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The Straight Story (1999)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 56,590 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 410 user | 142 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

An old man makes a long journey by tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jane Galloway Heitz ...
Dorothy
Joseph A. Carpenter ...
Bud
Donald Wiegert ...
Sig
...
Tracey Maloney ...
Nurse
Dan Flannery ...
Jennifer Edwards-Hughes ...
Brenda
Ed Grennan ...
Pete
Jack Walsh ...
Apple
Max the Wonder Dog ...
Gil Pearson ...
Bus Driver
Barbara June Patterson ...
Woman on Bus
...
Anastasia Webb ...
Crystal
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Storyline

"The Straight Story" chronicles a trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Straight from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wis., in 1994 while riding a lawn mower. The man undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his ill, estranged, 75-year-old brother Lyle. Written by Christian Sandberg

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

3 November 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Straight Story  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£48,410 (UK) (3 December 1999)

Gross:

$6,197,866 (USA) (21 April 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, Alvin's brother's name is mentioned as Lyle; however, in Straight's biography in the Des Moines Register, his name is listed as Henry. This is most likely not an error, but rather the result of Alvin's brother not wanting his real name used in the film. See more »

Goofs

In New Hampton (at the junction of US 18 and US 63), Alvin crosses West Hale Street before he approaches it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dorothy: Hi Rose.
Rose 'Rosie' Straight: Hi Dorothy.
Alvin Straight: [can be heard collapsing inside his house]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the Alvin Straight family See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 16 October 1999 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Most Requested Song
(From Strange Tales of the Late West)
Written by Middlejohn & John Neff
By Arrangement with Maui Zone Records & Tapes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Shockingly-Straight Story From David Lynch
29 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"A truly nice story with a moral about brotherly love" describes this odd David Lynch film. This was especially "odd" because it wasn't the kind of film Lynch had been putting out in the last 15 -20 years. Those were dark and shocking films (Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Mulholland Drive) and this is the opposite. I know it disappointed a lot of his fans. Others were delighted by it. Count me as one of the latter, and I own all three of those "dark" films, too.

This was another supposed-true life story, here detailing an elderly man's trip in a seated lawnmower from western Iowa all the way to Wisconsin to see his ailing brother who he hasn't talked to in years but wants to see before the latter dies. Well, I guess that premise - an old man driving a lawn mower 400 miles - still makes this an "odd" film of sorts, so Lynch stays in character with that!

Richard Farnsworth plays the title role. He is the type of guy, face-wise, voice-wise, low-key personality-wise, that just about everyone likes. The wrinkles on his face tell many a story. It was so sad to hear what happened to him in real life a year after this film was released.

The first 25 minutes of this film isn't much, and not always pleasant as it shows the main character's adult and mentally-challenged child (Sissy Spacek) and her tragic past, but once Alvin Straight (Farnsworth) begins his trip, the story picks up. I played this for several friends and they thought the film NEVER picked up, but I am more generous with it. I think it's a hidden gem. To them, it was a sleeping pill.

I found his trip pretty fascinating but you have to realize in advance this is NOT going to be a suspenseful Lynch crime story. It IS slow and if that's okay with you, you might like this. Charm enters the picture in some of people Alvin meets along the way, such as a wayward young girl running away and some nice town folks who help the old man out when he gets in trouble. (Henry Cada as "Daniel Riordan, is a standout in that regard.) Harry Dean Stanton gets third billing, but that's a joke: he's only in the final few minutes of the movie!

The Iowa scenery is pleasant. I lived there for several years and can attest to the rolling hills and the rich soil. It's a nice state with nice people....like this movie.


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