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A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her mental illness proves to be a problem in the marriage.




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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:
Lady Rowlands ...
Katherine Cassavetes ...
Margaret Longhetti
Angelo Longhetti
Tony Longhetti
Christina Grisanti ...
Maria Longhetti
George Dunn ...
Garson Cross (as O.G. Dunn)
Harold Jensen
Eddie Shaw ...
Dr. Zepp
Angelo Grisanti ...
Vito Grimaldi
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 <pcfe2151@cybercom.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eine Frau unter Einfluß  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cassavetes initially wrote the film as a play but wife Gena Rowlands talked him out of it, stating the role would be far too harrowing and exhausting to play night-after-night. See more »


On the ride home from the beach, the can jumps from Angelo's hand to Nicky's. See more »


Mabel Longhetti: Dad... will you stand up for me?
George Mortensen: Sure.
[stands up]
Mabel Longhetti: No, I don't mean that. Sit down, Dad. Will you please stand up for me?
See more »


Song of My Mother
Written by Angelo Grisanti
See more »

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User Reviews

Remarkable realism
26 June 2009 | by 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.

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