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The Road (I) (2009)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  18 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 167,672 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 491 user | 349 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 29 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


A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food--and each other. Written by Sean Pollock

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
See  »

Did You Know?


During a preview Q&A screening in London, director John Hillcoat revealed that Kodi Smit-McPhee won the role of 'The Boy' partly due to an audition tape sent in by Kodi's father that showed them re-enacting the scene where the father shows the boy how to kill himself by placing a pistol in his mouth. See more »


Midway through the movie the Man finds an unopened Coca-Cola can in a machine. When it falls out it has a dented top. When they drink from the can, there is no dent. 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 Peep Show: St. Hospitals (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

So Well Done I Wanted To Kill Myself
18 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Road (1:50, R) — Science Fiction, 3rd string, original

Among the first words spoken in The Road (adapted from Cormac McCarthy's novel) are "It's just another earthquake.". That's supposed to be reassuring.

It's a bleak, devastated, post-apocalyptic world leached of everything: color, sounds, names, sunshine, warmth, joy, hope. Thru it trudge The Man (Viggo Mortenson) and The Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), slowly and painfully making their way to "the coast", where maybe things will be marginally better. Who can say? But what else is there?

Along the way they encounter The Gang Member (Garret Dillahunt, still as creepy and frightening as he was in The Sarah Connor Chronicles and The Last House on the Left), The Road Gang Leader (Brenna Roth), The Old Man (Robert Duvall), The Thief (Michael K. Williams), and The Veteran (Guy Pearce) and his woman (Molly Parker). In flashbacks to an achingly lost former life, we see The Wife (Charlize Theron).

And really, once you've named the names, you've pretty well covered the movie. The name of the game is Survival, tho none can say what the point of it is. The food is gone, and clearly no more will be growing. Humans are apparently the only animals to survive the unnamed global disaster, so they represent the sole remaining, rapidly dwindling source of protein. The voices you hear approaching are not the Red Cross.

Some choose not to play. The Wife, after some low-energy soul-searching, goes the ancient-Eskimo route. "She was gone," The Man remembers, "and the coldness of it was her final gift."

Others persevere for no cogent reason. "DId you ever wish you would die?", The Man asks. "No," The Old Man replies, "it's foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these."

The Man and The Boy have 1 gun with 2 bullets left; they are not being reserved for potential assailants. In some of the movie's most agonizing scenes, we see The Man explain not only what must be done but why.

I walked into this movie 10 hours after leaving the theater where Avatar splashed the screen with color, motion, activity, purpose, a 3rd dimension, and a superb sound track. It is difficult to imagine 2 more disparate films in terms of tone and atmosphere. But both are extremely effective at making their respective worlds seem completely real.

The movie is unremittingly grim and completely believable. It doesn't pull its punches or sell out. It will haunt you. It's unlikely that anyone else will ever make another movie that treats the end of the world so realistically, so if you want to see the standard against which all others will be compared, this is your chance.

Stay away if you're depressed or prone to it, and avoid razor blades for 12 hours afterward.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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