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Shadows (1959)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 4,335

My Rating

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


Drama, Romance, Classics

John Cassavetes

Apr 7, 1998

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (0) | DVD (10)

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 Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shadows is an unfinished picture in every sense of the word. Yet it is fitfully dynamic, endowed with a raw but vibrant strength, conveying an illusion of being a record of real people, and it is incontestably sincere.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Arguably the founding work of the American independent cinema.

June 17, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cassavetes' startling debut piece.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

In this experimental film, Cassavetes' approach and a cast of unknowns brought a new sense of realism to the American cinema.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It's Cassavetes's auspicious debut film as director.

September 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

a cinematic improvisation (as the end credits mention) of amateur vitality

December 8, 2008 Full Review Source:

Even decades later, it has a spark of exciting newness about it.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Its importance in the development of the American independent movement cannot be overstated, nor can the unique power it still retains.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The film's underlying strength is its wrenching portrait of resigned despair over the world's inescapable prejudice.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Regardless of the veracity of the improvisational claim, Shadows is a remarkable film.

March 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

In Cassavetes's inventive and iconoclastic hands, both the content and form of American film underwent a radical transformation.

February 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A fascinatingly honest portrayal of its time, and radical not just in content but in form.

September 13, 2001
New Times

Audience Reviews for Shadows

Don't have much to say about this movie, seems others enjoyed it I did Not. 1 Star 3-2514
July 22, 2014
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

A new-waveish beatnik sociopolitical commentary that gets far less recognition than it deserves.
April 6, 2012
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.
November 21, 2010

Super Reviewer

Classic American cinema, way ahead of the rest with an important message to boot. Not only was the subject matter original in film but so was the production. Essential viewing for film fans and especially film makers. It has to be one of the coolest films ever made!
May 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

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