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Lightning Over Water (1980)

Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Pierre Cottrell ...
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Becky Johnston ...
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Tom Kaufman ...
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Pat Kirck ...
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Martin Müller ...
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Craig Nelson ...
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Susan Ray ...
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Timothy Ray ...
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Storyline

Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to help Ray realize his final wish. Ray's original intent is to make a fiction film about a dying painter who sails to China to find a cure for his disease. He and Wenders discuss this idea, but it is obviously unrealistic given Ray's state of health. Written by Karl Engel <cassiel@ix.netcom.com>

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Documentary

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Release Date:

23 November 1984 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Nick's Film - Lightning Over Water  »

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Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film directed by Nicholas Ray. Also marks as his first documentary. See more »

Quotes

Nicholas Ray: [lecturing] We are starting this new film of ours with about the same amount of head-start that we had on, The Lusty Men. A little backstory behind it, is that we started shooting with 26 pages of script, and then we wrote every night. So, there wasn't much besides instinct and reactions of my actors to what we had done the day before; to what we were going to do the next day. So, there was no possibility of meticulous 'Henry James-type' construction. The closer I get to my ending... the closer ...
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Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Lightning Over Water
Performed by Ronee Blakley
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User Reviews

Bigger than life (and death too)
15 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

In 1977,Nicholas Ray was part of the cast of "der Amerikanische Freund" as Derwatt,a painter who made forgeries .In this movie,Ray tells the story of a painter who steals the masterpieces in the museums and replaces them with forgeries.

I have always been a Ray fan from "they live by night" to "run for cover" to "party girl" to his final epics which were looked upon by pretty much as failures.I must admit that I do not go much for Wenders' stuff ,which is much too intellectual for me .

Its not a documentary movie,it's cinema verite depicting a man who is dying.The courage the director displays in front of death commands admiration but I wonder whether this movie should have been released:it's an intimate one,which should have been reserved for the circle of family and close friends.And I'm sure that many of these prefer to keep a picture of a healthy man .

If you have seen four or five movies by Ray ("rebel without a cause" "Johnny Guitar" "The savage" ) a piece of advice:try and see the lesser known Ray works:"wind across the everglades "born to be bad" "on dangerous ground" or "knock on any door" .The best homage to an exceptionally gifted director.

There are two good moments in "Lightning over water":

The "lusty men" extract happens to be my favorite in this classic:Mitchum come s back home,an old house where he finds back a comic and a money box:In "Lightning " ,Ray hints at "coming back home,seeing my mother's face" Childhood was an obsession in his work :just remember Dean playing in the gutter ("Rebel) or Cagney trying to make Derek his "son" in "run for cover" .

THe diary which Wenders reads is in German which makes sense since it's his first language;the shots of the wings of the plane are fascinating.


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