Don't Come Knocking (2005)

R  |   |  Drama, Music  |  25 August 2005 (Germany)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 6,386 users   Metascore: 55/100
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Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
1st AD
2nd AD (as Jeff Parise)
1st Girl
2nd Girl
Howard Spence
Producer 2
Old Ranch Hand
Robin Twogood ...
Mike Butters ...


Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to die now, nobody would shed a tear over him, that's the sad truth. Until one day Howard learns that he might have a child somewhere out there. The very idea seems like a ray of hope that his life wasn't all in vain. So he sets out to find that young man or woman. He discovers an entire life that he has missed ... Written by Reverse Angle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief nudity | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

25 August 2005 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Estrela Solitária  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$30,630 (USA) (17 March 2006)


$438,732 (USA) (28 July 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sam Shepard's son, Jesse, stood in for his father on the fast riding sequences. Shepard did some of his own riding, but he was not permitted to do more than a trot. See more »


When Sky is first seen driving her truck, the gear shift is clearly in "Park". See more »


Earl: [singing] Where is Howard? Who is Howard? We wanna know, we wanna know. Where is Howard? Who is Howard? Where did he go, where did he go? He's down in the ditches. He's down in the ground. Disappeared himself. He's no-where to be found! Where is Howard? Who is Howard? He's long gone, he's long gone.
See more »


References High Noon (1952) See more »


Power of Love
Written by T Bone Burnett (as Henry Burnett)
Performed by T Bone Burnett (as T Bone Burnett)
Published by Henry Burnett Music
Courtesy of Electro Magnetic Corp.
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User Reviews

watching paint dry on a minor masterpiece
4 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Wim Wenders' makes extraordinary movies about ordinary people. Whether the inhabitants are important personalities or 'little people', they are always especial because of their humanity.

When I did an internet movie quiz that supposedly answered the question, ¨If someone made a movie about your life, who would direct it?¨ I kinda hoped it would be Wenders. His characters are tiny flecks on a vast landscape, made infinitely interesting by fine observation and untiring attention. Each character is a mystery unravelling.

In 'Don't Come Knocking', we follow the almost incomprehensible actions of a leading Hollywood actor (played by Sam Shepherd) who absconds from a film set in the middle of the American desert. He is struggling to escape a lifelong persona of drink, drugs and women, but doesn't know what he is looking for or why he feels life has passed him by. He is nudged occasionally in the right direction by his mother, and followed by a mysterious young woman carrying her mother's ashes – and whose knowing smile gently holds back a reservoir of yet-to-be-explained emotion.

Wenders can never be accused of hurrying things along. His movies can be like watching paint dry – except that when the painting is finally ready to touch we may feel a masterpiece has just crystallized before our eyes. This is perhaps one of those occasions. Tim Roth as the inscrutable bond man tracking down the wayward actor is barely recognisable till half way through the film, so perfect is the characterisation. Sarah Polley as the mysterious Sky can almost make us burst into tears before we have any idea why, or of the secret she is holding. Shepherd plays Howard Spence with biopic-like conviction. Add a score by T-Bone Burnett that seems to suspend time in the desert with guitar chords that hang in the air, and framed scene upon scene that looks like a classic movie poster waiting to be discovered.

Don't Come Knocking is like one big Do Not Disturb sign on the things we most need to know and that no-one wants to tell us. It's why they're secret – and why we also have to know. The film takes a very long time to answer it's own puzzle but, if you can stand the pace, the result is ultimately worth it.

58 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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