate that she is actually on the game show. In her mind, the show's host appears in her apartment with the glamorous television version of Sara and they criticize and laugh at the real Sara along with the television audience. Suddenly the walls break apart, revealing that her entire apartment is a television set. Everyone then parades around her reclining chair, chanting "feed me Sara, feed me Sara." Sara, disheveled and unkept, flees the apartment and takes the subway to Malin and Block, the company that promised her a television appearance. There, she demands to know why they have not called her. The office personnel, certain that Sara is mentally ill, call the police, who take her to a psychiatric ward. Spurred by the possibility of obtaining drugs in Florida, Tyrone and Harry drive south, but when Harry begins to writhe in pain from an infection in his arm caused by injecting drugs, Tyrone takes him to a hospital and both are jailed for possession. In New York, Marion, desperate for heroin, prostitutes herself to Big Tim and returns to her apartment, numb and vomiting. She receives a call from Harry, who tearfully apologizes. When she blankly asks him to come home, he agrees, although they both know it is impossible to renew their relationship. In the psychiatric ward, Sara, completely incapable of communicating, fails to respond to the hospital attendants' attempts to force-feed her, and so the doctor orders electric shock treatment. Marion, emotionally dead from the drugs and her loss, returns to Big Tim, who pimps Marion and another girl to a group of businessmen, who viciously encourage the young women's depravity. She returns home, cradling the package of drugs she received in her arms. Somewhere in the South, Tyrone serves his time in jail doing grueling day labor and lulling himself to sleep each night with images of his mother's comfort. Harry is finally taken to a hospital by prison authorities and his arm is amputated. When he wakes up from his surgery, he hallucinates that he is running toward Marion, who is standing at the end of the pier, but she disappears before he can reach the end. As he backs up, he plummets from the top of the building seen in his dream. On her bed in the ward, Sara lies brain dead from the treatments and falls asleep smiling, her head filled with fantasies of Harry and her husband together with her on television.
Marcia Jean Kurtz
Te'ron A. O'neal
Eddie De Harp
Robert Dylan Cohen
Jimmie Ray Weeks
Stanley B. Herman
Hubert Selby Jr.
Ann Marie Auricchio
Juan Carlos Cabreja
Fancesca 'max' Corbacho
Eddie De Harp
Lee De Lang
Lori Keith Douglas
Michael C. Easter
Vincent J. Guastini
Stacy Hope Herman
Leslie Ann Jones
Thomas "redd" Laws
Paul Le Blanc
T. W. Li
Dr. Alan Lipp
Rebecca A. Miller
Talley Ware Morse
In the opening credits for Requiem for a Dream, short scenes of a television game show called "Tappy Tibbon's Month of Fury" are seen. Time lapse sequencing, split screen editing and a technique Aronofsky refers to as "hip hop" editing, make the narrative cut rapidly back and forth between scenes. For the purpose of clarity, the summary above describes each scene completely before describing the next. A November 23, 1979 Variety article states that Edgar J. Scherick and Associates were developing a film version of Requiem for a Dream, with plans for British director Alan Clarke to direct, however, it was not produced.
According to the film's presskit, the film's director, Darren Aronofsky was born and raised in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and, as a freshmen in college,was inspired by author Hubert Selby Jr.'s writing. Aronofsky's mother, Charlotte Aronofsky, and his father, Abraham Aronofsky, both play small parts in the film. The film was shot on location at Coney Island and Brooklyn, New York. The scenes of the American South were also shot in New York. As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was developed with the financial assistance of the Sundance Institute.
A August 22, 2000 Daily Variety article states that the film was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, but Artisan attempted to appeal the decision. By October 2000, Artisan released the film without a rating, however, according to a October 4, 2000 Los Angeles Times article, several New York theaters insisted on giving the film an NC-17 rating for sexual content. A Hollywood Reporter article of the same date states that Artisan agreed to make a print of the film adding that no one under 17 would be permitted admission to the film, however, the print viewed did not have the warning.
The film was selected by AFI as one of the top ten films of 2000. Ellen Burstyn received the 2001 IFP/West Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her performance and Matthew Libatique received the organization's Best Cinematographer award. Burstyn was also nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award and a Best Actress Golden Globe award.
Released in United States October 2000 (Shown at Valladolid International Film Festial October 20-28, 2000.)
Released in United States November 2000 (Shown at London Film Festival (Film on the Square) November 1-16, 2000.)
Nominated for the 2000 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn).
Voted one of the 10 best films of 2000 by the American Film Institute (AFI).
Winner of four 2000 awards, including Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Best Director (Darren Aronofsky), Best Editing (Jay Rabinowitz) and Best Original Score (Clint Mansell), from the Online Film Critics Society.
Winner of the 2000 award for Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn) from the Chicago Film Critics Association.
Winner of the 2000 Golden Satellite Award for Best Actress - Drama (Ellen Burstyn) from the International Press Academy.
Winner of the Best Film Award at the 2000 Valladolid International Film Festival.
Released in United States Fall October 6, 2000
Released in United States October 20, 2000
Released in United States on Video May 22, 2001
Released in United States July 2000
Released in United States September 2000
Released in United States October 2000
Released in United States November 2000
Released in United States 2001
Shown at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival July 5-15, 2000.
Shown at Deauville Festival of American Film September 1-10, 2000.
Shown at Boston Film Festival September 8-17, 2000.
Shown at Valladolid International Film Festial October 20-28, 2000.
Shown at London Film Festival (Film on the Square) November 1-16, 2000.
Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival (Main Programme Features) January 24 - February 24, 2001.
Based on the novel "Requiem for a Dream" by Hubert Selby, Jr.; published by Playboy Press in 1978.
Some photography took place December 1998.
Completed shooting June 16, 1999.
Began shooting April 19, 1999.
Released in United States Fall October 6, 2000 (NY)
Released in United States October 20, 2000 (Los Angeles)
Released in United States on Video May 22, 2001
Released in United States July 2000 (Shown at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival July 5-15, 2000.)
Released in United States September 2000 (Shown at Deauville Festival of American Film September 1-10, 2000.)
Released in United States September 2000 (Shown at Boston Film Festival September 8-17, 2000.)
Released in United States 2001 (Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival (Main Programme Features) January 24 - February 24, 2001.)
Artisan Entertainment distributes as part of a negative pick-up deal.