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Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

R  |   |  Drama  |  28 October 1972 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 7,729 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 103 critic

Story of two men drag racing across the USA in a primer grey 55 chevy. 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  »

Filming Locations:


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?


Floyd Mutrux, wrote much of the screenplay, but lost credit in a Writers Guild arbitration hearing due to the fact he was not a member of the Guild. Director Monte Hellman appeared in Mutrux's film The Christian Licorice Store (1971) the same year this film was made. 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 Girl: Say, which way we going?
The Mechanic: East.
The Girl: That's cool. I never been East.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The GTO ... 1970 Pontiac See more »


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Written by Thomas A. Dorsey
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User Reviews

Easy Rider for Car Freaks
16 February 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

In "Easy Rider" two bikers are in search of American as they travel from coast to coast. The lead biker even calls himself Captain America. In "Two-Lane Blacktop" two car freaks, one a mechanic the other a driver, speed across the nation in search of what? Cars to race? Their trip turns into a cross-country race between their 55 Chevy and a GTO. How the driver of the GTO (played by Warren Oates) got the car depends on which of his stories the viewer believes. The revelation at the end of the film may possibly be the truth.

This film by existentialist director Monte Hellman who later helped produce Quentin Tarantino's seminal "Reservoir Dogs" is an important one. The dialog and acting are minimal, only one of the leads is a professional actor, Warren Oates. The others are two recording artists, James Taylor of "Fire and Rain" fame, and Dennis Wilson from The Beach Boys and a flower child Laurie Bird who tragically committed suicide in Art Garfunkel's apartment a few years later (ironically Garfunkel had helped Paul Simon sing the hit "I've gone to look for America"). The only other professional actor in the movie that this viewer recognized was Harry Dean Stanton who played the homosexual Oklahoma hitchhiker. This gives the film a more realistic feel and adds to the minimalism of the script and direction. The abrupt ending is a bit disconcerting but after a few viewings it makes more sense.

In "Easy Rider" the rock music was an integral part of the story. The soundtrack is one of the best ever. The music in "Two-Lane Blacktop" serves as mere background, kept so low that at times it's difficult to hear. There's a wild version of "Hit the Road Jack" by Jerry Lee Lewis who pumps the keyboard so fast that at times it sounds as if the keys are leaving the piano. The first rock song about racing, Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," is also heard at one point. It's hard for the listener to discern if Berry wrote the song about a woman or about a car. Otherwise the music corresponds with the simplicity of the rest of the flick.

The existential humor is easy to miss on the first viewing. GTO confesses to Mechanic and Driver that he is tired of picking up fantasies. Another part of the film has Driver asking Mechanic a question. Mechanic tells Driver to pull over and stop because it will take him a while to explain. When Driver stops it takes Mechanic only one sentence to give him his answer.

The viewer needs to watch "Two-Lane Blacktop" several times to get its full impact. The time is not wasted for the true believer.

20 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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