Requiem for a Dream

1h 42m 2000

Brief Synopsis

Evoking the inner landscape of human beings longing to connect, to love and feel loved, is this parable of happiness gloriously found and tragically lost. Parallel stories are linked by the relationship between the lonely, widowed Sara Goldfard and her sweet but aimless son, Harry. The plump Sara, g

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Nov 3, 2000
Premiere Information
New York opening: 6 Oct 2000; Los Angeles opening: 20 Oct 2000
Production Company
Artisan Entertainment; Industry and Bandeira Entertainment; Sibling/Protozoa Productions; Thousand Words
Distribution Company
Artisan Entertainment
United States
Bronx, New York, USA; Brooklyn--Brighton, New York, United States; Brooklyn--Brighton Beach, New York, United States; Brooklyn--Coney Island, New York, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novella Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby, Jr. (New York, 1978).

Technical Specs

1h 42m


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.


Ellen Burstyn

Sara Goldfarb

Jared Leto

Harry Goldfarb

Jennifer Connelly

Marion Silver

Marlon Wayans

Tyrone C. Love

Christopher Mcdonald

Tappy Tibbons

Louise Lasser


Marcia Jean Kurtz


Janet Sarno

Mrs. Pearlman

Suzanne Shepherd

Mrs. Scarlini

Joanne Gordon

Mrs. Ovadia

Charlotte Aronofsky

Mrs. Miles

Mark Margolis

Mr. Rabinowitz

Mike Kaycheck

Donut cop

Jack O'connell

Corn dog stand boss

Chas Mastin

Lyle Russel

Ajay Naidu


Sean Gullette

Arnold the shrink

Samia Shoaib

Nurse Mall

Peter Maloney

Dr. Pill

Abraham Abraham

King Neptune

Aliya Campbell


Te'ron A. O'neal

Young Tyrone

Denise Dowse

Tyrone's mother

Bryan Chattoo


Eddie De Harp

Brody's henchman Victor

Scott Franklin

Voice of jailer

Peter Howard

Sal the Geep

Brian Costello

First AD

Abraham Aronofsky

Newspaper man on train

James Chinlund

Space oddity

Olga Merediz

Malin & Block secretary

Allison Furman

Malin & Block office woman

Robert Dylan Cohen

Paramedic Greenhill

Ben Shenkman

Dr. Spencer

Keith David

Big Tim

Dylan Baker

Southern doctor

Shaun O'hagen

Wardrobe attendant Seto

Leland Gantt

Wardrobe attendant Penn

Bill Buell

Court doctor

Jimmie Ray Weeks

Prison guard

Greg Bello

E.R. doctor

Henry Stram

ECT technician

Heather Litteer

Jenny Decker

Ami Goodheart

Nina Zavarin

Stanley B. Herman

Uncle Hank

Scott Bader

Jim Centofanti

Scott Chait

Daniel Clarin

Ben Cohen

Eric Cohen

Brett Feinstein

Ricky Fier

John Getz

Andrew Kessler

Ross Lombardo

Carter Mansbach

Scott Miller

Todd Miller

Joshua Pollack

Craig Rallo

Geordan Reisner

Keith Scandore

David Seltzer

Chris Varvaro

Ricardo Viñas

Chad Weiner

Jesse Weissberger

Greg Weissman

Hubert Selby Jr.

