GenreDocumentary, Biography, History Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateMay 18, 2012 (2012-05-18) WriterDan Carracino, Patrick Gambuti Jr., Kevin Hanlon CastBill W., Bob Smith, Blake J. Evans, Raymond Mamrak ScreenplayDan Carracino, Kevin Hanlon, Patrick Gambuti Jr. Similar moviesMy Name Is Bill W (1989)
Bill W. is an 2012 American biographical film directed by Dan Carracino and Kevin Hanlon, about William Griffith Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the first feature length documentary on Wilson.
The film includes interviews with several recovering alcoholics who are photographed in dark shadows to obscure their identity, and also makes use of dramatic reenactments to visualize key events in Wilson's life. Blake J. Evans portrays Wilson in the film.
Bill Wilson as Himself (voice
Dr. Bob as Himself (voice)
Blake J. Evans as Bill Wilson
Chris Gates as Dr. Bob
Leila J. Babson as Anne Smith
Kathleen Emmans as Nell Wing
Julia Schell as Lois Wilson
Laura Kauffmann as Martha Deane
Tim Intravia as Ebby T.
Rachel Lynn Jackson as Ruth Hock
Dennis Lowell as Hank Parkhurst
Ron Nagle as Bill's Grandfather
Max Owens as Young Bill Wilson
Lenore Pershing as Henrietta Seiberling
Norman Shultz as Father Ed Dowling
Francis Stallings as Kathleen Parkhurst
Catherine Hogan as Waitress
Stephen A. Schwartz as Kevin Swift
Making a film about the founder of an anonymous society presented the filmmakers with challenges. For example, by the time production began, there were few people still alive that knew Wilson, and it first appeared that there was very little visual material available on Wilson. The filmmakers were able to unearth little-seen archival footage and previously unpublished photographs of Wilson and the people in his life.
The film opened on limited release in New York City and Los Angeles on Friday, May 18, 2012.
Prior to its theatrical release, Bill W. screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival.
Upon its release, the reviews of the film have been favorable. As of May 22, 2012, the film received a 100% positive rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website and a 78 Metascore (with all favorable reviews) on Metacritic. Ernest Hardy in his Village Voice review described the film as "a loving, exhaustive, warts-and-all look at the man who spent years battling his own alcoholism before a spiritual experience in the hospital set him on the course to help others."
Sheri Linden's review in the Los Angeles Times described Bill W. as "a thoroughly engrossing portrait of Wilson, his times and the visionary fellowship that is his legacy."
Roger Ebert gave Bill W. three stars out of four, calling it "an assembly of styles. It incorporates such film footage of Bill as is available, and then uses actors to re-enact chapters in his story."