IMDb Polls

Poll: Tribute to John Cassavetes (1929-1989)

90 years ago in December 1929, the legendary actor, writer and director John Cassavetes, one of the eight thespians to be nominated in these three categories, was born in New York City, to Greek-American parents.

30 years later, in 1959, his directorial debut Shadows (1958) was released in US theaters, making him the figurehead of independent cinema and starting the incongruous but lasting myth that his movies were all improvised.

And 30 years ago, in February 1989, the legend died of cirrhosis leaving a unique legacy inspiring many young film-makers who lacked resources but not creativity, with enough guts, vision and talent to carry it to the screen without ever compromising their personal truths.

Celebrating the triple milestone year, which of these movies directed by John Cassavetes* is your favorite? (or would you most like to discover?)

For a lengthier introduction of Cassavetes' style and legacy and a discussion about the list, click here

I decided not to include Big Trouble (1986) for many reasons: the film was made for money and was immediately dismissed by Cassavetes himself, Love Streams (1984) is often regarded as his real swan-song. Finally, I replaced it with Mikey and Nicky (1976), a film that is so close to the usual style of Cassavetes it could be part of his own body of work and his pairing with Peter Falk is just too irresistible. So the decision may sound arbitrary but what would be a Cassavetes poll without a little improvisation?

Results of 172 votes:

  1. 1.

    A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

     
    How a woman's desperate need for love triggers the craziest and most unpredictable situations? Cassavetes' masterpiece is a voyage into the pathos of a child-like woman but so driven by a need to exis…
  2. 2.

    Gloria (1980)

     
    "Gloria" is probably the only Cassavetes' film that relies on a formula and the most likely to disorient the fans. Still, it's the one that earned Gena Rowlands, the most defining face of th…
  3. 3.

    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

     
    The story of a nightclub-owner coerced to kill is Cassavetes' allegory of his own suffocation while harassed by a system trying to prevent him from doing his job. He translated these frustrations into…

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