Watch My Name Is Bill W.
- 1 hr 40 min
In 1989, director Daniel Petrie brought to life the powerful story of Bill Wilson and the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in the made-for-tv movie My Name Is Bill W. Starring James Woods as Bill Wilson and JoBeth Williams as his wife Lois, the film chronicles Billâs struggle with alcoholism, his friendship with fellow alcoholic and physician Dr. Bob Smith (portrayed by James Garner), and the eventual creation of the 12-step program that has impacted millions of people around the world.
The movie begins in the 1920s with Bill Wilson as a New York stockbroker struggling with alcohol addiction. He initially dismisses the idea of abstaining from alcohol, believing that he can control his drinking. However, after his career, marriage, and health begin to suffer, he realizes that he needs help.
Through a mutual friend, Bill meets Dr. Bob Smith, a surgeon and fellow alcoholic who is also struggling with the disease. The two become friends and begin to support each other's sobriety through regular meetings and honest, no-nonsense conversations. They also eventually come to believe that they can help other alcoholics by sharing their experiences and developing a program that can help others achieve sobriety.
Despite initial skepticism from some of their peers, Bill and Dr. Bob continue to work on the development of their program, which becomes known as Alcoholics Anonymous. The two men present their program to other alcoholics and are eventually able to help many people achieve sobriety.
The movie also follows the personal lives of Bill and Lois Wilson, as well as their struggles with alcoholism and the impact it has on their relationship. It highlights the importance of forgiveness and understanding in relationships, even in the face of addiction.
One of the most powerful moments in the film comes when Bill participates in a successful intervention for a fellow alcoholic, breaking the cycle of addiction and helping the man find a path to sobriety. The moment showcases the compassion, empathy, and willing spirit of those involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and illustrates the transformative power of the group's program.
Overall, My Name Is Bill W. is a moving and inspiring depiction of the history and impact of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a sobering reminder of the destructive nature of addiction and the importance of support, community, and honest communication in achieving and maintaining sobriety. James Woods delivers an outstanding performance as Bill Wilson, portraying the character's vulnerability, passion, and complexity with empathy and nuance. JoBeth Williams is also excellent as Lois, a loyal and loving partner who is forced to confront her own demons alongside her husband. James Garner is equally strong as Dr. Bob Smith, a man whose wit and intelligence belies his own struggles with addiction. The film serves as a tribute to Wilson's pioneering work and the millions of people who have benefited from the program he helped create.
My Name Is Bill W. is a 1989 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.