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Crossroads (1986)

 -  Drama | Music | Mystery  -  14 March 1986 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 9,006 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 18 critic

Ralph Macchio is Lightning Boy. A kid who can make a slide guitar sing. Blind Dog is an old pro who knows it. Together, they're headed to a place where deals are made. And legends are born.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Eugene Martone
...
Willie Brown
...
Frances
...
Scratch's Assistant
Robert Judd ...
Scratch
...
Jack Butler
...
Lloyd
...
Bartender
John Hancock ...
Sheriff Tilford
...
Dr. Santis
...
Beautiful Girl / Dancer
Al Fann ...
Pawnbroker
Wally Taylor ...
O.Z
...
Tex Donaldson ...
John McGraw
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Storyline

Eugene is an extraordinary talent in classic guitar, but he dreams of being a famous Blues guitarist. So he investigates to find a storied lost song. He asks the legendary Blues musician Willie Brown to help him, but Willie demands to free him from the old-people's prison first and to really learn the blues on the way to its origin: Mississippi Delta. Eugene doesn't know yet about Willie's deal with the devil, that he now wants to revoke. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

'The Kid' keeps the legend alive.... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 March 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Encruzilhada  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,839,031 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(partial)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lightning Boy claims that he came from Long Island, the same city where Steve Vai (the Devil's guitarist Jack Butler) was born. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, Eugene puts a Robert Johnson tape into his tape player. The first track is listed as "Crossroads Blues." It should be "Cross Road"; the song title didn't become "Crossroads" until Cream covered the song in 1968. See more »

Quotes

Eugene Martone: Where and when for this thing?
Scratch: Ohh, I can get us there real quick... Jack Butler's gonna like you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

HE MADE A WOMAN OUT OF ME
Performed by Amy Madigan
Written by Fred Burch and Don Hill (as Donald Hill)
See more »

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User Reviews

Cult Classic with Incredible Music!
9 December 2003 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

CROSSROADS (Walter Hill's Blues film, NOT Britney Spears' self-indulgent 2002 fluff) is a terrific introduction to a uniquely American 'sound', with a remarkable cast and southern 'atmosphere'. It has always astonished me that the film was not a hit when released, in 1986, but it's status as a cult classic is certainly well-deserved, with subsequent films like the Coens' O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? 'borrowing' the Robert Johnson subplot and many of the visual elements. Perhaps the film, with it's magnificent Ry Cooder score, was just too far ahead of it's time, a strange criticism to apply to a Blues movie!

The tale involves young Long Island guitar prodigy Eugene 'Lightning Boy' Martone (Ralph Macchio), a rebel at the Julliard School with his passion for the Blues ("Primitive music," one professor sneers), who is on a quest to recover legendary guitarist Robert Johnson's fabled "30th Song" of 1938. His research leads him to a New York nursing home, where fabled harmonica player Willie Brown (the late actor/singer/songwriter Joe Seneca) is confined. Promising to 'give' the song to the youngster if he can be "busted out" and returned to his Mississippi home, the pair are soon on a cross-country trip, with Martone learning about discrimination, the 'darker' side of Man, and love's loss (through a brief encounter with Jami Gertz, who was never lovelier), providing him with the core of sadness Brown says is essential to truly play the Blues.

The climax of the film is legendary; arriving home, Brown, who had 'sold his soul' to the Devil at the 'Crossroads' as a young man (just as his friend, Johnson, had), attempts to get 'Scratch' (skeletal Robert Judd) to tear up the contract. The Devil informs him that he will, only if Martone can defeat his Champion in a 'Guitar Duel'. If the youngster loses, his soul, as well as Brown's, will be lost, forever. Martone rashly agrees ("I don't believe any of this crap anyway!"), and he and Brown find themselves in a church converted into a dance hall, with demons and lost souls cavorting to the rock strains of insanely talented Jack Butler (Frank Zappa guitarist/composer Steve Vai). With only his love of the Blues, Julliard training, and Brown's 'ju-ju' to aid him, the humbled Martone must play for far more than his life, in a guitar 'Duel' with the rocker (both parts were actually performed by the astonishingly gifted Vai) that is so fabulous that it is amazing that it was NOT included in the soundtrack album!

Walter Hill was no stranger to music-themed fantasies (he also directed another 'ahead of it's time' cult film, STREETS OF FIRE), and with CROSSROADS he took a simple storyline, and turned it into an unforgettable musical experience.


41 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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