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The Sugarland Express (1974)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Crime  |  5 April 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 10,156 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 49 critic

A woman attempts to reunite her family by helping her husband escape prison and together kidnapping their son. But things don't go as planned when they are forced to take a police hostage on the road.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Harlan Tanner
Michael Sacks ...
Officer Maxwell Slide
Clovis Michael Poplin
Officer Ernie Jessup
Louise Latham ...
Mrs. Looby
Harrison Zanuck ...
Baby Langston
A.L. Camp ...
Mr. Alvin T. Nocker
Jessie Lee Fulton ...
Mrs. Nocker
Dean Smith ...
Russ Berry
Ted Grossman ...
Bill Thurman ...
Kenneth Hudgins ...
Standby #1
Buster Daniels ...
Buster Daniels - Drunk (as Buster Danials)


Lou-Jean, a blonde woman, tells her husband, who is imprisoned, to escape. They plan to kidnap their own child, who was placed with foster parents. The escape is partly successful, they take a hostage, who is a policeman and are pursued through to Texas... Written by Kornel Osvart <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The true story of a girl who took on all of Texas...and almost won. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 April 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carte Blanche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the events of the film occur over a couple of days, in reality the events were over with in just a few short hours. See more »


There is an Exxon station shown near the prison. The movie is based on events of May 1969. Standard Oil did not change Esso to the Exxon brand until 1973. See more »


Maxwell Slide: Is your name Buster Daniels?
Drunk: Well, it was before I married.
See more »


Featured in No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008) See more »


The Eyes of Texas
[Played by marching band when the car enters Rodrigues, Texas]
See more »

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User Reviews

Early Goldie, early Spielberg, both first-rate...
22 April 2001 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Petty crook is busted out of pre-release jail by his determined-yet-reckless wife; seems their infant son has been farmed out to a wealthy foster couple while the two were behind bars and the Mrs. wants her baby back now. Director Steven Spielberg's first theatrical film has a scene midway through that still takes my breath away: Goldie Hawn and William Atherton take refuge in a mobile home parked in a lot behind a drive-in movie theater, a cartoon is up on the screen and Atherton supplies the sound effects--but, as the cartoon descends into violence, he stares out the window while his wife giggles on, oblivious to the parallels between the film and the paths their lives have taken. It's a miraculous moment in a high-spirited comedy-drama about trying to get what you want--even at the expense of the law. I'm surprised most Spielberg fans turn their noses up at this movie, it's one of his best. The finale doesn't really work (the picture switches gears too many times and eventually leaves us eating dust), but Goldie Hawn's performance is brave and funny and wonderful. In fact all the acting is excellent, right down to the last two-line player. *** from ****

14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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