Wanda (1971)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Wanda Photos

Movie Info

In this stark character study, Barbara Loden plays a girl from a remote mining town, timidly searching for security and love in the Big City. After several desultory and abusive relationships, Wanda is "saved" by Michael Higgins, who turns out to be a petty crook.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Foundation for Filmmakers


Barbara Loden
as Wanda Goronski, Wanda
Michael Higgins
as Norman Dennis
Frank Jourdano
as Soldier
Charles Dosinan
as Dennis' Father
Valerie Manches
as Girl in Roadhouse
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Critic Reviews for Wanda

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (7)

[Loden] captures the ambiance of small-time roadhouses with compelling accuracy; she manages through some clever location photography to convey an almost overwhelming sense of lingering desperation.

Full Review… | September 28, 2015
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

If there is a female counterpart to John Cassavetes, Barbara Loden is it.

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

[The film] grows in observation, insight and impact as it goes along.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Top Critic

A brilliantly atmospheric film with a superb performance by Loden.

Full Review… | September 22, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Wanda is the singular vision of an artist who hailed from surroundings as bleak and limited as her title character's.

Full Review… | October 26, 2010
Village Voice
Top Critic

The film is all the more impressive for its refusal to get embroiled in half-baked political attitudinising.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Wanda

I want to begin this review by saying I did not watch Wanda on my own free will; it was screened in my film class at school. Had I not been told about it by my professor, I would have never heard of this. Wanda is perhaps the most no-name film I've ever seen; equipped with a tiny budget and bad actors, it makes a lot of sense as to why this film made no audience or money. To be honest, I was expecting worse; it was pretty bad, but not as terrible as I was anticipating. The first 20 minutes or so is forgettable nonsense and the main chunk of the movie (which is the middle) is alright. It reminded me of Bonnie and Clyde, as a criminal named Mr. Dennis slowly teaches the naive and idiotic Wanda the ropes of being a criminal. The ending seemed completely out of place and did not properly but a cap on what the movie showed us, so overall it amounted to nothing. The acting was also pretty bad, mainly from supporting roles. The best parts of Wanda were a couple of relatively humorous scenes that showcased Wanda's naivety and, well, dumbness. Overall, I wouldn't recommend Wanda to anyone but the most die-hard of art house fans.

Kevin Mozulay
Kevin Mozulay

Super Reviewer

Wanda is a interesting experimental / independent film, that presents a sad and boring "Bonnie and Clyde" lifestyle with lost characters and empty life. The title character Wanda is so alone, that, stay with the person that most hate her, this is the level of dumb and sadness in both people on Wanda. Loden's drama it's in the my list of the most disappoint films that I ever saw. Rotten.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

a very bleak and yet very intriguing debut for writer/director/ lead actress barbara loden, who was at the time elia kazan's wife. the film couldn't be more different in style from kazan's work; it's as minimalist as can be, shot in cinema verite style with improvised dialogue. the title character has no direction in life and seemingly wanders from one bad situation to another. at first i was frustrated with her and her inane actions but as the film went on i became more and more anxious for her welfare, especially after she falls in with a criminal who bullies her into assisting him in a bank robbery. loden has said she wanted to make 'bonnie and clyde' without the romanticism and that, coming from an impoverished background, she may well have ended up this way herself. kudos for her honesty and determination in getting this film made, with little to no support from her husband. and it's a pity she never made another film; she died of breast cancer in 1980

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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