Brothers and sisters -- Drama, Family life -- United States -- Drama, Race relations -- New York (State) -- New York -- Drama, Youth -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social life and customs -- Drama


Restored 35mm Print


Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd, Anthony Ray,

Cassavetes’s first film stripped the American screen of a treasured possession—narrative closure—and left the ambivalence of real emotions. The film owes a debt to Italian neorealism, but with its poetry of immediacy, its riffs by jazz musician Charles Mingus, and its racial theme already evolved into an existentialism of marginality, Shadows was quintessentially American. Cassavetes centers his tale on three Black Manhattanites—Lelia (Lelia Goldoni) and her brothers, Ben (Ben Carruthers) and Hugh (Hugh Hurd). To say that each suffers an identity crisis, to use the lingo of the day, is to minimize the breadth of their truly remarkable performances.

Judy Bloch
  • Erich Kollmar
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 82 mins
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive
  • Shout! Factory
Additional Info
  • Script improvised by the actors, from ideas by Cassavetes. Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with Faces Distribution Corporation, with funding provided by The Ahmanson Foundation, The Film Foundation, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

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Love streams (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, Andréa Picard, 2006

The return of Shadows (article), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 2004

Cast a long shadow (program note), Rotterdam Film Festival, 2004

Shadows (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2000

Shadows (program note), Toronto International Film Festival, Carlos Diegues, 1999

Shadows (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1997

Shadows (distributor materials), Castle Hill, 1997

John Cassavetes (flyer), 1991

Love films: a Cassavetes retrospective (article), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 1991

True maverick (review), Daily Californian (Berkeley, Calif.), Dennis Harvey, 1990

Displaying 10 of 44 publicly available documents.

View all Shadows documentation on CineFiles.