Shadows (1959) - Rotten Tomatoes

Shadows (1959)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Shadows Photos

Movie Info

Shadows was John Cassavetes' first directorial effort. Like his later critically acclaimed films Faces and Husbands, Cassavetes fills the screen with probing, unflattering closeups. Unlike his other films, however, Shadows zips along at 87 minutes, avoiding the pitfall of putting the director's nonfans to sleep. The film is a straightforward account of a biracial romance (a far less common film subject in 1960 than today). Light-skinned African-American Lelia Goldoni falls in love with a white man Anthony Ray, who spurns her when he meets the rest of her family. Far from subtle, Shadows benefits from the undisciplined energy of its direction and the excellence of its individual performances. Costing a scant $40,000 (less than the average half hour TV episode of the era), Shadows won the Critic's Award at the Cannes Film Festival and led to more expensive studio assignments for John Cassavetes.

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Jay Grecco
as Brawler
Bob Rech
as Taxi Driver
Joyce Miles
as Girl in Restaurant
Nancy Deale
as Girl in Restaurant
Gigi Brooks
as Girl in Restaurant
Lynn Hamilton
as Girl at Party
Marilyn Clark
as Girl at party
Joanne Sages
as Girl at Party
Jed McGarvey
as Girl at Party
Greta Thyssen
as Girl at party
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News & Interviews for Shadows

Critic Reviews for Shadows

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (9)

Shadows is not a film in which issues need to be resolved. It captures the tensions of its society on a vividly expressive level, and that is its strength.

January 11, 2020 | Full Review…

[Shadows is] so far ahead of all Hollywood and independent films that once you've seen [it] you can no longer look at the official cinema: you know that American cinema can be more sensitive and intelligent.

November 17, 2017 | Full Review…

Again and again the line between acting and living is erased. Caught in the ecstasy of collective creation, a handful of earnest amateurs have almost accidentally produced a flawed but significant piece of folk art.

September 27, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Beat generation espoused a rejection of mainstream American values, and John Cassavetes's Shadows feels like a relic from that movement.

February 14, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

This is the only Cassavetes film made without a full script (it grew out of acting improvs), and rarely has so much warmth, delicacy, and raw feeling emerged so naturally and beautifully from performances in an American film.

April 29, 2007 | Full Review…

A very modern, impressionistic snapshot of New York bohemia with scenes linked not by dramatic line but by place, time and mood.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Shadows

Don't have much to say about this movie, seems others enjoyed it I did Not. 1 Star 3-2514

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


A new-waveish beatnik sociopolitical commentary that gets far less recognition than it deserves.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


This is a pretty good, and very different, drama movie, but it's not all that exciting or intense. Plus, I wasn't familiar or impressed with any of the actors.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Shadows Quotes

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