Laughing guard

Liana Pai

Angelic nurse


Marie Abma

Assistant Costume Designer

Rise Abramson

Addl scenics

Joni Adams

Art Department intern

Alan Aguilar


Marco Ajello

Production Assistant

Dana Altomare

B Camera op

Dave Anderson

Addl best boy Electrician

Mikhael Antone


Natalie Arango

Loc intern

Will Arnot

Steadicam op

Darren Aronofsky


Darren Aronofsky

Tappy Tibbons created by

Darren Aronofsky

"Month of Fury" created by

Ann Marie Auricchio

Scenic artist

John Baer

Stills Photographer

Karla Bailey

Scenic artist

Steve Bain

Foley artist

Stephen Barden

Dial Editor/Music Editor

Ben Barenholtz

Co-Executive prod

Chris Barnett

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Dave Barraza

Dolby Sound consultant

Christopher Barron

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Jim Bartolomeo

1st Assistant Camera

Christopher Beattie

Company grips

Michael Bederman

Prod accountant

Martin Bernstein

Const Coordinator

Mark Bero

Special Effects Assistant

Marina Bery


Timothy Bird

1st Assistant Director

Sharon Blythe

Extras casting Assistant

Christian Boatsman

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Jay Boryea


Henry Boyle


Kevin Brainerd

Costume Assistant

Nicole Braitt

Company Electrician

Robert Buckman


Pete Bucossi

Stunt Coordinator

Amy Bullock

Production Assistant

Tim Burby

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Mark Burchard

Addl Wardrobe Supervisor

Ellen Burke

Production Assistant

Lucia Burns

2d 2d Assistant Director

Jeff Butcher

On set dresser

Jeb Byers

Steadicam 1st Assistant Camera

Juan Carlos Cabreja

Parking prod Assistant

Jason Caplan

ADR rec

Mary Carlton

Addl Assistant Wardrobe

Jay Carrado


Frances Catalano

Const grip

Judy Chin

Key makeup

James Chinlund

Production Design

John Clemens

Milo Assistant Camera

Thomas Coleman


Alisa Colley

Film loader

Chris Collins

Prod Coordinator

Benjamin Conable

Art Department/graphics Assistant

Fancesca 'max' Corbacho

Addl company Electrician

Michele Corn

Addl scenics

Touche Cornel


Brian Costello

Assistant to Director

Kristen Couchet

Assistant Costume Designer

John Countryman

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Jennifer Culp

Kronos Quartet member

Isabel Custer


Michael Dana

B Camera op

Mike Dana

Video Camera op, Tappy Tibbons Show

Jeremy Dawson

Visual Effects Designer and Supervisor

Eddie De Harp

"Month of Fury" created by

Lee De Lang

Assistant Sound Editor

Debra Degnan

Prod Secretary

Jon Delgado

Genny op

Brian Donahaue


Lori Keith Douglas

Unit Production Manager

Norman Douglass


Marjorie Durand

Assistant makeup

Hank Dutt

Kronos Quartet member

Michael C. Easter

Transportation co-capt

Lori Eastside

Extras casting

Brian Emrich

Sound Designer

Jeffrey Eplett

Addl gaffer

Mike Espinoza

Production Assistant

Roy Farfel


Piper Ferguson

Still Photographer for artwork by

Frank Ferrara


Kim Ferraro


Nelson Ferreira

Supervisor Sound Editor/ADR Editor

Jimi Ferrera

Addl 1st Assistant Camera

Charlotte Fleck

Dialect coach

Beau Flynn

Executive Producer

Justin Francis

Director of Photographer apprentice

Scott Franklin


Ralph Fratianni

2d const grip

Sam Friedman

Company Electrician

Alison Froling


Kenny Gaskins

Transportation capt

Adrian Gauslin

ADR rec

Jennifer Getzinger

Script Supervisor

John Gilgar

Dimmer board

Becky Glupczynski

Assistant prod Coordinator

Nick Goldfarb

Assistant prod accountant

William Gore


Ann Goulder


Jonathan Greber

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Dennis Green

24-Frame video op

Rose Gregoris

Assistant Sound Editor

Roman Greller

Set Dresser

Carolyn Griffell

Red dresses Designer

Vincent J. Guastini

Special makeup and prosthetic Effects

