7.2/10
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113 user 117 critic

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

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2:29 | Trailer
2 men drag-racing across the U.S., in a '55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson's the mechanic, James Taylor's the driver.

Director:

Monte Hellman

Writers:

Rudy Wurlitzer (screenplay) (as Rudolph Wurlitzer), Will Corry (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Taylor ... The Driver
Warren Oates ... G.T.O
Laurie Bird ... The Girl
Dennis Wilson ... The Mechanic
David Drake David Drake ... Needles Station Attendant
Richard Ruth Richard Ruth ... Needles Station Mechanic
Rudy Wurlitzer Rudy Wurlitzer ... Hot Rod Driver (as Rudolph Wurlitzer)
Jaclyn Hellman Jaclyn Hellman ... Driver's Girl
Bill Keller Bill Keller ... Texas Hitchhiker
Harry Dean Stanton ... Oklahoma Hitchhiker (as H.D. Stanton)
Don Samuels Don Samuels ... Texas Policeman #1
Charles Moore Charles Moore ... Texas Policeman #2
Tom Green Tom Green ... Boswell Attendant
W.H. Harrison W.H. Harrison ... Parts Store Owner
Alan Vint ... Man in Roadhouse
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Storyline

The Driver and The Mechanic are 2 car freaks driving a 1955 Chevy through the southwestern U.S., looking for other cars to race. They're totally dedicated to their car, and speak with each other only when necessary. At a gas station, the pair (along with a girl who's ingratiated herself into their world) meet G.T.O; a middle-aged man who fabricates stories and. It's decided to have a race to Washington, D.C., where the winner will get the loser's car. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You can never go fast enough...

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1972 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Fortare än döden See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Monte Hellman insisted on making the film entirely on location. See more »

Goofs

The cost/gallons numbers on the gas pumps change several times during the gas station race set-up scene. See more »

Quotes

The Mechanic: You'd have yourself a real street-sweeper here if you put a little work into it.
G.T.O.: I go fast enough.
The Driver: You can never go fast enough.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Car ... 1955 Chevrolet See more »


Soundtracks

Maybelline / No Money Down
Written by Chuck Berry / Chuck Berry
Performed by John Hammond (as John Hammond Jr.)
Courtesy of Vanguard Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Route 666
8 April 2008 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Nostalgic of late 60s and early 70s American culture, this film is hard to come to grips with. At face value it's nothing more than a poorly plotted road trip across the U.S. Southwest, as two guys and a girl, in a 1950's hotrod, race a guy named G.T.O (Warren Oates) in his yellow muscle car.

The film's concept is a little like that of the early 1960's TV series "Route 66". But the approach here is totally different. Director Monte Hellman designed "Two-Lane Blacktop" as if it were a docudrama. Dialogue is minimal and not canned, camera work is unobtrusive with very long camera "takes", none of the actors wear makeup, non-actors play bit parts, there are minimal plot contrivances, and so far as I could determine there are no indoor movie sets. As such, the film reminds me of "Woodstock" (1970).

That's both good and bad. Lack of acting experience renders James Taylor and Dennis Wilson more natural than what could be expected with trained actors. It's bad because neither Dennis Wilson nor James Taylor could act, and their entertainment quotient is zilch. In performances, the film thus bears a striking resemblance to "Zabriskie Point" (1970).

For the above reasons, a lot of viewers will not like this film. The plot, such as it is, is super slow and the performances are drab. And there are no special effects to function as distractions. So ...

What you have in "Two-Lane Blacktop" is a 1970's art-house film. What it lacks in entertainment value the film makes up for with its heavy-duty philosophical and existential themes. An economy of language wherein nothing in the film is "explained", the tacit praise of the prosaic, and the almost stifling trust in the present moment, all speak to the human heart, as the voice of nihilistic romanticism. There is no freedom here, no escape, no change, nor redemption. The landscape horizon never gets closer. It's the myth of freedom and the embrace of alienation. No matter how far you travel, you never actually arrive. It's the journey that matters, on the devil's highway. But that's life.


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