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A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 November 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 12,380 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 79 critic

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.



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Title: A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Longhetti
Fred Draper ...
George Mortensen
Lady Rowlands ...
Martha Mortensen
Katherine Cassavetes ...
Margaret Longhetti
Angelo Longhetti
Tony Longhetti
Christina Grisanti ...
Maria Longhetti
O.G. Dunn ...
Garson Cross
Harold Jensen
Eddie Shaw ...
Dr. Zepp
Angelo Grisanti ...
Vito Grimaldi
Charles Horvath ...
James Joyce ...


Peter Falk is a blue collar man trying to deal with his wife's mental instability. He fights to keep a semblance of normality in the face of her bizarre behavior, but when her actions affect their children, he has her committed. Written by BA Jacobson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eine Frau unter Einfluß  »

Box Office


SEK 2,455,317 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film represents actor-writer-director John Cassavetes only ever Academy Award nomination for directing. See more »


At the end of the film after they put the children to bed. Nick follows Mabel down the stairs but in the next shot Nick comes out of the stairway first. See more »


Mabel Longhetti: Die for Mr. Jensen, kids!
See more »


Referenced in Go Get Some Rosemary (2009) See more »


La Boheme
Music by Giacomo Puccini
See more »

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User Reviews

Courageous and Uncompromising Film
12 June 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie is a breakthrough - courageous and uncompromising view at the family and at the marriage where both spouses love each other deeply but they are both not well, they don't know how communicate when somebody else present, even their own children. They could be happy on the deserted island but not surrounded by friends and families. I was fascinated by both, Peter Falk's and Gena Rowlands' performances. She looked like a little girl, trapped in a woman's body - confused, insecure, listening to what is inside of her. When she said to her children, "I hope that you will never grow up", she meant it because she never felt comfortable as a grown up. I could not take my yes off Rowlands. Her performance is on par with the best study of nervous breakdown I've seen, and this is Liv Ullmann in Bergman's "Face to Face".

Peter Falks was also a revelation - I love him as Lt. Columbo in the TV series but he is a completely different character here; in a way, he is as mentally unbalanced as his wife is. The fact that he loves her but never hesitates to abuse her makes him terrifying - you never know how he will act in the next moment, and he does not know himself. Directing and writing are absolutely first class, and I am very exited to see more films by John Cassavetes, the Godfather of American Independent film-making and a father of American "New Wave" 9.5/10

20 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Boring, and I blame it on the direction Rrichboy
Best Actress Oscar tonyfyffe
A Woman Under the Influence or Repulsion? sightless
Great Movie. Great Performances. fake_shemp
Possible core of the film. nateedwardsone
Dad, will you please stand up for me runamuckinkent
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