7.3/10
8,698
106 user 108 critic

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

A story of two men drag-racing across the U.S. in a primer grey '55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson is the mechanic, James Taylor is the driver.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Rudolph Wurlitzer), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
G.T.O
...
The Girl
...
The Mechanic
David Drake ...
Needles Station Attendant
Richard Ruth ...
Needles Station Mechanic
Rudy Wurlitzer ...
Hot Rod Driver (as Rudolph Wurlitzer)
Jaclyn Hellman ...
Driver's Girl
Bill Keller ...
Texas Hitchhiker
...
Oklahoma Hitchhiker (as H.D. Stanton)
Don Samuels ...
Texas Policeman #1
Charles Moore ...
Texas Policeman #2
Tom Green ...
Boswell Attendant
W.H. Harrison ...
Parts Store Owner
Alan Vint ...
Man in Roadhouse
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Storyline

The Driver and The Mechanic are two car freaks driving a 1955 Chevy throughout the southwestern U.S. looking for other cars to race. They are totally dedicated to The Car and converse with each other only when necessary. At a gas station, The Driver and The Mechanic, along with a girl who has ingratiated herself into their world, meet G.T.O., a middle-aged man who fabricates stories about his exploits. It is decided to have a race to Washington, D.C., where the winner will get the loser's car. Along the way, the race and the highway metaphorically depict the lives of these contestants as they struggle to their destination. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You can never go fast enough...

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 October 1972 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A Estrada Não Tem Fim  »

Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As of the 2007 Criterion DVD release, James Taylor had never seen the film. He says he would now like to see it. See more »

Goofs

The cost/gallons numbers on the gas pumps change several times during the gas station race set-up scene. See more »

Quotes

G.T.O.: If I wanted to bother, I could suck you right up my tail pipe.
The Driver: Sure you could.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Car ... 1955 Chevrolet See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Stealin'
Written and Performed by Arlo Guthrie
Also performed by Laurie Bird
See more »

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User Reviews

 
How Good Is This Film?
25 March 2004 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

This is either the best film I've ever seen, or just an interesting exercise in film-making that is ultimately of little value. The problem is that I can't decide which! No film has ever given me as much trouble in terms of my deciding where to place it in my personal Top 250 list. I mean, I know it's difficult to compare the relative merits of movies from different genres (e.g. "Schindler's List" vs "Monty Python And The Holy Grail"), but this movie is so unlike almost any others that I still don't know what to make of it.

I tried listening to the DVD commentary for some help, but Monte Hellman and Gary Kurtz had obviously pre-decided that they wouldn't talk about any aspect of the "meaning" or intent of the movie, preferring to concentrate on technical aspects such as pre-production, casting, locations, logistics, acting, lighting, sound, camera-work etc. I kind of respect them for this - leaving Joe Public to use his/her own brain in order to decide what the movie is all about.

One of the people in a featurette on the DVD said that "people haven't begun to realise how good Two-Lane Blacktop is" and I think that's right - the more I think about it, the better this film becomes in my estimation.

My take on the movie is that it's basically a contrast of the two extremes of human behaviour, as characterised by the brash, noisy "GTO" played by Warren Oates and the quiet, understated-to-the-point-of-lifelessness "Driver" and "Mechanic" - their personalities perfectly mirrored in their choice of cars. Most people's personalities lie somewhere in between, but by juxtaposing the extremes it forces one to think about one's place in that spectrum. "The Girl" is mainly a plot device to create a little bit of dramatic tension, as blokes left to themselves tend to go with the status quo. But we only want a little bit of drama, because that's not really the point, and too much drama would distract from the underlying theme.

I really love the "space" in this movie: the long takes, the long silences, the wide-open scenery, the fact that nobody SAYS anything (Warren Oates talks a lot, but never SAYS much). In modern life in general, I think people talk too much - try sitting still and shutting up for 103 minutes while watching this movie.

Not that I suppose anyone is interested, but I eventually rated this at about #70 in my Top 250, but next time I watch it I may move it up to #1 or drop it out of the 250 entirely...


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