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The Road (I) (2009)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  18 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 167,618 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
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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 »


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

A Miserable Journey Displayed Beautifully
15 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With a surplus of post-apocalyptic/disaster flicks present in today's film circle, the Road does what very few films in any genre seem capable of doing. Here is a picture that in it's own discreteness captures the realism of a holocaust horror, combining the absolute worst possible future with the most profoundly beautiful human characteristics that keep the main characters persevering. Not only does the story accurately exhibit the polar opposite aspects of a post apocalyptic existence, but the cinematography used during the flashbacks of a life full of color and hope many take for granted, is excellently positioned with the dark, dismal, and often terrifying reality that is the Road. The score was also fantastic and perfectly appropriate for the film.

The only two, minor issues I had were the sound editing, (MINOR!) and the ending which was NOT at all a disappointment, but I felt it was quite open, without giving anything away. This is, again, a minor issue, for the story in itself was a journey, and we see only a small portion of the great, tragic, and ultimately fulfilling struggle.

And, though I'm sure no more attention is necessary, the acting as a whole was phenomenal. Each film since LOTR Viggo has greatly improved and I'd like to think of this as the beginning of his finest hour. Very few performances touch me emotionally, and his was certainly one of them, in three scenes in particular which were, being discrete, (the parting flashback, the dinner, and the climax.) Well done, the Road, thank you Mr. Mortenson.

227 of 299 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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