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While driving through the Arizona desert, Albuquerque based independent trucker Martin Penwald - who goes by the handle "Rubber Duck" - along with his fellow truckers "Pig Pen" and "Spider Mike", are entrapped by unscrupulous Sheriff Lyle "Cottonmouth" Wallace using a key tool of the trucker's trade, the citizens' band (CB) radio. Rubber Duck and Cottonmouth have a long, antagonistic history. When this encounter later escalates into a more physical one as Cottonmouth threatens Spider Mike, a man who just wants to get home to his pregnant wife, Rubber Duck and other the truckers involved, including Spider Mike, Pig Pen and "Widow Woman", go on the run, figuring the best thing to do being to head to New Mexico to avoid prosecution. Along for the ride is Melissa, a beautiful photographer who just wanted a ride to the airport. As news of what happened spreads over the CB airwaves, other truckers join their convoy as a show of support. Cottonmouth rallies other law enforcement officers ... Written by
During the final credits, clips from the movie are played. These include a few brief shots which don't appear in the final film (such as the final clip of the couple in the antique car). The clips also *roughly* follow the film backwards (the first few clips are from the end of the film, and they progress back to the beginning). See more »
CONVOY, even after almost 30 years since it was released, remains was it was, an iconic American film by an iconic American director.
This movie,which is not short on American archetypes, from Ernest Bornine's vile redneck sheriff "Dirty Lyle," to Kris Kristofferson's independence-loving "Rubber Duck," to Ali MacGraw's free-spirited "Melissa," is really an old-fashioned Western, but with trucks. LOTS of trucks.
Like Clint Eastwood's "man with no name" gunslinger, Kristofferson (who steals every scene with his smile and blue eyes) is a man whose sense of honour and justice compels him to act on behalf of the down-trodden; symbolized in this case by a black truck driver named "Spider Mike" (played by actor Franklyn Ajaye). But instead of guns and "pistols at dawn" Kristofferson uses a semi.
But it's not "justice" he's after, for in the world of CONVOY "justice" (per se) doesn't really exist. That's what makes this film so iconic. If it was about "justice" this movie would have been a court drama, with the Rubber Duck hiring a lawyer, going to court, and getting Dirty Lyle tossed in jail for his arrogance and abuse of power.
Nor is it about mere revenge, for throughout the movie Kristofferson's character never truly reaches the point where he simply wants to hurt and destroy his nemesis. It's rather about personal honour and how we, as individuals, define it.
Spider Mike, therefore, becomes not so much the victim of racism (which is repeatedly emphasized by the other characters calling him "boy") but of a system that has allowed dishonourable people (in positions of power) to abuse that power at will. Into this world comes the "legendary" Rubber Duck, the "last of the independents," who alone is willing to strike a blow for the diminished honour of another man, while seeking no reward for himself.
This is the essence of the American Western and why it works so well in CONVOY. Take away the trucks, put on some cowboy boots and a six-shooter, and you have before you any number of Westerns whose sole premise is that one man with personal integrity and honour can make a real difference in the corrupt world in which he lives.
The difference in this case is that Kristofferson doesn't just "clean up this one horse town" he, with the aid of his "posse" of like-minded truckers (Burt Young does a terrific job as his side-kick "Pig Pen"), totally demolishes it. And like those great Westerns, only then can Rubber Duck find solace for his spirit; which he does without compromising either his own values or his personal integrity
This is the essence of honour itself and what really makes this movie work. Even, now, after almost 30 years, one cannot help but stand and cheer as Rubber Duck and company take on the forces arrayed against them as the movie reaches its climax. And then stand up cheer again during the closing dénouement.
CONVOY, therefore, isn't about "America," or even about being an American, it IS America; the America of myth and folklore that people, even now, still believe in and which the great Westerns of old have done so much to popularize. Because of that and because director Sam Peckinpah does it with such style and grace, this iconic movie, by an iconic director, deserves a place on the shelf of every lover of good solid entertainment
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