7.1/10
13,208
88 user 24 critic

Crossroads (1986)

Ralph Macchio is Lightning Boy. A kid who can make a slide guitar sing. Blind Dog is an old pro who knows it. Together, they're headed to a place where deals are made. And legends are born.

Director:

Walter Hill

Writer:

John Fusco
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Macchio ... Eugene Martone
Joe Seneca ... Willie Brown
Jami Gertz ... Frances
Joe Morton ... Scratch's Assistant
Robert Judd Robert Judd ... Scratch
Steve Vai ... Jack Butler
Dennis Lipscomb ... Lloyd
Harry Carey Jr. ... Bartender
John Hancock ... Sheriff Tilford
Allan Arbus ... Dr. Santis
Gretchen Palmer ... Beautiful Girl / Dancer
Al Fann ... Pawnbroker
Wally Taylor Wally Taylor ... O.Z
Tim Russ ... Robert Johnson
Tom Donaldson Tom Donaldson ... John McGraw (as Tex Donaldson)
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Storyline

Eugene is an extraordinary talent in classic guitar, but he dreams of being a famous Blues guitarist. So he investigates to find a storied lost song. He asks the legendary Blues musician Willie Brown to help him, but Willie demands to free him from the old-people's prison first and to really learn the blues on the way to its origin: Mississippi Delta. Eugene doesn't know yet about Willie's deal with the devil, that he now wants to revoke. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

'The Kid' keeps the legend alive.... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Encrucijada See more »

Filming Locations:

Murphy, Mississippi, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,071,680, 16 March 1986

Gross USA:

$5,839,031

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,839,031
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Black and White (partial)| Color | Black and White (partial)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The guitar duel was originally about 15 minutes long. It was edited to the last two minutes or so to heighten the impact of the scene. See more »

Goofs

During the duel, Jack Butler hands his guitar to someone, takes off his jacket, then puts the guitar back on to play his "intimidation" riff before the rest of the band starts up. Jack's riff is heard before he has his right hand anywhere near the guitar. See more »

Quotes

Scratch's Assistant: [Trying to intimidate Eugene] Well well well... who sent you here? Can't talk little man?
[laughs]
Scratch's Assistant: Bet ya can't play none, either!
Scratch's Assistant: [Eugene plugs in his guitar and stares back at him, saying nothing] Uh huh!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

CROSS ROADS
Performed by Terry Evans and Ry Cooder
Written by Robert Johnson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of those films you'll never tire of.
10 March 2003 | by alecwestSee all my reviews

I've seen CROSSROADS so many times I've lost count. And, it won't be the last time I'll watch it. The music alone would be reason enough. But, this film is far deeper. And no amount of exposition about it could ever *SPOIL* it for the virgin-viewer who has never seen it.

Eugene Martone, considered a prodigy on the classical guitar, is a young Long Island man attending the prestigious Julliard Music School. Problem? He prefers the blues over classical. And he's on a quest. He uncovers evidence that blues guitar legend, Robert Johnson, composed 30 songs. Since only 29 were ever recorded, he becomes obsessed at finding the 'lost' song number 30 (and being the first person to record it). And, after some sleuthing, he finds an old photograph and a news clipping -- pointing him toward the only living person who would know that song and who, fortunately, lives nearby. His name is Willie Brown (aka Blind Dog Fulton, aka Smokehouse Brown), a friend of Robert Johnson who traveled and performed with him (harmonica/vocals). Brown lives in a penal facility for old people (a criminal's nursing home). At first, Brown denies his true identity. But confronted with a photo of himself next to Robert Johnson, Brown finally admits the truth. And, he agrees to teach Martone the lost song -- but ONLY if Martone breaks him out of the facility and takes him back to Mississippi.

The catch? Martone knows that lore surrounding Robert Johnson says he sold his soul to the Devil. What he doesn't know is that it's fact, not lore ... and that Willie Brown did the same thing. And Martone doesn't know that Brown's reason for going back to Mississippi is to return to the 'crossroads' where he and Johnson sold their souls in hopes of getting the Devil to release him from his contract. This culminates in an eerie finale where Martone gambles his soul in a blues duel with the Devil's own guitarist, Jack Butler ... to save Brown from eternal damnation.

Director Walter Hill is masterful, combining music, drama, alternate history, fantasy, and horror into a single plot. Kudos must also be given to screenwriter John Fusco for giving Hill a masterful script to work from. But contrary to most people, my favorite scene isn't the blues duel. It's the scene where Martone wakes up to find out a girl he met in his travels with Brown (and had a romantic interest in) has unexpectedly left them to go her own way. And immediately after that, Brown admits he lied... that there never was a song number 30. At that moment, Martone, who'd been merely a good blues 'player' up to that point picks up his guitar and begins to play a sad blues song ... one certainly coming from his soul, not from his memory of what others have played. It is that momentary 'graduation' scene (the transition between blues 'player' and blues 'man') that sets the stage for the duel ... with film watchers knowing Martone is as ready for it as he can be.


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