Opening Night Opening Night
  • United States
  • 1977
  • 144 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #255

While in the midst of rehearsals for her latest play, Broadway actor Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, after which she begins to confront the chaos of her own life. Headlined by a virtuoso performance by Rowlands, John Cassavetes’s Opening Night lays bare the drama of a performer who, at great personal cost, makes a part her own, and it functions as a metaphor for the director’s singular, wrenched-from-the-heart creative method.

Cast

Myrtle Gordon Gena Rowlands
Maurice AaronsJohn Cassavetes
Manny VictorBen Gazzara
Sarah GoodeJoan Blondell
David Samuels Paul Stewart
Dorothy Victor Zohra Lampert
Nancy SteinLaura Johnson
Gus SimmonsJohn Tuell

Credits

DirectorJohn Cassavetes
WriterJohn Cassavetes
ProducerAl Ruban
Executive producerSam Shaw
Associate producerMichael Lally
Sound/Composed musicBo Harwood
CinematographyAl Ruban
Camera operatorsFrederick Elmes and Michael Ferris
EditingTom Cornwell
Art directorBryan Ryman

Disc Features

  • New, high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New conversation between actors Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara
  • New interview with producer and director of photography Al Ruban
  • Audio interview with director John Cassavetes from the 1970s
  • Trailers

Film Essays

Openingnightessay_current_thumbnail

Opening Night: The Play’s the Thing

By Dennis Lim October 25, 2013

The most self-reflexive film of John Cassavetes’s career is a backstage melodrama about a woman’s search for truth in performance. Read more »

Video

Carousel_thumbnail

On the Channel: Adventures in Moviegoing with Rebecca Miller

March 30, 2018

In a new conversation on the Criterion Channel, filmmaker Rebecca Miller talks about her formative experiences as a movie lover and what she’s drawn to in on-screen acting. Read more »


On Five

Screen_shot_2018-03-26_at_2.12.48_pm_thumbnail

This Week on the Criterion Channel

March 30, 2018

Since its under-the-radar release in 2007, Ronald Bronstein’s directorial debut, Frownland, has been admired by a generation of young filmmakers for its uncompromising vision, which has earned . . . Read more »


Clippings

Current_704_364_thumbnail

Did You See This?

November 11, 2016

Legendary French cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who created some of the most indelible images in film history, has passed away at the age of ninety-two. The BFI pays tribute to him by . . . Read more »


Clippings

Screen_shot_2016-07-11_at_5.48.34_pm_thumbnail

An Actor’s Actor: Gena Rowlands in Conversation

July 11, 2016

This Friday, the Metrograph theater in Manhattan kicks off a tribute to the film legacy of writer-director John Cassavetes and actor Gena Rowlands, who together pioneered a style of filmmaking . . . Read more »


Clippings

Pretender_thumbnail

Film Picks from Agnès Varda, Arnaud Desplechin, Olivier Assayas, and More

November 06, 2015

As part of the launch of the new French streaming video service La Cinetek—which was founded by the filmmakers Pascale Ferran (Bird People), Cédric Klapisch (Chinese Puzzle), and Laurent Cantet . . . Read more »


Interviews

Harwood_thumbnail

A Conversation with Bo Harwood

By Sam Wasson August 20, 2014

One of John Cassavetes’s loyal troupe of collaborators reminisces about working with the fearless filmmaker. Read more »


Photo Galleries

Cassavetes’s Company

By Tom Charity October 30, 2013


Film Essays

Openingnightessay_current_thumbnail

Opening Night: The Play’s the Thing

By Dennis Lim October 25, 2013

The most self-reflexive film of John Cassavetes’s career is a backstage melodrama about a woman’s search for truth in performance. Read more »


Clippings

Grand Opening

March 28, 2011

We never pass up an opportunity to send you over to Blogdanovich, and we have the perfect excuse to do so today: in Peter Bogdanovich’s latest entry, the filmmaker-writer-raconteur reminisces . . . Read more »

Film_217_tokyostory_w160

Top Criterion Films

by William Ragunas

Updated 04/12/2018

Film_721w_lovestreams_w160

Next Order

by bowchamp

Updated 04/16/2018

Film_482w_2or3things__w160

Women

by Drew Gregory

Updated 04/11/2018

Film_919_deadman_w80

Kevin McKenna

Updated 04/15/2018

Film_27w_fleshfrankenstein_w80

Jonathan Dearborn

Updated 04/03/2018

Film_611w_beingjohnmalkovich_w80

Cole Schubert

Updated 04/09/2018

Film_804_brightersummerday_w80

Oscar Lau

Updated 04/17/2018

Film_898_twinpeaksfirewalk_w80

TheOneWhoKnocks

Updated 04/14/2018

Film_723w_ytumamatambien_w80

patrickmccaulay

Updated 03/13/2018

Film_545w_easyrider_w160

Gustavo

Updated 03/01/2018

Michael L.

Updated 04/03/2018

Film_217_tokyostory_w80

Pholt

Updated 02/14/2018

Film_725w_eraserhead_b_w80

Dax Matlock

Updated 02/15/2018

Close

Log in to your Criterion.com account

Close