Gina Gyles

Foley Assistant

Rachel Haas

Wardrobe intern

Liam Halligan

Addl company Electrician

David Harrington

Kronos Quartet member

Jesse Harris

Addl 2d Assistant Camera

Quentin Harris

Key hair

Joy Hart


Walter Hart

Effects prod, Film East

Desmond Harvey

Craft service

Sandy Hays

Steadicam op

Jay Hendrickx

Scenic artist

Craig Henighan

Sound Effects Designer and Editor

Pedro Hernández

Best boy grip

Charles Hoffman


Stacy Hope Herman

Manager, Tappy Tibbons Show

Augusta Hopkins

Addl company Electrician

David Hunter

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Paul Huntley

Sara Goldfarb's wigs by

Akeo Ihara

Assistant Props master

Ken Ishii

Sound Mixer

Sylke Jackson

Addl scenics

Eliza Jimenez

Designer consultant

Drew Jiritano

Special Effects Coordinator

Tom Johnson

Re-rec mixer

Leslie Ann Jones

Music mixed by

David Kain

Stage Manager

Paul Kane


Ondine Karady

Set Decoration

Mike Kaycheck

Police adv

Peter Kelly

Foley mixer

Herb Kerr


Pamela Kezal

Wardrobe Supervisor

Nicole Klett

Assistant loc Manager

Steve Knapp


Robin Koenig


Jennifer Koestler

2d Assistant Camera

Eric Kutner

Company Electrician

Bob Lacivita

ADR rec

Richard Lamb

Addl scenics

Marcus Lambkin

DJ adv

Sean Landeros

Skywalker Sound tech staff

David Lang


Laurent Lavollay-porter

Loc Assistant

Thomas "redd" Laws

Production Assistant

Paul Le Blanc

Hair Designer for Ms. Burstyn

Bob Levy

Music rec Assistant

T. W. Li

Video eng, Tappy Tibbons Show

Matthew Libatique

Director of Photography

Mark Lidow

Skywalker Sound tech staff

Jennifer Lindesmith

Casting Associate

Dr. Alan Lipp

Medical adv

Mary Litkovich

Publicity, MPRM Public Relations

David Lomax


Byron Lovelace


Tom Luekens

Digital Editor

Freddy Luis

Casting Associate

Joe Macchia

Chief lab tech

Mark Main

Shop craftsman

Tim Main

Key craftsman

Anna Malkin

Foley Assistant

Jonathan Mall

Assistant to prod

Jonathan Mall

Post prod Coordinator

Donna Maloney

Wardrobe Supervisor

Darius Manaro

Addl scenics

Jason Marder

Addl Camera loader

Mike Marino

Addl sculptor and artist

Clint Marshall

Original score

Django Martel

Refrigerator puppeteer

Gary Martone

Key grip

Matt Mayer

Music Editor

Matt Mayer

Associate Editor

Anne Mccarthy


Jonathan Mcgrath

Production Assistant

Charles Mckenna

Assistant hair

Ernest Mckinney

Dailies projectionist

Ron Mellegers

Foley mixer

David Mendoza

Production Assistant

Jason Micallef

Company Electrician

Rebecca A. Miller

Product placement/Clearance Coordinator

Victor Morales

Addl scenics

Talley Ware Morse

Dolly grip

Andrew Mortelliti

Special Effects Assistant

John Naslen

ADR rec

Nathan Nazario

Publicity, MPRM Public Relations

Alex Newman

Casting Assistant

Andy Niceberg

Best boy Electrician

Mike Nickodem

Loc Manager

Sam Nicolary

Milo tech

Chrissy Norton


Sean O'brien

Company grip

Tim O'connell

Foley mixer

Mick O'rourke


Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Nov 3, 2000
Premiere Information
New York opening: 6 Oct 2000; Los Angeles opening: 20 Oct 2000
Production Company
Artisan Entertainment; Industry and Bandeira Entertainment; Sibling/Protozoa Productions; Thousand Words
Distribution Company
Artisan Entertainment
United States
Bronx, New York, USA; Brooklyn--Brighton, New York, United States; Brooklyn--Brighton Beach, New York, United States; Brooklyn--Coney Island, New York, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novella Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby, Jr. (New York, 1978).

Technical Specs

1h 42m

Award Nominations

Best Actress

Ellen Burstyn




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.

Miscellaneous Notes

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.