Cinema's most memorable drinkers

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As the announcement comes that Russell Brand is to essay the title role in a remake of classic Cuddly Dudley boozeathon ‘Arthur’, Time Out toasts some of the big screen’s most inimitable inebriates

Geoffrey Firmin (Albert Finney) in ‘Under the Volcano’

Forget lightweight Nicky Cage and his Vegas adventure, the real king of dipsomaniac suicide is Finney’s monstrous British consul, staggering through the last days of his appointment to a remote Mexican backwater. John Huston’s film may struggle to capture the spirit (no pun intended) of Malcolm Lowry’s towering novel, but Finney anchors the piece with his blank-eyed, pitiable, Oscar-nominated performance.Tipple of choice: Anything, everything, all the timeSlurred speech: ‘Hell is my natural habitat’

Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

The first lady of big screen besozzlement has to be Karen Allen’s no-nonsense, hard-livin’ adventuress and part-time Nepalese pub owner. Not content with drinking a yeti under the table in her first few minutes on screen, she later attempts to entrap fifth column oenophile Paul Freeman by dressing in slinky white and downing excessive quantities of his family home brew. Suffice to say, the plan goes awry.Tipple of choice: Himalayan yak pissSlurred speech: ‘C’mon, I’ll buy you a drink. You know, a drink?’

Elwood P Dowd (James Stewart) in ‘Harvey’

No violent rages, liver failure or rampant obscenity for Elwood P, the gentlest and kindliest of all cinematic tipplers – his elbow-bending excess manifests itself in the form of a giant invisible rabbit, and a general air of holy innocent avuncularity. In attempting to question the efficacy of clinical psychiatry, director Henry Koster comes up with a pretty ringing endorsement for perpetual drunkenness.Tipple of choice: Whatever you’re having, my good manSlurred speech: ‘I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it’

The entire island of Todday in ‘Whisky Galore!’

There is no more glowing advertisement for the pleasures of rampant, four-sheets hoochery than Ealing’s delightfully simple tale of a dry Scottish island who find a boatload of finest whisky washed up on their sandbanks. Check out the film’s joyful first montage sequence, as the population drown their sorrows in a giddy, malt-fuelled shindig of Biblical proportions.Tipple of choice: Um… guessSlurred speech: ‘It's a well-known fact that some men were born two drinks below par’

ET in ‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial’

Proof, if it were needed, that there’s no booze in space: not only does Big E get wankered off his first sip of Bud Lite, he also telepathically projects his canned consciousness into that of poor, unsuspecting schoolboy Elliott, causing him to draw on the walls, join the frog liberation front and snog Erika Eleniak while classroom surfing on a fallen fat child.Tipple of Choice: BudweiserSlurred speech: N/A

Zack (Tom Waits) in ‘Down by Law’

Musically, he was always the barfly’s barfly (see: ‘The Piano has Been Drinking (Not Me)’), and when he moved into acting Waits saw no reason for a change of direction. He was a barhop in ‘Rumble Fish’ and a soak in ‘Short Cuts’, but his finest screen appearance has to be as pie-eyed poet Zack in Jim Jarmusch’s B&W slacker escapade. Tipple of choice: Warm Beer and Cold WomenSlurred speech: ‘It’s a sad and beautiful world’

Orson Welles as Himself in ‘F for Fake’

The lugubrious raconteur par excellence, Orson was ‘on’ his whole life, as proven by his stand-out performance playing ‘Orson Welles’ in this wry slice of gloriously self-satisfied hoodwinkery. Stuffing his face with European haute cuisine and quaffing multiple magnums of the most overpriced plonk, the great director effortlessly charms the pants off artists, muses, the hoi polloi and the audience.Tipple of choice: The finest wines available to humanitySlurred speech: ‘For the past seventeen minutes, I've been lying my head off’

Dumbo in ‘Dumbo’

Led astray by his last buddy in the whole woild, Timothy Q Mouse, hapless young circus elephant Dumbo collapses into a vat of unspecified grog and embarks on a deeply weird, artistically ground-breaking psychedelic rollercoaster ride involving exploding pink elephants, crazy dancing modern art pyramids and cha-cha music, before discovering his life’s purpose by flying into a tree. If only real booze was this much fun…Tipple of choice: Whatever comes in bucketsSlurred speech: N/A

Author: Tom Huddleston



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