Faces (film)

Last updated
Faces poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Cassavetes
Produced byMaurice McEndree
Written byJohn Cassavetes
Starring John Marley
Gena Rowlands
Lynn Carlin
Seymour Cassel
Fred Draper
Val Avery
Dorothy Gulliver
CinematographyAl Ruban
Edited byAl Ruban
Maurice McEndree
Distributed by Continental Distributing
Release date
  • March 1968 (1968-03)
Running time
183 minutes
130 minutes (General cut)
147 minutes (Criterion cut)
CountryUnited States

Faces is a 1968 drama film, written and directed by John Cassavetes, and starring John Marley, Cassavetes' wife Gena Rowlands, Fred Draper, Seymour Cassel, and Lynn Carlin. In 2011, it was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

John Cassavetes American actor, film director, and screenwriter

John Nicholas Cassavetes was a Greek-American actor, film director, and screenwriter. Cassavetes was a pioneer of American independent film, writing and directing over a dozen movies, which he partially self-financed, and pioneered the use of improvisation and a cinéma vérité style. He also acted in many Hollywood films, notably Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Dirty Dozen (1967). He studied acting with Don Richardson, utilizing an alternative technique to method acting which privileged character over traditional narrative. His income from acting made it possible for him to direct his own films independently.

John Marley 1907–1984; American actor

John Marley was an American actor who was known for his role as Phil Cavalleri in Love Story and as Jack Woltz— the defiant film mogul who awakens to find the severed head of his prized horse in his bed—in The Godfather (1972). He starred in John Cassavetes' feature Faces (1968) and appeared in The Glitter Dome (1984).



The film, shot in cinéma vérité -style, depicts the final stages of the disintegrating marriage of a middle-aged couple (John Marley and Lynn Carlin). We are introduced to various groups and individuals the couple interacts with after the husband's sudden statement of his desire for a divorce. Afterwards, he spends the night in the company of brash businessmen and prostitutes, while the wife spends it with her middle-aged female friends and an aging, free-associating playboy they've picked up at a bar. The night proceeds as a series of tense conversations and confrontations occur.

Cinéma vérité style of documentary filmmaking

Cinéma vérité is a style of documentary filmmaking, invented by Jean Rouch, inspired by Dziga Vertov's theory about Kino-Pravda and influenced by Robert Flaherty’s films. It combines improvisation with the use of the camera to unveil truth or highlight subjects hidden behind crude reality.

Lynn Carlin is an American actress.


Gena Rowlands American actress

Virginia Cathryn "Gena" Rowlands is an American actress, whose career in film, stage, and television has spanned over six decades. A four-time Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner, she is known for her collaborations with her late actor-director husband John Cassavetes in ten films, including A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Gloria (1980), which earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She also won the Silver Bear for Best Actress for Opening Night (1977). In November 2015, Rowlands received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of her unique screen performances.

Seymour Cassel American actor

Seymour Joseph Cassel is an American actor.

Frederick Paul Draper II was an American film and television actor. He was roommates in New York City with Harry Mastrogeorge and John Cassavetes while attending The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York with Grace Kelly, Anne Bancroft and others. He graduated May 1, 1950. He appeared on numerous television programs and films.


The film was shot in high-contrast 16 mm black and white film stock.


As is the case with several of Cassavetes' films, several different versions of Faces are known to exist (though it was generally assumed that, after creating the general release print, Cassavetes destroyed the alternative versions). It was initially premiered in Toronto with a running time of 183 minutes, before Cassavetes cut it down to 130 minutes. Though the 130-minute version is the general release version, a print of a longer version with a running time of 147 minutes was accidentally found by Ray Carney, and was deposited at the Library of Congress. 17 minutes of this print were included in the Criterion box set John Cassavetes: Five Films, though Carney has said that there are numerous differences between the two films.

Raymond "Ray" Carney, is an American scholar and critic, primarily known for his work as a film theorist, although he writes extensively on American art and literature as well. He is known for his study of the works of actor and director John Cassavetes. He teaches in the Film & Television department of the College of Communication at Boston University and has published several books on American art and film.


Faces holds an 85% approval rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 20 reviews with an average rating of 7.2/10. [1] Roger Ebert wrote that the film "tenderly, honestly and uncompromisingly examines the way we really live." [2]

Rotten Tomatoes American review aggregator for film and television, owned by Fandango

Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance.

Carlin and Cassel both received acting Academy Award nominations. Cassavetes was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".

The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best screenplay not based upon previously published material. It was created in 1940 as a separate writing award from the Academy Award for Best Story. Beginning with the Oscars for 1957, the two categories were combined to honor only the screenplay. In 2002, the name of the award was changed from Writing to Writing .

In 2011, Faces was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The Registry called the film "an example of cinematic excess" whose extended confrontations revealed "emotions and relations of power between men and women that rarely emerge in more conventionally structured films."

Faces, and other Cassavetes projects, had significant creative impact on Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and Robert Altman. [3]

See also

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  1. "Faces (1968)". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango Media . Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. Ebert, Roger. "Faces Movie Review". RogerEbert.com.
  3. Smith, Scott. "The Film 100: John Cassavetes, No. 100". Fandor . Retrieved 16 July 2018.[ permanent dead link ]

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