Watch Shadows

"A film not to be missed."
  • PG
  • 1959
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 7.2  (12,441)
  • 86

Shadows is a 1958 independent film directed by John Cassavetes, who is considered to be one of the pioneers of American independent film-making. The film is one of the first of its kind to explore issues like race, identity, and relationships in a realistic and unfiltered way. It centers around three siblings- Benny, Lelia, and Hugh- who are all struggling to find their place in New York City.

Benny, played by Ben Carruthers, is a young man who dreams of becoming a jazz musician. He spends his days wandering the streets of New York, practicing his saxophone, and trying to make connections in the jazz community. He's a charismatic and outgoing person, but he's also deeply insecure and has a hard time connecting with people on a deeper level.

Lelia, played by Lelia Goldoni, is Benny's younger sister. She's a light-skinned black woman who passes as white, which causes conflicts in her relationships with her family and the people around her. She's also struggling with her own identity, trying to figure out where she fits in and who she really is.

Hugh, played by Hugh Hurd, is Benny and Lelia's older brother. He's a successful businessman, but he's also deeply unhappy and struggling to find meaning in his life. He's in a loveless marriage and is deeply frustrated with the racism he faces in his professional and personal life.

The film follows the three siblings as they navigate their personal and professional lives, and the relationships they have with each other and the people around them. The narrative is structured in a semi-improvised way, with the actors given a lot of freedom to explore their characters and the situations they find themselves in.

One of the strengths of the film is its realistic portrayal of race relations in America at the time. The film doesn't shy away from the racism and prejudice faced by people of color in the 1950s, but it also doesn't reduce its characters to their skin color. The film is about people first and foremost, and the struggles they face in their everyday lives.

Another strength of the film is its use of jazz music. Cassavetes was a huge fan of jazz, and he incorporated it into the film in a way that's both organic and poetic. The film's soundtrack features music from the likes of Charles Mingus, Shafi Hadi, and Billie Holiday, and it's an essential part of the film's mood and atmosphere.

Overall, Shadows is a powerful and thought-provoking film that's well worth watching for anyone interested in American independent cinema or the history of race relations in the U.S. It's a film that explores complex themes in a deeply personal and human way, and it's a testament to Cassavetes' talent as a director and his commitment to exploring the depths of the human experience.

Shadows is a 1959 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 86.

Where to Watch Shadows
Shadows is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Max, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shadows for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (12,441)
  • Metascore