7.2/10
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119 user 122 critic

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

Trailer
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
Learn more

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only time that James Taylor ever acted in a movie, apart from cameos as himself (as in "Funny People"). He is the only one of the main actors in the film still alive today (2009). See more »

Goofs

When the G.T.O pulls into the gas station it's extremely shiny and clean considering it's just driven across 3 States! See more »

Quotes

G.T.O.: I don't like being crowded by a couple of punk road hogs clear across two states, I don't.
The Driver: I don't believe I've ever seen you. Course there's lots of cars on the road like yours. They all get to look the same. They perform about the same.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Car ... 1955 Chevrolet See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Hollywood Knights (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

John Henry
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Merle Travis
See more »

User Reviews

A masterpiece from the criminally underrated Monte Hellman. One of the greatest road movies ever made.
25 April 2003 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

As an admirer of Monte Hellman's superb 1960s westerns 'Ride In The Whirlwind' and 'The Shooting' I had been dying to see 'Two-Lane Blacktop' for many years as most people who have seen it regard it as Hellman's best movie, and one of the greatest road movies ever made. Impossible to find on video, and rarely (if ever) screened on TV here in Australia, I finally managed to get hold of it on DVD, and boy, does this movie REALLY live up to its reputation! I think if it had have been more easy to see over the last thirty years it would be spoken of in the same breath as 'Easy Rider'. Both movies are landmarks. Existential road movies that really capture a lost slice of Americana. Hellman, like so many other talented directors, got his first breaks from b-grade legend Roger Corman. But Hellman's unwillingness to compromise, and a lot of bad luck, sadly meant that he never crossed over into the mainstream like other Corman proteges like Coppola and Demme. Too bad, because 'The Shooting' and 'Two-Lane Blacktop' showed he had talent and originality to burn. Both movies feature the legendary character actor Warren Oates ('The Wild Bunch', 'Dillinger', 'Race With The Devil', 'Drum', 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia'), and Oates fans MUST see this movie as his performance is simply superb. Oates plays G.T.O. a drifter and dreamer who challenges two young revheads (played by James Taylor and The Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson) to a cross country car race. The winner gets the other drivers pink slip and (possibly) the affections of "The Girl", played by the late Laurie Bird (who only made two movies after this one and who tragically suicided in her mid twenties). Taylor, Wilson and Bird all give low key, almost non-performances. None were actors before they filmed this, but their minimalistic styles suit the material wonderfully. By contrast Oates is just dynamite and dominates every scene he appears in. I'd say this, and Peckinpah's cult classic 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia', are his two most impressive performances. It's worth watching this movie just to see Oates, but there's a lot more going for it. It is however an acquired taste, and if you aren't a fan of 1970s movies you may find it hard going. Please persevere, it's really worth it! Also keep an eye out for Harry Dean Stanton's unforgettable cameo as a lonely hitchhiker. Stanton had previously worked with Hellman in 'Ride In The Whirlwind' alongside Jack Nicholson and Cameron Mitchell, and would go on to appear with Oates and Laurie Bird in Hellman's next movie, the controversial 'Cockfighter', another difficult one to get hold of (until now). 'Two-Lane Blactop' is one of the best movies I've ever seen, and I can't recommend it highly enough! An American classic. It's pure magic!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1972 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Two-Lane Blacktop See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

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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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