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The Road (I) (2009)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  18 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 165,431 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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Title: The Road (2009)

The Road (2009) on IMDb 7.3/10

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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?


Director John Hillcoat did shoot the controversial scene from the book involving a baby on a spit being roasted over a campfire, but ultimately decided to cut said scene from the final finished film because he felt it was simply too much. See more »


The "current" portion of the movie takes place approximately 7-8 years after the "disaster" happened that caused all plant life to die off. If all plant life had died off, there would be no dry grass shooting from the soil, nor dead grass lying on the ground especially with all the weather turmoil happening around. All leaves and dried grass would have decomposed in that amount of time. Furthermore, trees would not have dried leaves hanging from the branches. 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

"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*

132 of 202 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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