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Lightning Over Water (1980)

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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 »

Directors:

Nicholas Ray (as Nick Ray), Wim Wenders
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Gerry Bamman ... Himself
Ronee Blakley ... Herself
Pierre Cottrell ... Himself
Stefan Czapsky ... Himself
Mitch Dubin ... Himself
Tom Farrell ... Himself
Becky Johnston Becky Johnston ... Herself
Tom Kaufman Tom Kaufman ... Himself
Pat Kirck Pat Kirck ... Himself
Edward Lachman ... Himself
Martin Müller Martin Müller ... Himself
Craig Nelson Craig Nelson ... Himself
Nicholas Ray ... Himself
Susan Ray Susan Ray ... Herself
Timothy Ray Timothy Ray ... Himself
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Storyline

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 <cassiel@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Sweden | West Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1984 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Nick's Film - Lightning Over Water See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Wim Wenders: I didn't come here to talk about dying Nic... but we might have to.
Nicholas Ray: But we might have to?
Wim Wenders: I was looking forward to seeing you, because I need your advice. You told me on the phone that you wanted to see me, but I was afraid to come too. And I think I'd rather tell you right now; why. I was aware that I'd see you in weakness, and... that... you might be worried about being seen this way. But I feel it's okay now. There is something else that came to my mind in the plane last night, that I'm ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

After Nicholas Ray died, Wenders was too depressed to help edit the film, so he left it to Peter Przygodda. Przygodda spent a year working on it and this was the 116-minute version shown at the Cannes Film Festival. Wenders however, was disturbed by this version and found it depressing and obscure. He spent three months with Chris Sievernich re-editing the film. Aside from cutting more than 25 minutes, he added more footage of Susan as well as his narration of Ray's diary. This 91-minute version is the one distributed by the Wim Wenders Foundation. See more »

Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Lightning Over Water
Performed by Ronee Blakley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
not a simple film
3 June 2002 | by pyamadaSee all my reviews

Wenders gives the viewer the impression that this is a simple movie, but it is not. Fans of Wenders will recognize director Nicholas Ray's apartment as a location for the film, American Friend. But not only is Ray simply dying, he dies, and the "documentary" has to change, and so it does, with grace, pain, uncertainty, and a host of other emotions and observations. The music, much of it featuring Ronee Blakley, doing what sounds like an attempt at light punk rock and country-folk rock, with a definite Patti Smith influence, is very effective. Like every film I have seen by Wenders, it looks beautiful and often unusual, and the pacing is leisurely, and by Hollywood standards, slow. However, anyone who likes Wenders and likes Ray--and let's face it, if you say you are a fan of American film, and you neither like nor know Nicholas Ray, you are an ignorant piker, poser--will benefit from screening this movie, and probably be moved like hell by it.


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