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The Road (I) (2009)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  18 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 165,515 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 491 user | 349 critic | 33 from

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 7 wins & 27 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?


Kodi Smit-McPhee's father read the whole book to Smith-McPhee right before he auditioned for the role of the boy. 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 »


Featured in At the Movies: Summer Special 2009/10 (2009) 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

Carry the Fire
28 November 2009 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The most recent adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel brought us the fantastic No Country for Old Men (Coen Bros.). McCarthy's post-apocalyptic The Road did not seem to set up well as filmed entertainment. Director John Hillcoat proves otherwise.

Make no mistake. This film is as bleak and filled with despair as any you have ever seen. This is not the SFX of fluff like 2012. This is the humanistic side of desperation and survival in a world where what little has survived seems grotesque and evil.

It is a phenomenal movie from a technical aspect, yet a higher rating seems off the mark, as so very few movie goers will find the entertainment value of such an achievement. While viewing, one can't help but weigh the ever-present option of suicide. What would we do in this situation? Do you continue to carry the fire or do you ask, what's the point, and hit the eject trigger? If you thought Charlize Theron was unappealing in Monster, you will find her absolutely intolerable here. Her beauty is overridden by her angst and unwillingness to continue the fight for her survival. Is she the rational one or totally selfish? Really good question.

The vast majority of the film is Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee on their quest for the coast ... their ultimate goal for survival. The gray and lifeless landscape would (and does)suck the hope and soul right out of most. Viggo keeps trudging while teaching his young, more sensitive son, who by the way, is a dead ringer for Charlize (were she a 12 year old boy). The grayness of the film is so intense, that the dream/flashback sequences couldn't help but make me wonder if life were black and white, would dreams be vivid and colorful? Fans of No Country for Old Men will catch a glimpse of Garret Dillahunt as the hillbilly gang member who stumbles upon the Father and Son - Dillahunt was Tommy Lee Jones' entertaining deputy. Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce also have brief, but welcome, supporting roles. Duvall actually does quite a bit with his limited lines.

While it seems odd to release this one at Thanksgiving - it's not in the tradition of mass-appeal holiday fare, it is a must see for any true film lover or literature addict. To see the gray and stillness become as overwhelming as what is usually limited to one's imagination is worth the effort.

53 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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