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 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. 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 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.
The Rose (1979)
Oirected by: Mark Rydell
Starring: Bette Midler, Alan Bates, Frederic Forrest, Harry Dean Stanton, Barry Primus, David Keith, Sandra McCabe, Don Calfa
Screenplay by: Bo Goldman, Bill Kerby
Production Design by: Richard Macdonald
Cinematography by: Vilmos Zsigmond
Film Editing by: Carroll Timothy O’Meara, Robert L. Wolfe
Costume Design by: Theoni V. Aldredge
Set Decoration by: Bruce Weintraub
Art Direction by: James L. Schoppe
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 9, 1979