Tempest (1982): Mazursky’s Modern-Day Shakesperean Tale

tempest_posterTempest, Paul Mazursky’s 1982 serio comedy is a loosely based, modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s noted play The Tempest.  Aiming high (and occasionally pretentious), Tempest is one of the director’s most ambitious and personal, but ultimately disappointing, films.

Even so, no Mazursky film is without any merits, and the eccentric ensemble is certainly one of them. The film features an all-star cast: John Cassavetes and real-life wife, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon at her sexiest, and Molly Ringwald in her screen debut.  Ringwald would become the most popular and iconic teenage star of the decade in a series of films directed by John Hughes.

Tempest, which played and won awards at the Venice and Toronto Film Fests, was shot on location, including: Athens and the Greek Islands, Atlantic City, and New York City.



tempest_5_mazurskyThe tale’s protagonist is Phillip Dimitrius (John Cassavetes, better known as a director), a middle-aged architect who is going through a difficult mid-life crisis. After learning that his wife Antonia (Gena Rowlands) is having an affair, Dimitrius leaves New York and moves to a Greek island with his teenage daughter, Miranda (Molly Ringwald).

In Athens he meets a singer named Aretha Tomalin (Susan Sarandon) and they become lovers, but mysteriously, he takes a celibacy vow after they move to the island.


tempest_4_mazurskyLiving on the island is Kalibanos, an eccentric hermit (Raúl Juliá), who was previously its only resident. Dimitrius finally seems happy, until a twist of fate—a shipwreck–brings his wife, her new lover Alonzo (Phillip’s ex-boss), and Alonzo’s son to the island.




John Cassavetes as Phillip Dimitrius

Gena Rowlands a Antonia Dimitrius

Susan Sarandon as Aretha Tomalin

Vittorio Gassman as Alonzo

Raúl Juliá as Kalibanos

Molly Ringwald as Miranda Dimitrius

Sam Robards as Freddy

Paul Stewart as Phillip’s Father

Jackie Gayle as Trinc

Anthony Holland as Sebastian

Jerry Hardin as Harry Gondorf

Paul Mazursky as Terry Bloomfield

Lucianne Buchanan as Dolores

Vassilis Glezakos as Captain

Luigi Laezza as Sailor

Sergio Nicolai as Sailor

Cookie Mueller as New Year’s Eve Party Girl