Windows (1980): Gordon Willis’ Directing Debut, Homophobic Lesbian Thriller, Starring Talia Shire and Elizabeth Ashley

The distinguished cinematographer Gordon Wills (The Godfather movies) made an unfortunate directing debut in 1980 with Windows, a homophobic erotic thriller, starring Talia Shire and Elizabeth Ashley.

Shire plays Emily Hollander, a shy, recently divorced woman, who lives alone in a New York apartment. One night, a man forces his way into her place and forces her to make sounds of erotic satisfaction, which he captures on tape recorder. She reports the attack to the police, and while they are interviewing her, her presumably good and supportive next-door neightbor, Andrea Glassen (Ashley), stops by to comfort her.

Gay rights activists protested the film for being homophobic and resorting to hateful stereotypes of lesbians. In the New Yorker, critic David Denby attacked the film, saying “Windows exists only in the perverted fantasies of men who hate lesbians so much they will concoct any idiocy in order to slander them.”


Release date: January 18, 1980.

Running time: 95 minutes