Bill W. | Indy Week

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Rated NR · 104 min. · 2012


One of the more unsung yet hugely influential figures of the 20th century is one William G. Wilson. Better known as Bill W., his full name was only revealed upon his death, when he was hailed for having founded Alcoholics Anonymous in the mid-1930s. When Bill W., a failed stock speculator, finally found sobriety after 17 years of alcoholism, he set out to help others as part of a quasi-religious renunciation of his ego. His approach, a synthesis of spiritual, psychological and medical insights, led to a remarkable mutual aid society that has spread around the world. Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino's documentary is an engrossing mixture of archival footage (including numerous vocal and visual recording of Bill W.), talking-head interviews and tastefully executed reenactments. The film manages to steer clear of hagiography and by the end, we're marveling at the suffering, perseverance and sacrifice of this man, who achieved 37 years of sobriety but nonetheless begged for a drink on his deathbed.
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Director: Dan Carracino and Kevin Hanlon
Writer: Patrick Gambuti Jr. and Kevin Hanlon
Producer: Dan Carracino and Kevin Hanlon
Cast: Blake J. Evans, Chris Gates, Dennis Lowell, Julia Schell, Tim Intravia, Leila Babson, Lenore Pershing, Max Owens, Ron Nagle and Laura Kauffmann


Bill W.

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