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Thumb Tripping (1972)

 -  Drama  -  October 1972 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 56 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

An adventurous couple of hitchhikers decides to accept every ride that is offered to them. no matter how odd the driver might be. They'll get more than they bargained for.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Thumb Tripping (1972)

Thumb Tripping (1972) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Michael Burns ...
Gary
...
Shay
...
Lynn
...
Jack
Michael Conrad ...
Diesel (as Mike Conrad)
...
Smitty
...
Simp
...
Mother
Ed Greenburg ...
Ed
Eric Butler ...
Eric
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Gas Station Attendant
William Murphy
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Storyline

An adventurous couple of hitchhikers decides to accept every ride that is offered to them. no matter how odd the driver might be. They'll get more than they bargained for.

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Taglines:

Gary and Shay. Young, and in love for today. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Thumb Tripping  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joy Bang was also seriously considered for the lead role of Shay, but the filmmakers ultimately decided to cast Meg Foster instead. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 3 (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Look In Look Out
Music by Bob Thompson
Lyrics by Jerry Fuller
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User Reviews

"Candide" in the 1970s
28 July 2008 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

I initially took this movie for one of the "sexy hitchhiker" movies that were big in the 1970's (i.e. "The Hitchhikers", "Pets", "Girls on the Road"). But although Meg Foster is definitely sexy (and she's obviously a hitchhiker), this is less an exploitation flick than it is a more serious road movie/"counterculture" movie along the lines of "Easy Rider", "Cisco Pike" or "Two-Lane Blacktop". Foster and Michael Burns play a male-female pair (although not necessarily a couple)who decide to hitchhike together, both agreeing to "take every ride offered" (which wasn't a much better idea then than it is now). Among the people who pick them up are a selfish, abusive mother looking for her runaway daughter, a horny middle-aged trucker who locks Burns in the back so he can have sex with a not-entirely-unwilling Foster, and a knife-wielding Bruce Dern in full-blown psycho mode (The fact that they would even CONSIDER accepting a ride from Bruce Dern shows how impossibly naive this pair is). This movie ends up kind of being like "Candide" in its picaresque criticism of its contemporary society with the Burns character being the hopelessly naive Candide and the Foster character being Cunegonde, his oft-abused but very resilient girlfriend. The tone though is much more bittersweet and romantic than satirical.

Movies about the so-called "counterculture"of that era tend to carry a lot of baggage today--misty-eyed Baby Boomer nostalgia on one hand, and finger-wagging, right-wing moral condemnation on the other. In my mind though, the young people of the Baby Boom generation were neither rebellious heroes nor selfish hedonists--they were just scared, confused kids reacting naturally to the very turbulent times they lived in. This particular movie has the advantage of being obscure and not as hopelessly iconic as something like "Easy Rider". It's also an early 1970's movie rather a 60's movie. This a subtle distinction I know, but these 70's movies seem a little more real somehow, having been made after the Manson Family and Altamont had punctured the more hippy-dippy dreams of the 60's, and after all the poseurs and phonies of the era had returned to conventional lives (once they realized they weren't get drafted and sent to Vietnam) and were already well on their way to becoming the "yuppies" of the Reagan Era. The "counterculture" of this time really was a true counterculture again, not just the hip thing to do.

This movie launches some criticisms of this counterculture naturally enough (like the Foster characters hurtful "free love" ethos), but most of the real criticism isn't aimed at the foolish naivete of the young protagonists, but at the "establishment" people they meet. The movie never gets too polemical though. It reminded me more than anything of "Jesus Son", a movie made in 2000, but based on a Denis Johnson novel written in this era. Like that movie, this honestly portrays human foibles (both comic and tragic), but it is ultimately pretty non-judgmental. Interesting movie. See it if you get the chance.


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