Opening Night (1977)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  17 April 1978 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 5,391 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 48 critic

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



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Samuels
Zohra Lampert ...
Dorothy Victor
Nancy Stein
Gus Simmons
Ray Powers ...
Louise Lewis ...
Kelly (as Louise Fitch)
Fred Draper ...
Katherine Cassavetes ...
Lady Rowlands ...
Melva Drake
Carol Warren ...


A young woman gets killed in an accident trying to meet her favorite actress Myrtle Gordon after a play. Then Myrtle Gordon felt responsible for the killing leading her down to an emotional crisis that interferes with her professional work as an actress. Written by Chemi González <>

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PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 April 1978 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Noche de estreno  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Third and final of three collaborations of actor Ben Gazzara and writer-director John Cassavetes, the others being Husbands (1970) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), the latter being the only one that Cassavetes did not act in. The pair also both appeared in a non-Cassavetes written and directed movie, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). See more »


A bus rolls by the New Haven theater with an ad for KBIG FM 104, a Los Angeles station. See more »


Sarah Goode: Just please tell me what this play doesn't express.
Myrtle Gordon: Hope.
See more »


Referenced in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Debunking the Myth of Improvisation
1 December 2004 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Opening Night is my favorite Cassavetes, and I feel it is my duty to debunk the notion that those or any of his films aside from Shadows was strictly improvised. In fact, his films were tightly scripted after actor improvisation was used to contribute to his ideas. The coherence of a film like Opening Night, the development of the themes of aging, vanity, and hope, could not just spring from the improvisational head of even the very fine actors in the movie. If you pay attention to the dialogue (outside of the lines in the play), it is obvious that much care was taken to craft them (e.g., the scene where Myrtle explains to the playwright what problems she is having with the character and script).

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