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The Last Picture Show (1971)

 -  Drama  -  22 October 1971 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 27,556 users  
Reviews: 160 user | 80 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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Title: The Last Picture Show (1971)

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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Anarene, Texas, 1951. Nothing much has changed... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die letzte Vorstellung  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 9 minutes and 54 seconds, Ben Johnson's performance in this movie is the shortest to ever win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Raising Hope: Throw Maw Maw from the House, Part Two (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thing
Written by Charles Randolph Grean
Performed by Phil Harris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The lost art of American Cinema
24 April 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Adapted with director Bogdanovich by Larry McMurtry from his own novel, this film remains true to its source. A modern adaptation would no doubt have adopted the voice-over approach of narrative, but here each scene is played out from a more objective point of view. The book consists of a series of events played out over a protracted period of time, with McMurtry's sparse but effective prose acting as a bridging device between scenes. The translation to the screen loses these links, giving the film a slightly episodic feel which runs counter to modern Hollywood film making practice. This is no bad thing, and in every other aspect the film follows the book almost literally, but watching it now does highlight the difference between the formulaic approach we are now accustomed to, with mise en scene, plot turning points and climaxes crudely and obviously spelt out, as opposed to that of Hollywood's final golden age, where the director was given more of a free reign to stamp his own identity on the film, and audiences were more receptive to different styles. Here the spirit of the novel is captured perfectly; that of the desperation and claustrophobia of small town life, where generation after generation undergo the same rites of passage, living out the same lives of frustration and unrealised dreams. The films strength is that it never forces us to identify with any one character, evenly distributing the amount of screen time over the different generations and, almost like a fly on the wall documentary (though heavily stylised in its powerfully expressive monochrome cinematography). Coupled with some sturdy performances from all of the members of the cast, and some memorable images, ‘The Last Picture' comes across as an enchanting, evocative and accessible portrayal of a lifestyle most of us have never and will never experience. Now surely this is what the art of cinema is all about?


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