6.8/10
14,219
71 user 64 critic

The Sugarland Express (1974)

PG | | Crime, Drama | 29 May 1974 (Sweden)
A woman attempts to reunite her family by helping her husband escape prison and together kidnapping their son. But things don't go as planned when they are forced to take a police hostage on the road.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Hal Barwood (screenplay), Matthew Robbins (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Duel (TV Movie 1971)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone
1941 (1979)
Action | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Treat Williams
Always (1989)
Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The spirit of a recently deceased expert pilot mentors a newer pilot while watching him fall in love with the girlfriend that he left behind.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey
Amistad (1997)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins
Firelight (1964)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Menacing flying saucers attack the citizens of a town.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Robert Robyn, Beth Weber, Lucky Lohr
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson
Savage (TV Movie 1973)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A TV reporter investigates compromising photographs of a nominee to the Supreme Court.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Will Geer
Something Evil (TV Movie 1972)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A young couple moves into a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. What they don't know is that there is an unseen presence in the house, and that it wants to take possession of the wife.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Darren McGavin, Sandy Dennis, Ralph Bellamy
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Stars: Tom Harrison, Christopher Lloyd, Kiefer Sutherland
Amblin' (1968)
Short | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

They were both wanderers but to be more specific...Hippies.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Levin, Pamela McMyler, Henry Axelrod
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Goldie Hawn ... Lou Jean
Ben Johnson ... Captain Tanner
Michael Sacks ... Slide
William Atherton ... Clovis
Gregory Walcott ... Mashburn
Steve Kanaly ... Officer Ernie Jessup
Louise Latham ... Mrs. Looby
Harrison Zanuck Harrison Zanuck ... Baby Langston
A.L. Camp A.L. Camp ... Mr. Alvin T. Nocker
Jessie Lee Fulton ... Mrs. Nocker
Dean Smith ... Russ Berry
Ted Grossman Ted Grossman ... Dietz
Bill Thurman ... Hunter
Ken Hudgins Ken Hudgins ... Standby #1 (as Kenneth Hudgins)
Buster Daniels Buster Daniels ... Buster Daniels - Drunk (as Buster Danials)
Edit

Storyline

Lou-Jean, a blonde woman, tells her husband, who is imprisoned, to escape. They plan to kidnap their own child, who was placed with foster parents. The escape is partly successful, they take a hostage, who is a policeman and are pursued through to Texas... Written by Kornel Osvart <kornelo@alphanet.hu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a girl who took on all of Texas...and almost won. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 May 1974 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Carte Blanche See more »

Filming Locations:

San Antonio, Texas, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,504,841
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Universal executives were thrilled with the rough cut until they previewed the film in San Jose, CA, on a double bill with Paper Moon (1973). Audiences were with the film through the first act, particularly liking Goldie Hawn's more comic scenes. When the sharpshooters turned up in the second half, and it became clear this was a more serious film, the mood changed. Some audience members left in tears. Others were angry. See more »

Goofs

Although this story is set in 1969, there are a slew of early 1970's model automobiles used in the film, including most of the police cars. See more »

Quotes

Clovis Poplin: We're in real trouble.
Clovis Poplin: Say, I didn't mean what I said.
Maxwell Slide: What was that?
Clovis Poplin: When I called you a son of a bitch, I didn't mean it
Maxwell Slide: And you ain't no mental subject neither.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of '1941' (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold
Written by Wiley Walker and Gene Sullivan
Sung by William Atherton, Goldie Hawn and Michael Sacks
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Spielberg's Forgotten First Film
6 June 2008 | by joshbaileynchSee all my reviews

After the success of Duel (which was really a TV movie) Sugarland Express (Spielberg's first feature film) flopped at the box office, though it received a reasonably warm critical response. In fact this is a great little movie for all kinds of reasons.

If you're interested in Spielberg as a director this is fascinating as it begins to lay out most of the themes that have driven his work ever since - family (especially divided and dysfunctional families), childhood, parenthood, outsiders, America and Americana etc. It's also a really interesting piece in terms of his developing style. This is the first Hollywood film in which panaflex cameras were used allowing Spielberg to produce fantastically elaborate and fluid shots even in the confines of a car (see the superb 360 pan fixed on Ben Johnson's car when he first talks to the Poplins)- a kind of cinematography that has become a hall mark of Spielberg's, as have the rising crane shots and extended tracking shots that pepper the film. Spielberg skies and "God Light" (his term for shafts of light in mist/at night) also feature heavily.

It's also a really interesting if somewhat unrecognised influence on films like Thelma and Louise which seems to lift its basic structure and characters right out of this film. The way Ben Johnson's Captain Tanner equates to Harvey Keitel's police officer in Ridley Scott's film seems particularly close.

Fantastic performances all round too. Johnson, Horne and Atherton (a much under-used actor who has been largely wasted since, playing roles like the self serving journalist in the Die Hard films)particularly shine.

It's also very funny, sad and engaging from beginning to end. Can't recommend this one enough - especially if you're a Spielberg fan.


47 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 71 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed