Five reasons to see John Cassavetes' Husbands

Five reasons to see John Cassavetes' Husbands

The restored 1970 indie dramedy stars Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk

1. John Cassavetes, the writer/director/star of Husbands, helped to invent the language of American independent cinema. Long, shambolic, improvised conversations; on-the-hoof street shooting complete with bemused bystanders; introspective middle class characters in neurotic spin-out… no wonder the Independent Spirit Awards still give a John Cassavetes prize for low-budget filmmaking.

2. The story (of sorts) of three friends drinking through the aftermath of a fourth pal’s funeral, Husbands is a hilarious/harrowing shaggy dog ramble that prefigures every portrayal of hapless American masculinity from Seinfeld to The Hangover.

3. Also sprawling, self-indulgent and frequently maddening, it’s one of the most critically divisive films of all time. Time magazine called it ‘one of the best movies anyone will ever see’, while Roger Ebert held it ‘an artistic disaster’.

4. Husband No. 2 is played by Ben Gazzara, one of the greatest actors of all time. For his most towering work under Cassavetes’ direction, check out The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976).

5. Just one more thing… The third star onscreen is the great Peter Falk. If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Columbo do a drunken striptease in a public place, this is the film for you.

Husbands is on selected re-release from Fri 28 Sep.

Husbands (1970) trailer


  • 4 stars
  • 1970
  • US
  • 2h 11min
  • Directed by: John Cassavetes
  • Cast: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes

The death of a friend reunites three men in Cassavetes' comedy drama.