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The Last Picture Show (1971)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 October 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 29,506 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 83 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.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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?


Peter Bogdanovich claims he edited the finished film almost entirely by himself, but had Donn Cambern do some minor work simply so they would have an editor's name on the credits. See more »


Several scenes show television programming, however TV was not introduced to the Wichita Falls area (and Anarene) until 1953. The movie takes place in 1951-52. 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 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks (2013) See more »


Written by R. Borek, C. Nutter, K. Guion
Performed by Tony Bennett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My brief review of the film
10 January 2005 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

A heartfelt, unbelievably frank film on teenage sexuality, it manages to capture the intensity and tumult of the feelings of its depicted young characters superbly well. The cast is excellent, playing each character out in a realistic and moving manner. Timothy Bottoms in particular displays one of the most earnest performances of all time, and the rest of the actors and actresses are so good in general that it is hard to single one particular one out. The film is superbly shot in black and white, which helps depict the entrapment of the characters' emotions, and to really purify the desire to express their feelings. Without doubt this is one of most honest character studies ever filmed, and it just gets better on a second viewing.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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