Husbands (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

Husbands (1970)

Husbands (1970)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

John Cassavetes wrote and directed this look at three middle-aged men thrown into a midlife crisis when one of their mutual friends dies. Harry (Ben Gazzara), Archie (Peter Falk) and Gus (John Cassavetes) attend the funeral of their buddy David Rowlands (Stuart Jackson); all three are starting to feel the pressures of their advancing years, while Harry is having serious problems with his marriage. After the funeral, the three men decide that they need to get away from it all for a while, and they spend the next two days getting drunk, shooting hoops, playing cards, sleeping on the subway, and pretending that they're teenagers again. After 48 hours of irresponsibility, Archie and Gus decide that fun is fun but it's time to go home. But when Harry goes back to his wife, they have a huge argument; Harry storms out and decides to fly to England, persuading Archie and Gus to tag along. They get dressed up, visit a casino, and pick up beautiful women, but while Archie and Gus, as before, look at this as a brief vacation from their lives as loyal husbands and fathers, Harry doesn't want to go home, even though he seems more troubled by his infidelity than do his two friends. Cassavetes' first directorial project after his critical breakthrough with Faces, featuring intense, largely improvised performances by two of his most consistent collaborators, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk, Husbands was originally released in a cut running 154 minutes, but was trimmed to 138 minutes for general release. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic elements including sexual situations, language, drunkenness, and brief violence)
Genre: Drama, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Cassavetes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 18, 2009
Columbia Pictures


John Cassavetes
as Gus Demetri
Peter Falk
as Archie Black
Jenny Runacre
as Mary Tynan
Jenny Lee Wright
as Pearl Billingham
Jenny Wright
as Pearl Billingham
Peggy Lashbrook
as Diana Mallabee
Eleanor Zee
as Mrs. Hines
Lorraine McMartin
as Annie's mother
Edgar Franken
as Ed Weintraub
Antoinette Kray
as `Jesus Loves Me'
Gwen Van Dam
as `Jeannie'
John Armstrong
as `Happy Birthday'
Eleanor Gould
as `Normandy'
Rhonda Parker
as Margaret
Joseph Boley
as Minister
Judith Lowry
as Stuart's grandmother
Joseph Hardy
as `Shanghai Lil'
David Rowlands
as Stuart Jackson
Reta Shaw
as Annie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Husbands

Critic Reviews for Husbands

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (6)

Few films capture with such life-affirming wonder the despair, hatred, and incomprehension that drives the sexes together and apart.

Full Review… | May 3, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

It is almost unbearably long. It is a narrative film without any real narrative, and although it is a movie about three characters, those characters are seen almost exclusively in terms of their limiting relationship.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

John Cassavetes' Husbands is disappointing in the way Antonioni's Zabriskie Point was. It shows an important director not merely failing, but not even understanding why.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

This 1970 film is John Cassavetes's most irritating, full of the male braggadocio and bluster that mar even some of his best work. But it's impossible to dismiss or shake off entirely.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Highly uneven, painfully drawn-out, deeply sincere, wildly misogynistic and at times agonisingly tedious. It is also intermittently brilliant, with moments of piercing honesty.

Full Review… | September 30, 2012
Observer [UK]

Cassavetes was a masterful anti-Hollywood director who probed human failings until he reached right under the skin.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012
This is London

Audience Reviews for Husbands

I know Cassavetes' style is an acquired taste, and pushes the boundaries of cinematic narrative devices (thereby attracting lots of detractors), but I find his work to generally be sharply observational and endlessly fascinating. Husbands (his first of many collaborations with Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk), though, marks a point in John's career where his style reached and erroneously rammed up against its logical conclusion. His scenes take time to develop -- here, they take too long; he promotes the small idiosyncrasies in people to inform and push along his character development -- here, the moments are too small and tedious; he loves showcasing the suburban malaise of middle-aged men -- here, their plights are void of proper context, thus rendering their tumultuous behavior meaningless.

And then there's Cassavetes' emphasis on improvisation. Most of the time, he uses it to great effect -- here, it seems like on more than one occasion, the silence exists not to punctuate a piece of dialogue, but to meander while the actors think of what to say next. Interestingly enough, Cassavetes decided to cast himself as the third friend, a role that is closest to a mediator, a relatively gentle middle ground between Gazzara's pent-up-to-the-point-of-explosive rage and Falk's snarky overconfidence. Together they are meant to convey some sense of stranded masculinity, caught in the crosshairs of the encroaching ethos of counterculture love and their perceived need to remain stoic and impenetrable, but they just come across as childish. I know Husbands is supposed to be his critique of unchecked masculinity and the misogyny that accompanies it, but as a time capsule rendition of men being boys, the film certainly has an inherent intrigue, but it is not one of Cassavetes' strongest films.

Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

I am a huge Cassavettes fan and am the first one to say that this film is not for everyone. There are sections of this film (like most of his films) that people will find boring and way over the top, but it's something I find enduring and really enjoy watching. This is one of the first times where I have actually watched a Cassavettes film and thought, yeah, he could of cut some of this stuff out. Overall, I still enjoyed hanging out with John, Ben, and Peter for nearly three hours and going into this film, it's best to realize that is what you are doing. I think the film, for me, really picked up in the second half when the crew heads to London (the scenes of the three of these guys picking up women was everything I wanted it to be: awkward, funny, strange, and real). This is also definitely one of the best looking of Cassavettes' films with Victor J, Kemper adding technique to Cassavettes shoot from the hip style. Like most of his films, it probably just needs another watch.

Tim Sigur

Super Reviewer

Far more effective in my opinion on showing the impact of death on the male psyche. The wanderings of the three husbands is revealing and far too realistic.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Husbands Quotes

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