Lightning Over Water (1980)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 905 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 18 critic

Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to ... See full summary »


(as Nick Ray) ,
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Allen Garfield, Samuel Fuller, Isabelle Weingarten
Tokyo-Ga (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Moved by the work of director Yasujirô Ozu, Wim Wenders travels to Japan in search of the Tokyo seen in Ozu's films.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Werner Herzog, Yûharu Atsuta
Hammett (1982)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The novel writter Dashiell Hammett is involved in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful chinese cabaret actress in San Francisco.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Frederic Forrest, Peter Boyle, Marilu Henner
Room 666 (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Wim Wenders, Michelangelo Antonioni, Maroun Bagdadi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Wim Wenders talks with Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto about the creative process and ponders the relationship between cities, identity and the cinema in the digital age.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Wim Wenders, Yohji Yamamoto
Wrong Move (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Six days in the life of Wilhelm: a detached man without qualities. He wants to write, so his mother gives him a ticket to Bonn, telling him to live. On the train he meets an older man, an ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Rüdiger Vogler, Hanna Schygulla, Hans Christian Blech
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The most complete, newly restored version of Nicholas Ray's experimental masterpiece embodies the director's practice of film-making as a "communal way of life." Ray plays himself in the ... See full summary »

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Richard Bock, Tom Farrell, Danny Fisher
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A drama that investigates anxiety and disillusionment in America.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Michelle Williams, John Diehl, Wendell Pierce
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out film-theatres. He meets up with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Rüdiger Vogler, Hanns Zischler, Lisa Kreuzer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Hanns Zischler, Edda Köchl, Libgart Schwarz
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tom Ripley, who deals in forged art, suggests a picture framer he knows would make a good hit man.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz, Lisa Kreuzer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Directors: Ronee Blakley, Wim Wenders
Stars: Rusty Anderson, Chuck Billings, Ronee Blakley


Credited cast:
Pierre Cottrell ...
Becky Johnston ...
Tom Kaufman ...
Pat Kirck ...
Martin Müller ...
Craig Nelson ...
Nicholas Ray ...
Susan Ray ...
Timothy Ray ...


Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to help Ray realize his final wish. Ray's original intent is to make a fiction film about a dying painter who sails to China to find a cure for his disease. He and Wenders discuss this idea, but it is obviously unrealistic given Ray's state of health. Written by Karl Engel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Drama


See all certifications »





Release Date:

23 November 1984 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Nick's Film - Lightning Over Water  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final film directed by Nicholas Ray. Also marks as his first documentary. See more »


Featured in Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »


Lightning Over Water
Performed by Ronee Blakley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

See this movie if you love Nicholas Ray
25 April 2000 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

This is not a movie for Wenders fans as much as it is for Nick Ray fans. In fact, I wouldn't recommend it unless you felt connected to the director. And I don't mean that you've happened to rent Johnny Guitar, In a Lonely Place or They Live By Night. See it if you saw a theme in Ray's work, one that made you go back and learn about his life. See it if you re-watched his films, trying to understand every cut and what it told you about the man behind the camera. See it if it bothers you that he will never make another film. Because in Lightning over water Nicholas Ray invites you to share his death with him, and, if you see it, you must be prepared to grieve. I saw this movie late one night in my college dorm room (a college with a featured role in the film, but that is merely tangential). I didn't let anyone watch it with me. The previous summer my grandfather had died in the same drawn-out manner. He was surrounded by family from the time of his diagnosis to the time of his death. Wenders and his crew are Nick Ray's family -- a love of the director's work is the blood connecting them. Wenders carries a camera with him because he knows that others -- even those who never heard of Nicholas Ray until he was dead for 18 years -- have the same blood in them. Wenders gives us the chance. But it is Nick Ray who we come to see.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Really that great? joseflloyd
Movie that Ray wanted to make Jericho_One
Discuss Lightning Over Water (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page