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The Great Smokey Roadblock (1977)

The Last of the Cowboys (original title)
This movie is about an aging trucker named Elegant John Howard. Howard decides he and his truck Elenor has one more good run in them, and with the help of a hitchhiker and a few others he will make it happen.


John Leone


John Leone




Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Fonda ... Elegant John Howard
Eileen Brennan ... Penelope Pearson
Austin Pendleton ... Guido
Robert Englund ... Beebo Crozier
Dub Taylor ... Harley Davidson
John Byner ... Bobby Apples
Susan Sarandon ... Ginny
Melanie Mayron ... Lula
Leigh French ... Glinda
Mews Small ... Alice (as Mayra Small)
Daina House ... Celeste (as Dana House)
Gary Sandy ... Charlie La Pere
Valerie Curtin ... Mary Agnes
Johnnie Collins III Johnnie Collins III ... Jimmy
Bibi Osterwald ... Annie McCarigle


This movie is about an aging trucker named Elegant John Howard. Howard decides he and his truck Elenor has one more good run in them, and with the help of a hitchhiker and a few others he will make it happen.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The funniest truckin' you've ever seen! See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Valerie Curtin plays the small role of Mary Agnes here. Two years later, she would be Oscar-nominated for co-writing '... And Justice for All' (1979) which co-starred Al Pacino. See more »


There are no visible mountains from the beaches of South Carolina. The beach scene was obviously filmed on the West Coast. See more »


Still the One
Written by John Hall and Johanna Hall
Performed by Orleans
See more »

User Reviews

Fonda Keeps on a truckin'
14 May 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

According to the Films of Henry Fonda from the Citadel Film Series, The Great Smokey Roadblock was on the shelf for two years before being released. After that I suppose the producers decided this one was strictly for the red state drive in trade. I certainly don't remember it being exhibited in Brooklyn at the time.

It's not a bad film, it was the kind of thing that Fonda did during that last decade, mostly films strictly for the paycheck and no strain on any ability. He's a typical red state hero, a hard working truck driver who because of a prolonged hospital stay was unable to keep up payments on his big rig and the bank repossessed it. Not something you do to Fonda who steals the truck back and goes looking for a last big load.

And what a load it is. A favorite place of Fonda's a cat house that caters to men of the road has been shut down and Eileen Brennan and her girls have been told to cease and desist. But she's got a new location in South Carolina so she moves bag and all the baggage with Fonda from Wyoming.

The film has a few laughs but some serious flaws as well. Try as I might I could not understand why the eyes of a nation should be focused on Fonda and his plight. Nor could I understand why he could not get a legitimate load for his vehicle even if it was stolen in the eyes of the law. Why should those shipping if he's got a good reputation care? And the villain of the piece drugstore cowboy truck driver Gary Sandy was hostile to Fonda for reasons that were never made clear. And Robert England's character of a hitchhiker Fonda picks up along the way is never really any kind of coherent.

I did enjoy sheriff Dub Taylor and how the women got around him after he jails Fonda and them. And the women do have a good way for paying for gas, food and lodging.

Young Susan Sarandon had a bit role as one of Eileen Brennan's girls. The Great Smokey Roadblock while not great was better than a lot of what Fonda was in during his last decade.

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Release Date:

13 February 1979 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Smokey Roadblock See more »

Filming Locations:

Oroville, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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