Lightning Over Water

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Movie Info

Lightning Over Water is a penetrating documentary of the last days of cult film director Nicholas Ray. The film was lovingly assembled by Wim Wenders, whose idolatry of Ray is obvious in virtually every frame of his own work. Dying slowly of cancer, Ray reflects on a lifetime of accomplishments, failures and compromises, with plenty of screen time given over to his reminiscences of Joan Crawford, James Dean and others who appeared in his films. Most of the film was lensed in Ray's modest New York City loft, a sharp and poignant contrast to the comparative luxury of his Hollywood years. Lightning Over Water has also been released as Nick's Film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Nicholas Ray
as Nicholas Ray
Wim Wenders
as Wim Wenders
Gerry Bamman
as Gerry Bamman
Ronee Blakely
as Ronee Blakley
Pierre Cottrell
as Pierre Cottrell
Tommy Farrell
as Tom Farrell
Becky Johnston
as Becky Johnston
Edward Lachman
as Edward Lachman
Craig T. Nelson
as Craig Nelson
Martin Schäfer
as Martin Schafer
Chris Sievernich
as Chris Sievernich
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Critic Reviews for Lightning Over Water

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Lightning Over Water

  • Jul 31, 2014
    "Lightning over Water" is an intriguing documentary/fiction hybrid that begins with a jetlagged Wim Wenders arriving in New York to help his friend and hero Nicholas Ray complete one last film before he succumbs to lung cancer which he is in the painful final stages of. So while those preparations are being made, occasionally a handheld Super 8 camera is used to show the film crew working behind the scenes. While digressive at times, especially one sequence involving rehearsals for a Chekhov play, "Lightning over Water" has some very good thoughts on the subject of mortality and how truly inescapable it is. Not only that but the movie is also concerned with the changes that go along with the passage of time like when Ray and his crew travel to Vassar, now co-ed, to screen one of his old films. Plus, we are also treated to a neat view of bygone New York City, circa 1979.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2007
    <DIV ALIGN=center><B>LIGHTNING OVER WATER (1980) directed by Wim Wenders & Nicolas Ray</B></DIV><P><DIV ALIGN=justify>This can be called a documentary or docu-fiction, its hard to tell cause its obvious most of what we see is staged, yet, it feels genuine and non-scripted.<P>Director Wim Wenders fly from Germany to meet with Nicholas Ray, the man behind such classics as <I>Johnny Guitar</I>, <I>Rebel Without a Cause</I> starring James Dean and <I>Bigger Than Life</I> in the mid-1950's. Here, in the late 70's, he is dying of cancer. He and Wim Wenders want to make a film together, they dont have a story, all they know is that they want to make a film, for Nick its more for his self-esteem and leaving a legacy, one last piece of work behind.<P>The film begins with a narration by Wenders, he comes in Nicholas Ray's appartment, who is sleeping, Wemders decides to take a nap on a couch and later when they wake up, we see a man cross the screen with what seems to be a 16mm camera or something but ti doesnt matter, its held by Tim Ray, we see what he sees in the lense and it becomes some sort of «making of» of the film we are watching before getting back to the regular images.<P><I>Lightning Over Water</I> also known as <I>Nick's Movie</I> is about an artist. Its a great reflection about friendship, illness, death and the medium that cinema is. Its touching and it might be inspiring to some, but one thing is sure, its not entertaining and its definately not for everyone, most would find it boring.</DIV>
    Hugo S Super Reviewer

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