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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 »

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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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
Kenneth Hudgins Kenneth Hudgins ... Standby #1
Buster Daniels Buster Daniels ... Buster Daniels - Drunk (as Buster Danials)
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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:

Every cop in the state was after her. Everybody else was behind her. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,800,000
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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steven Spielberg: [father] Clovis. See more »

Goofs

While the Border Patrol's purpose is indeed to protect the United States against illegal entry and not vice-versa, they are still a law enforcement agency that can be called upon to assist other state or federal agencies (as depicted in the film) to prevent wanted felons fleeing the United States jurisdiction during a pursuit. This has happened numerous times in reality and as such they are completely justified in firing at Clovis's car during their attempted escape. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Nocker: You got me out here with no where to sit.
Mr. Alvin T. Nocker: Why don't you sit on your fist and lean back on your thumb.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Eyes of Texas
(uncredited)
Written by John Lang Sinclair
[Played by marching band when the car enters Rodrigues, Texas]
See more »

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User Reviews

A Quality Work Of Passionate Filmmaking.
2 December 2014 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

Steven Spielberg's theatrical feature film debut is a smartly crafted, expertly composed & skilfully executed adventure drama that clearly exhibits the legendary director's penchant for turning an on-screen moment into a larger-than-life event without ever going over the top and is also significant for marking the commencement of one of cinema's greatest collaborations.

Based on a true story, The Sugarland Express tells the story of a young woman who successfully breaks her husband out of prison to help her assist retrieving her child, about to be placed in the care of foster parents. Things soon take a turn for the unexpected when they're left with no choice but to take a patrolman hostage & are pursued by the police throughout their journey.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film wonderfully introduces many of his trademarks & themes that would continue to recur in his later works and is a solid work that has enough style & substance to keep the viewers engaged for the most part. Camera-work is dynamic, makes excellent angle choices & remains consistent throughout while editing steadily paces its narrative.

Coming to the acting department, the cast comprises of Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, William Atherton & Michael Sacks amongst which it's Hawn who chips in with the most impressive performance. Marking his first collaboration with Spielberg, John William provides a score that beautifully reflects the film's tone with tracks that are adventurous, light-hearted & at the same moment, slightly poignant.

On an overall scale, The Sugarland Express is one of Spielberg's highly underrated flicks & although far from a masterpiece, it's still a quality work of passionate filmmaking that's admirable for a number of things. Full of crowd-pleasing elements, presenting the then-young filmmaker refining his craft & an indication of greater things to come, The Sugarland Express is a must for Spielberg's fans as well as critics.


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