Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

R  |   |  Drama  |  28 October 1972 (Japan)
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Reviews: 101 user | 109 critic

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.



(screenplay) (as Rudolph Wurlitzer) , (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You can never go fast enough...




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 October 1972 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A Estrada Não Tem Fim  »

Box Office


$850,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This would be Laurie Bird's (as the girl/hitchhiker) film debut. She would only star in two more films including Cockfighter (1974) and Annie Hall (1977) before taking her own life in New York in 1979. See more »


When the G.T.O pulls into the gas station it's extremely shiny and clean considering it's just driven across 3 States! See more »


The Mechanic: You'd have yourself a real street-sweeper here if you put a little work into it.
G.T.O.: I go fast enough.
The Driver: You can never go fast enough.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Car ... 1955 Chevrolet See more »


Featured in Monte Hellman: American Auteur (1997) See more »


Peace in the Valley
Written by Thomas A. Dorsey
See more »

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User Reviews

A masterpiece from the criminally underrated Monte Hellman. One of the greatest road movies ever made.
25 April 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

As an admirer of Monte Hellman's superb 1960s westerns 'Ride In The Whirlwind' and 'The Shooting' I had been dying to see 'Two-Lane Blacktop' for many years as most people who have seen it regard it as Hellman's best movie, and one of the greatest road movies ever made. Impossible to find on video, and rarely (if ever) screened on TV here in Australia, I finally managed to get hold of it on DVD, and boy, does this movie REALLY live up to its reputation! I think if it had have been more easy to see over the last thirty years it would be spoken of in the same breath as 'Easy Rider'. Both movies are landmarks. Existential road movies that really capture a lost slice of Americana. Hellman, like so many other talented directors, got his first breaks from b-grade legend Roger Corman. But Hellman's unwillingness to compromise, and a lot of bad luck, sadly meant that he never crossed over into the mainstream like other Corman proteges like Coppola and Demme. Too bad, because 'The Shooting' and 'Two-Lane Blacktop' showed he had talent and originality to burn. Both movies feature the legendary character actor Warren Oates ('The Wild Bunch', 'Dillinger', 'Race With The Devil', 'Drum', 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia'), and Oates fans MUST see this movie as his performance is simply superb. Oates plays G.T.O. a drifter and dreamer who challenges two young revheads (played by James Taylor and The Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson) to a cross country car race. The winner gets the other drivers pink slip and (possibly) the affections of "The Girl", played by the late Laurie Bird (who only made two movies after this one and who tragically suicided in her mid twenties). Taylor, Wilson and Bird all give low key, almost non-performances. None were actors before they filmed this, but their minimalistic styles suit the material wonderfully. By contrast Oates is just dynamite and dominates every scene he appears in. I'd say this, and Peckinpah's cult classic 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia', are his two most impressive performances. It's worth watching this movie just to see Oates, but there's a lot more going for it. It is however an acquired taste, and if you aren't a fan of 1970s movies you may find it hard going. Please persevere, it's really worth it! Also keep an eye out for Harry Dean Stanton's unforgettable cameo as a lonely hitchhiker. Stanton had previously worked with Hellman in 'Ride In The Whirlwind' alongside Jack Nicholson and Cameron Mitchell, and would go on to appear with Oates and Laurie Bird in Hellman's next movie, the controversial 'Cockfighter', another difficult one to get hold of (until now). 'Two-Lane Blactop' is one of the best movies I've ever seen, and I can't recommend it highly enough! An American classic. It's pure magic!

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