Love Streams (film)

Love Streams is a 1984 American film directed by John Cassavetes that tells the story of a middle-aged brother and sister who find themselves caring for one another after the other loves in their lives abandon them.[1] The film was Cassavetes' 11th and penultimate film. He later made the more mainstream Big Trouble.

Love Streams
Love Streams.jpg
Directed byJohn Cassavetes
Produced byMenahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Screenplay byTed Allan
John Cassavetes
Based onLove Streams by Ted Allan
StarringGena Rowlands
John Cassavetes
Diahnne Abbott
Seymour Cassel
Al Ruban
Music byBo Harwood
CinematographyAl Ruban
Edited byGeorge C. Villaseñor
Distributed byCannon Films
Release date
August 24, 1984
Running time
141 minutes
CountryUnited States


Undergoing a messy divorce, Sarah Lawson visits her brother Robert Harmon, an alcoholic playboy and writer who is in a relationship with a professional singer. Robert is visited by his ex-wife, who forces him to take care of their eight-year-old son, whom he has never met before, for 24 hours.

Robert's son is terrified by the hedonistic and decadent world of his father and begs to be taken home following an overnight trip to Las Vegas. After dropping him off, Robert is beaten up by the boy's stepfather, after which his son testifies his love for Robert.

Fleeing the scene, Robert returns home to take care of his sister, his "best friend." Sarah tries with some success to curb the nihilistic self-destruction of Robert's life and simultaneously deal with her own depression and divorce, while Robert struggles between his intense desire to protect his sister and the challenge of accepting her freedom as the necessary cost of love.



Love Streams is based on the 1980 play of the same name by Ted Allan, but the correlation between the screenplay and the play is minimal. In the stage production, the role of Robert Harmon was played by Jon Voight; Cassavetes took up this role for the film version.

The visual style of the film is decidedly different from Cassavetes's other works, as it contains no hand-held camera work (which was a trademark of his visual style). Much of it was shot inside Cassavetes's real-life home.


Love Streams was originally released with a running time of 141 minutes. It was briefly available on videotape in the mid 1980s in a version cut to 122 minutes by the distributor; one scene was edited and several unusual visual effects (the insertion of black leader and jump cuts) were removed. In 2003, it was released on DVD in France (along with A Child Is Waiting) in its entirety. The 141-minute version received an American DVD and Blu-ray release for the first time in 2014 as part of The Criterion Collection.[2]


The film was entered into the 34th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Golden Bear.[3]


The film has a 100% positive rating based on 16 reviews from critics at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

Japanese film director Shinji Aoyama listed Love Streams as one of the Greatest Films of All Time in 2012. He said, "When I think about Cassavetes, I always feel happy. I feel glad that I like movies. I'm sure I will always feel this way until the day I die, and I intend to feel this way too. At the end of Love Streams, Cassavetes smiles as he sees the dog next to him, which turned into a naked man. I live my life always wishing I can smile like that."[5]

Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, noting: "Viewers raised on trained and tame movies may be uncomfortable in the world of Cassavetes; his films are built around lots of talk and the waving of arms and the invoking of the gods... Sometimes (as in Husbands) the wild truth-telling approach evaporates into a lot of empty talk and play-acting. In Love Streams, it works."[6]

In 2015 the BBC named the film the 63rd greatest American movie ever made.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Carney, Ray (1994). The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism, and the Movies. United States of America: Cambridge University Press. pp. 235–236. ISBN 0-521-38815-5.
  2. ^ "Love Streams (1984)". The Criterion Collection.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1984 Winners". Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  4. ^ "Love Streams (1984)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  5. ^ Aoyama, Shinji (2012). "The Greatest Films Poll". Sight & Sound. Archived from the original on 2012-08-27.
  6. ^ "Love Streams Movie Review & Film Summary (1984)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  7. ^ "The 100 Greatest American Films",, July 20, 2015

External linksEdit