Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1980s War Of The Roses, The (1988)

War Of The Roses, The (1988)

The War of the Roses is a ferocious black comedy about divorce, both funny and cynical.

Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver (Michael Douglas) Rose are the perfect mates whose marriage turns to manure, and Gavin D’Amato (Danny DeVito) is the lawyer who watches while their dream house in Washington DC turns into a series of battle zones that make Beirut look like a trip to Disneyland.

Most people going through divorce hell kill each other in court. This couple decides to stay at home and do it for real.

As the cold war over community property escalates into open artillery fire she serves his favourite pâté and tells him it’s his dog.


The scene in which Douglas seasons the fish stew is a standout among several wickedly excessive incidents that raise laughs as well as hackles thanks to DeVito’s bravura direction.

Under the astute direction of Danny DeVito, this acid-dipped epic of revenge is killingly funny and dramatically daring.

The three stars are marvellous, especially Turner. As an all-American homemaker hell-bent on all-American revenge, she’s a cross between Betty Crocker and the Spider Woman.

warofroses2Oliver Rose
Michael Douglas
Barbara Rose
Kathleen Turner
Gavin D’Amato
Danny DeVito
Marianne Sägebrecht
Peter Donat
Josh, aged 17
Sean Astin
Carolyn, aged 17
Heather Fairfield
Harry Thurmont
G D Spradlin
Josh, aged 10
Trenton Teigen
Carolyn, aged 10
Bethany McKinney

Danny DeVito