MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 472 this week

Shadows (1959)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  18 March 1961 (Denmark)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,430 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 58 critic

Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City.

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 33 titles
created 13 Jan 2013
 
a list of 48 titles
created 05 May 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 19 Jul 2013
 
a list of 22 titles
created 10 Nov 2013
 
a list of 47 titles
created 9 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Shadows" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Shadows (1959)

Shadows (1959) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Shadows.

User Polls

Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper
Love Streams (1984)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two closely bound, emotionally wounded siblings reunite after years apart.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Diahnne Abbott
Gloria (1980)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a young boy's family is killed by the mob, their tough neighbor Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian. In possession of a book that the gangsters want, the pair go on the run in New York.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Buck Henry, Julie Carmen
Big Trouble (1986)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Insurance agent plots with client to kill her nutty husband.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Beverly D'Angelo
Faces I (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An old married man leaves his wife for a younger woman. Shortly after, his ex-wife also begins a relationship with a younger partner. The film follows their struggles to find love amongst each other.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin
Opening Night (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Timothy Carey, Seymour Cassel
Pickpocket (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
Husbands (1970)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes
Johnny Staccato (TV Series 1959)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Johnny Staccato is a jazz pianist and private detective.

Stars: John Cassavetes, Eduardo Ciannelli, Frank London
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Nick is desperate, holed up in a cheap hotel, suffering from an ulcer and convinced that a local mobster wants him killed. He calls Mikey, his friend since childhood, but when Mikey arrives... See full summary »

Director: Elaine May
Stars: Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Carruthers ...
Ben
Lelia Goldoni ...
Hugh Hurd ...
Anthony Ray ...
Dennis Sallas ...
...
Tom (as Tom Allen)
David Pokitillow ...
Rupert Crosse ...
David Jones ...
Davey (as Davey Jones)
Pir Marini ...
Pir the Piano Player
Victoria Vargas ...
Jack Ackerman ...
Jack, Director of Dance Studio
Jacqueline Walcott ...
Cliff Carnell
Jay Crecco
Edit

Storyline

Benny's a hipster, moving in and out of Manhattan's beat scene, aimless, maybe close to trouble. His sister Lelia, who looks less African-American than White, is vulnerable and about to fall in love. Hugh, their older brother, is a struggling singer whose agent, Rupert, may be the only person with faith in his talent. The story moves back and forth, like jazz, among the three of them and what seems at first to be separate lives. Lelia meets Tony, and lets herself hope this is true love. Then he meets Hugh and prejudice gives Tony an excuse to cut and run. Can family and friendship bring solace for her hurt, purpose for Benny, and belief in Hugh? Is life more than shadows? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 March 1961 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Sombras  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1993 as being a work that was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". See more »

Quotes

Girl at Party: The trouble with you is, you have a case of self-induced hysteria every time you hear the word 'existentialism'.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Presented by Jean Shepherd's Night People" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Allemaal film: Een golf van vernieuwing (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful
Written by Jack Ackerman, Hunt Stevens and Eleanor Winters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Cassavetes' first
27 June 2007 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

In the end credits of "Shadows", after we read 'directed by John Cassavetes', some white letters on the screen can be seen: "The film you have just seen is improvised", they say. I am always pursuing the fact that words are so important in movies since filmmakers started using them because, basically, there's no film without a screenplay and many other reasons.

Cassavetes pursued the same goal, and he believed in the freedom of words; "Shadows" is the perfect example. It's a film with no real main characters, with no real main plot lines; it's mostly people in different situations, talking. Yes, some of the situations are connected but Cassavetes, apparently always in a rush to get to the talking, uses a fast forward technique when the characters are going somewhere or escaping from someone and are not speaking.

Appearances are everything in this movie. For example, there's a brilliant score, full of jazz influences and a lot of fantastic solos, and there's one character that says he's a jazz musician and plays the trumpet (Ben, all the characters' names are the same names the actors'). However, we never see him play the trumpet or jam with a band; he doesn't even talk about music and just wanders with his friends around the city. They do talk, a lot, and about anything that's in their minds; going from how intelligent each of them are to the hilarious analysis of a sculpture.

"Shadows" is funny in its intellectual references in parts like the one above, because these friends are not cultured. The only important female character in the film (Lelia), though, wants to be an intellectual. But again, she has one very interesting conversation with an older man at a party, about a book she's trying to write, and about how to confront reality; but nothing to do with being intellectual. At that same party, a woman is actually making an intellectual statement, full of complexity, and asks a guy beside her: "Do you agree?". "Yes", he says, but you can tell he doesn't know what she's talking about.

Another character, a singer (Hugh), talks about his glory days in occasions, and we see him perform only once; but no references to the musical industry there. The focus of Cassavetes is the singer's relationship with his manager (Rupert), which most of the time involves chats about trivial stuff and not real 'musical' talks. So the trumpet player's important deal in "Shadows" is the time he spends with his friends; the intellectual wannabe girl's is her way of handling romantic relationships (one of the movie's strong points) and the singer's is the bond with his manager…Appearances.

The reason why performances are not important in this movie is simple. Cassavetes needed people who could master improvisation, without mattering if they were actually good. I believe some of them aren't, but they surely know how to improvise in a scene, and you can notice how well they do it. "Shadows" is not about performers; it's about a way of making cinema, based on the magic of conversation; and there you could say that performances mean something.

That's why in every conversation the camera is like a stalker, constantly on the eyes of every character, constantly looking for the expressions that come with natural speech. There's a scene where the trumpet player and his friends are trying to pick up some girls. They are three, so each of them sits beside one girl (the girls are three two) in three different tables. They all talk at the same time and the camera shoots through the table, and sometimes the friends look at each other, while they say whatever they are saying…It's natural.


20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Spike lee eduardoyoung21
Lelia and Ben are black? lonelybirthday
Which came first? literatelover
The caption at the end? valerianzamel
Does any body know anything about Ben Carruthers? whyofcourse64
real mad chick song jarrodzlatic
Discuss Shadows (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?