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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 12,373 users  
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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
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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 »


Nick Longhetti: Mabel is not crazy, she's unusual. She's not crazy, so don't say she's crazy.
See more »


Edited into Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) See more »


Swan Lake
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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User Reviews

Remarkable realism
26 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A Woman Under the Influence is an emotionally packed film that is centered around a capricious yet troubled housewife named Mabel. Mother to three young children and wife to her loving but volatile husband Nick, Mabel's mind is consumed with gaining acceptance and being reassured by those who surround her. Her psychological ability to keep up with normal everyday situations eventually reaches full capacity and she struggles to maintain emotional and mental competency.

Director Cassavetes intentionally chooses not to grant clemency to the viewer. Imagine walking in late to an opera that's in it's third act – that almost seems like what Cassavetes does to the audience – introducing his depiction of a distressed family while they're in mid flight. Gena Rowlands' portrayal of the likable but frail Mabel is nothing short of incredible, and Peter Falk gives an equally remarkable performance as Mabel's husband Nick. This film is not for the weak-hearted nor for those seeking traditional entertainment. It's distinctive approach to such an emotional journey will undoubtedly impede many viewer's enjoyment - but for those who appreciate unique cinema and realism, it doesn't get much better than this.

12 of 14 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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