The Night of the Iguana (1964)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Filmed on location in Mexico by John Huston, Night of the Iguana stars Richard Burton as Rev. Shannon, an alcoholic defrocked minister, who scratches out a living as a south-of-the-border tour guide. His latest customers are several American schoolteachers, and he guides their bus to a rundown hotel owned by flamboyant widow Maxine Faulk (Ava Gardner). Attempting to dally with Charlotte Goodall (Sue Lyon), one of the schoolteachers, Shannon is caught in the act by the group's "den mother" Judith … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Tennessee Williams, John Huston, Anthony Veiller
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 2, 2006


as Rev. Dr. T. Lawrence...

as Maxine Faulk

as Hannah Jelkes

as Charlotte Goodall

as Hank Prosner

as Judith Fellowes

as Miss Peebles

as Miss Dexter

as Miss Throxton

as Barkeeper

as Teacher

as Teacher

as Teacher

as Chang

as Hank Prosner
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Night of the Iguana

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Critic Reviews for The Night of the Iguana

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

Direction by John Huston is resourceful and dynamic as he sympathetically weaves together the often-vague and philosophical threads that mark Tennessee Williams' writing.

Full Review… | May 5, 2008
Top Critic

No one but Tennessee Williams could have concocted it, but anyone other than John Huston should have directed it.

Full Review… | May 5, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Films of Tennessee Williams' plays now often look very artificial and overwrought, but with this Huston came up with one of the best.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Huston has got some scenic beauty of the Mexican coast here and there in black-and-white. But the setting, at the last, becomes monotonous -- just like the all-talk, no-play film.

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

Though uneven and not as powerful as other Williams-based films, Huston's version benefits from a high-profile cast, headed by Burton, Deborah Kerr, Sue Lyon and best of all Ava Gardner as the lusty hotel owner and Grayson Hall as the repressed lesbian

Full Review… | July 21, 2008

Alternately fascinating and boring.

Full Review… | May 5, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Night of the Iguana


The Night of the Iguana is adapted from a play by Tennessee Williams and directed by John Huston. That said, it's almost unnecessary to explain the combination of intense, believable and uninhibited drama and towering performances from all actors. We are told the story of Reverend Shannon, a clergyman gone astray, torn to the bone between his passions and his devotion, who has gone to conduct religious-themed tours across Pacific Mexico after a "spooky" episode during a sermon in his former church. During the tour, an overexcited young girl does her best to take him over the edge and he enters a feverish, almost insane state of mind; from this point on he is left to battle the ill influences of the rest of the tourists, takes refuge at a friend's bungalow complex in Puerto Vallarta, and comes across a world-wandering sketch artist and her poet grandfather.
The character of Shannon is played brilliantly by Richard Burton: an epic performance, one that flows effortlessly and empathetically from the wildest to the most peaceful states of mind. His portrayal of a man fighting his demons, slowly losing track of the limits between the "realistic" and the "fantastic" is perfect. Ava Gardner plays his hotel-owner friend, a smaller but fascinating role, also a collision of passion and frailty. In all truth, everyone, from Sue Lyon and her annoying squeals and Deborah Kerr's quietly dignified bohemian deliver solid work.
However, in spite of all this, the most remarkable aspect of The Night of the Iguana, aside from the lush cinematography and scenery, is the way in which so much emotional turmoil happens in such short episodes. Passion and despair overflow in every scene, in every word -the dialogue is brilliant, absolutely quotable-, all while the film itself, the shots even, are very closed and restrained. It feels as if the entire film is about to implode. I still have to look more into Huston's work but The Night of the Iguana is a remarkable film and completely recommended.

Elvira B

Super Reviewer


Great acting, great directing and great writing. You can't ask for much more in a drama. This is a lot different than most Southern centric Tennessee Williams plays, but it's actually a warm welcome to me. It just proves that a great writer can change settings and normal trends and still be effective. Richard Burton is at the top of his game, playing a tragic drunkard on the verge of madness. I also think Sue Lyon's performance is a great spin on hers from Lolita. While John Huston may be known for his action adventure movies, this is given just as much effort and skill.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

I loved this movie. It has this clammy, sweltering feel to it. Ava Gardner was beautiful in her role as the nervous and passionate Maxine. Richard Burton was just as entertaining as in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

The movie is based on a play by Tennessee Williams, and perhaps because of that, the words and dialogs are superb (for me personally anyway).
The characters of the three women are antagonistic and that's what makes it a joy to watch.

Another plus: I thought the movie would be about a man lusting for different women, but that's not at all the direction it took!

Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

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