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The Last Picture Show (1971)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 October 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 29,743 users  
Reviews: 164 user | 84 critic

A group of 1950s high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both economically and culturally.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlene Duggs (as Sharon Taggart)
Joe Heathcock ...
the Sheriff
Bill Thurman ...
Coach Popper
Barc Doyle ...
Jessie Lee Fulton ...
Miss Mosey


In tiny Anarene, Texas, in the lull between World War Two and the Korean Conflict, Sonny and Duane are best friends. Enduring that awkward period of life between boyhood and manhood, the two pass their time the best way they know how -- with the movie house, football, and girls. Jacey is Duane's steady, wanted by every boy in school, and she knows it. Her daddy is rich and her mom is good looking and loose. It's the general consensus that whoever wins Jacey's heart will be set for life. But Anarene is dying a quiet death as folks head for the big cities to make their livings and raise their kids. The boys are torn between a future somewhere out there beyond the borders of town or making do with their inheritance of a run-down pool hall and a decrepit movie house -- the legacy of their friend and mentor, Sam the Lion. As high school graduation approaches, they learn some difficult lessons about love, loneliness, and jealousy. Then folks stop attending the second-run features at the ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


THE PICTURE SHOW THAT INTRODUCED AMERICA TO THE FORGOTTEN 1950S. It launched the meteoric career of its brilliant new director and its talented cast. It won 2 Academy Awards, and nominations for 8. If you missed it the first time, you owe it to yourself now. If you saw it once, remember it again. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die letzte Vorstellung  »

Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Location manager Frank Marshall doubled in the role of the football team's quarterback. See more »


When Sonny and Jacy are driving to Oklahoma to get married, the highway markings are incorrect. In 1952, Texas highways were marked with a solid line down the middle of the highway with no-passing zones marked with dashed lines. See more »


[first lines]
Radio announcer: President Truman'll be here tomorrow, so all you folks in Dallas turn out, chuh hear? This is Cowboy Rhythms on KTRN, Wichita Falls, here's Hank Williams' big hit tune, "Cold Cold Heart".
Sam the Lion: You ain't ever gonna amount to nothing. Already spent a dime this morning, ain't even had a decent breakfast. Gimme the chalk. Why don't you comb you hair Sonny, it sticks up, look like you smelled'm wolf. I'm surprised you had the nerve to show up this morning after that stomping y'all took last ...
See more »


Referenced in Reel Radicals: The Sixties Revolution in Film (2002) See more »


Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used to Do)?
Written by Hank Williams
Performed by Hank Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

No doubt one of the top 10 best movies ever made.
23 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A beautiful and heart wrenching movie that gets better and better as the years go by. I saw this when it came out in 1971, I knew it was good, but I didn't really understand how good or why. Over the years I have gone back and watched it again, and as my life changed I began to relate deeper each time I saw it. Bogdonovich was WAY ahead of the game on this one.

This is one of those rare movies that you can go back every five years and watch for the first time. Myself having been raised in Del Rio, Texas in the late 50's and early sixties, I can attest that this is a totally accurate picture of what coming of age in west Texas was really like for most of us.

55 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The coach and his wife catcreswell
Did the MPAA ratings put an end to films like this? cdomsy
What would be your 'last picture show?' enderhilly
Were People Really Like This in 1951 ? mistermycroft
Sam's bequest to the preacher's son trigger-22
'Zat Frances Fisher in the pool scene? Hup234!
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