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The Sugarland Express (1974)

PG | | Crime, Drama | 29 May 1974 (Sweden)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Captain Tanner
Michael Sacks ...
Slide
...
Clovis
...
Mashburn
...
Officer Ernie Jessup
Louise Latham ...
Mrs. Looby
Harrison Zanuck ...
Baby Langston
A.L. Camp ...
Mr. Alvin T. Nocker
Jessie Lee Fulton ...
Mrs. Nocker
...
Russ Berry
Ted Grossman ...
Dietz
...
Hunter
Kenneth Hudgins ...
Standby #1
Buster Daniels ...
Buster Daniels - Drunk (as Buster Danials)
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Storyline

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 <kornelo@alphanet.hu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's Not Every Day You Take a Ride Like This! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 May 1974 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Carte Blanche  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the events of May 1969 when fugitives Robert and Ila Fae Dent kidnapped Department of Public Safety trooper Kenneth Crone, commandeered his car and led police and other law enforcement officials on a chase from outside Port Arthur, through Houston, up to Navasota and on to Wheelock, where Ila Fae Dent's mother lived. At one point a motorcade of more than 150 police cars and reporters joined the pursuit. FBI agent Bob Wiatt (who retired in 2004) confronted them at the mother's home and was forced to shoot Robert Dent, who was armed, in the neck, killing him. Wiatt wrestled Ila Fae to the ground and handcuffed her. See more »

Goofs

Although this story is set in 1969, there are a slew of early 1970's model automobiles used in the film, including most of the police cars. See more »

Quotes

Clovis Poplin: We're in real trouble.
Clovis Poplin: Say, I didn't mean what I said.
Maxwell Slide: What was that?
Clovis Poplin: When I called you a son of a bitch, I didn't mean it
Maxwell Slide: And you ain't no mental subject neither.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dizengoff 99 (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold
Written by Wiley Walker and Gene Sullivan
Sung by William Atherton, Goldie Hawn and Michael Sacks
See more »

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User Reviews

Spielberg's first film is wonderful, a classic.
10 November 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Haven't heard about "Sugarland Express" till recently and I had to see it because it was vintage Spielberg, and I'm a fan. And I wanted to see the young Goldie Hawn. I was not disappointed. It was one of these road-chase movies, bigger than life, but it was unique, especially because it was based on a true story. That fact made me incredulous throughout the film, but everything in Texas is supposed to be bigger than life.

Goldie desperately wants to get her baby back. She was in jail for some minor crimes and was found to be an unfit mother and her baby was put in a foster home and the foster parents were going to adopt him. Despite being a young girl, or maybe because of it, she was desperate to have her baby back. It was a love-child and the mother-love was passionate and obsessive. Hawn played the part to the hilt and used her sexuality and femininity to overcome the objections of her husband who was in a pre-release facility with low security.

She had a plan to help him escape, but he didn't want to risk it, take a chance of being caught and being incarcerated again. He only had four more months to serve. The other inmates were incredulous as they disguised themselves and got an old couple to give them a ride.

From this quiet beginning the film proceeded to repeated crescendos of drama and excitement. Try to imagine the young couple, young officer in tow, leading a chase of police cars, first a few, then a few dozen, then many dozen and ultimately hundreds, law-enforcement officers from all over the state and then snipers and a helicopter.

Lucky for the young couple an old-hand cop realized they were just a couple of kids and he staved off snipers with telescopic long-range rifles and a couple of vigilante gun-nuts.

You know something bad is going to happen at the end, because these kids didn't know what they were doing; they were madly in love and in a fantasy-land of getting their little boy back and living happily ever after in Mexico. Something bad happened, but something good happened. It will be worth your while to see this little classic from one of the greatest directors of the 20th century.


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