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In a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, an ailing father defends his son as they slowly travel to the sea.



(novel), (screenplay)
707 ( 373)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Motherly Woman
Gang Member
Bearded Man
Agnes Herrmann ...
Archer's Woman
Bearded Face
Bearded Man #2
David August Lindauer ...
Man On Mattress
Well Fed Woman


It's a post-apocalyptic world, several years after whatever the cataclysmic event, which has in turn caused frequent quakes as further potential hazards. The world is gray and getting quickly grayer as more and more things die off. A man and his pre-teen son, who was born after the apocalypse, are currently on the road, their plan to walk to the coast and head south where the man hopes there will be a more hospitable environment in which to live. The man has taught his son that they are the "good people" who have fire in their hearts, which in combination largely means that they will not resort to cannibalism to survive. The man owns a pistol with two bullets remaining, which he will use for murder/suicide of him and his son if he feels that that is a better fate for them than life in the alternative. Food and fuel are for what everyone is looking. The man has taught his son to be suspect of everyone that they may meet, these strangers who, out of desperation, may not only try to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a moment the world changed forever.


Adventure | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 December 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La carretera  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,502,231 (USA) (27 November 2009)


$56,692 (USA) (11 May 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene where the Man washes the Boy's hair in the stream was shot three times. During that scene, the weather was very cold, so John Hillcoat promised Kodi Smit-McPhee that it would be done in only two takes. However, during the second take, the sun came out and ruined the shot, requiring a third take. The boy's crying afterward was Smit-McPhee actually crying, not acting. See more »


The pistol the man carries with the boy (supposedly the same from his home) is a small caliber revolver. The pistol that the man and woman 'talk' over and even show the last 2 bullets is a large caliber revolver. This is clearly visible in each situation when the barrel is visible. See more »


[first lines]
Wife: What's happening? Why are you taking a bath?
The Man: I'm not.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Over the end credits, we hear the sounds of children playing. What the world must have been like in happier times. See more »


Referenced in Southland: What Makes Sammy Run? (2010) See more »


Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord No. 3 in E Major: Adagio Ma Non Tanto
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach)
Arranged by Ryan Franks
Performed by Ryan Franks & Harry Scorzo
Courtesy of Crucial Music Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"The Road" a Fresh Approach to Tired Post-Apocalyptic Genre
19 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

By Zach Copeland "The Road" Takes Fresh Approach to Post-Apocalyptic Genre Ever since God flooded out the entire human race in the early pages of Genesis, literature has abounded with stories of the apocalypse. For generation after generation, from The Book of Revelations to The Stand, we have obsessed over the end of the world, how it will come to pass, and what, if anything, we can do to stop it. Now that humankind has reached a point where the End could conceivably happen in an afternoon, our glimpses into this theoretical future are all the more intriguing. And they've never been more important.

The Road, directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men), is a dark, poignant story of a father and son journeying through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, withstanding harsh weather, malnutrition, and under the constant threat of marauders, thieves and cannibals. Their goal is simple: to carry on.

Those looking to sink their teeth into mindless disaster-porn (not that there's anything wrong with that) can get their fix elsewhere. The Road is a smaller, more penetrating film that draws strength from its intimacy and its ability to do so much with so little.

Viggo Mortensen gives an emotional tour de force as the embattled father; look for him on the red carpet come March. Watching children act is oftentimes painful for me, but I thought Kodi Smit-McPhee was impressive and genuine as the son, and takes on the task of being in literally every scene with rare fearlessness. Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Guy Pearce give small but highly memorable performances, Duvall in particular, whose portrayal of a withered old man journeying all alone will haunt you.

The desolate environment in which the story takes place is itself a character, foreign yet eerily familiar, and so perfectly conceptualized that it matches – heck, surpasses the standard of realism set by films such as 28 Days Later and Children of Men. Shot throughout four states, including at the site of the Mount St. Helens eruption, Hillcoat and cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (The Others, The Sea Inside) paint a backdrop that is altogether beautiful and devastating.

They say that every generation since the dawn of man has feared the End, and while this may be true, not every generation has seen what our modern technology is capable of. The Road is a dark looking glass into our future, and what it is likely to become if our primal nature is left unchecked.

Early in the film, the son looks at his father and asks him, "We're the good guys, right?" The father's response is in the affirmative, but as their situation become increasingly desperate, that sense of morality we think to be ingrained is put to the test. Hillcoat does a masterful job of portraying human beings as what we are and always have been. He holds up a mirror to the world and hypnotizes you with it.

As far as post-apocalyptic movies go, The Road is hands-down one of the best ever made. Despite its raw, gritty facade, which will understandably be a turn-off for many theatergoers, the story underneath has a sense of serenity that everyone can relate to.

The Road opens everywhere on November 25. Need I say more? *The Film Crusade*

136 of 206 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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