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Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

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2:28 | Trailer

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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

This was originally funded by Cinema Center who abruptly canceled the project when Monte Hellman was in pre-production. Luckily, he met with producer Ned Tanen who gave him $850,000 and final cut. See more »

Goofs

At the garage where the race is being set up, watch the crank of the hand mangle as it mysteriously changes its position throughout the clips. See more »

Quotes

The Girl: Say, which way we going?
The Mechanic: East.
The Girl: That's cool. I never been East.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The GTO ... 1970 Pontiac See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.23 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Song in Gee
(uncredited)
Written by Lisa Gilkyson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Easy Rider for Car Freaks
16 February 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

In "Easy Rider" two bikers are in search of American as they travel from coast to coast. The lead biker even calls himself Captain America. In "Two-Lane Blacktop" two car freaks, one a mechanic the other a driver, speed across the nation in search of what? Cars to race? Their trip turns into a cross-country race between their 55 Chevy and a GTO. How the driver of the GTO (played by Warren Oates) got the car depends on which of his stories the viewer believes. The revelation at the end of the film may possibly be the truth.

This film by existentialist director Monte Hellman who later helped produce Quentin Tarantino's seminal "Reservoir Dogs" is an important one. The dialog and acting are minimal, only one of the leads is a professional actor, Warren Oates. The others are two recording artists, James Taylor of "Fire and Rain" fame, and Dennis Wilson from The Beach Boys and a flower child Laurie Bird who tragically committed suicide in Art Garfunkel's apartment a few years later (ironically Garfunkel had helped Paul Simon sing the hit "I've gone to look for America"). The only other professional actor in the movie that this viewer recognized was Harry Dean Stanton who played the homosexual Oklahoma hitchhiker. This gives the film a more realistic feel and adds to the minimalism of the script and direction. The abrupt ending is a bit disconcerting but after a few viewings it makes more sense.

In "Easy Rider" the rock music was an integral part of the story. The soundtrack is one of the best ever. The music in "Two-Lane Blacktop" serves as mere background, kept so low that at times it's difficult to hear. There's a wild version of "Hit the Road Jack" by Jerry Lee Lewis who pumps the keyboard so fast that at times it sounds as if the keys are leaving the piano. The first rock song about racing, Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," is also heard at one point. It's hard for the listener to discern if Berry wrote the song about a woman or about a car. Otherwise the music corresponds with the simplicity of the rest of the flick.

The existential humor is easy to miss on the first viewing. GTO confesses to Mechanic and Driver that he is tired of picking up fantasies. Another part of the film has Driver asking Mechanic a question. Mechanic tells Driver to pull over and stop because it will take him a while to explain. When Driver stops it takes Mechanic only one sentence to give him his answer.

The viewer needs to watch "Two-Lane Blacktop" several times to get its full impact. The time is not wasted for the true believer.


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