7.1/10
11,434
80 user 23 critic

Crossroads (1986)

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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ON DISC
1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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Taglines:

Where second best never gets a second chance. 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:

Encrucijada  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,071,680 (USA) (16 March 1986)

Gross:

$5,839,031 (USA)
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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

John Fusco's screenplay won first place in the national FOCUS Awards (Films of College and University Students) and sold to Columbia Pictures while he was still a student. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, the nurse gives Hoff memprogromade, a drug that does not exist. See more »

Quotes

Willie Brown: They find out I can walk, they take away my Pontiac!
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Soundtracks

CROSS ROADS
Performed by Terry Evans and Ry Cooder
Written by Robert Johnson
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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.


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