All About “The Rose” Day

The Rose

The Rose is a 1979 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 Janis Joplin. It was written by Michael Cimino and Bo Goldman from a story by Bill Kerby, and directed by Mark Rydell. The film was marketed with the tagline “She gave and gave, until she had nothing left to give”.

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

The lyrics of the theme song, “The Rose,” written by Amanda McBroom and sung in the movie by Bette Midler, play across the screen at the end of the credits. It became a top 3 hit for Midler, and one her best known songs.

Main cast

Actor Role
Bette Midler The Rose (Mary Rose Foster)
Alan Bates Rudge Campbell
Frederic Forrest Houston Dyer
Harry Dean Stanton Billy Ray
Barry Primus Dennis
David Keith Pfc. Mal
Sandra McCabe Sarah Willingham
Doris Roberts Rose’s mother (non-speaking role)

Plot summary
In 1969, Mary Rose Foster is a famous rock ‘n’ 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. 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 whose songs she performs in her show, Rose takes off with a limousine driver named Houston Dyer and begins a romance with him. They hang out at a nightclub, where Rose used to perform, only for her to sing with a bunch of female impersonators.

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 “Drugs, Sex, and Rock & Roll” and constant touring lead her to an inevitable breakdown. The final act that breaks them apart is him witnessing her passionately kissing her former lesbian lover Sarah Willingham. In the film’s ending, Rose collapses on stage from a fatal drug overdose in the opening minutes of her long-awaited homecoming concert in Florida.

DVD details

* Release date: August 19, 2003
* Anamorphic Widescreen
* Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1
* Audio tracks: English Dolby Digital 4.0 [CC]

English Dolby Digital Surround [CC]

French Dolby Digital Surround

* Subtitles: English, Spanish
* Special Features: Audio commentary by director Mark Rydell

* Running time: 125 minutes

“The Rose” is a pop song written by Amanda McBroom and featured in the 1979 movie The Rose, in which it was performed by Bette Midler. Midler hit #3 on the U.S. pop charts with her version, which was certified as a gold single. Since then it has been covered by a variety of artists.

Midler’s version of “The Rose” was played in a 1987 episode of the soap opera Days of our Lives, to signify the sorrow felt by the character Kayla Brady, who had just been raped. The song was also showcased in the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite. Napoleon and his classmates performed a routine in sign language with the song as accompaniment. This routine is where the famous “butterfly flapping” movement came from.

A Japanese translation of the song titled “Love is a Flower, You are the Seed” (愛は花、君はその種子, Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa Sono Tane) was the ending theme of Studio Ghibli’s 1991 anime feature Omohide Poro Poro, also known as Only Yesterday, performed by Harumi Miyako.

LeAnn Rimes‘ 1997 album includes “The Rose” as one of the tracks. America’s Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan (who also covered “You Light Up My Life”) includes “The Rose” in her eponymous debut album.

Country singer Conway Twitty recorded a No. 1 cover version in 1983.

In November 2006, boyband Westlife released “The Rose” as the first single from their new album (who also covered “You light up my life”). The single reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart, registering a huge climb to get there, as it had charted at #143 the week before based solely on download sales.

Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes translated and sang the song on her 1997 album MÃ¥nestein.

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