7.1/10
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96 user 26 critic

Crossroads (1986)

Trailer
1:42 | Trailer
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
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2,607 ( 1,297)
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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>

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Taglines:

Where second best never gets a second chance. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve Vai played both sides of the guitar duel while acting as Jack Butler, the devil's guitarist. Ry Cooder recorded the slide parts and produced the soundtrack. 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

Eugene Martone: What are you doing?
Willie Brown: I'm changin' my tie, and I could use some help.
Eugene Martone: [hastily changing Willie's tie] I oughtta choke ya.
Willie Brown: [brandishing his fist] You do and you get knocked on your ass.
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Soundtracks

TURKISH MARCH
Arranged for guitar and Performed by Bill Kanengiser (as William Kanengiser)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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User Reviews

Cult Classic with Incredible Music!
9 December 2003 | by cariartSee all my reviews

CROSSROADS (Walter Hill's Blues film, NOT Britney Spears' self-indulgent 2002 fluff) is a terrific introduction to a uniquely American 'sound', with a remarkable cast and southern 'atmosphere'. It has always astonished me that the film was not a hit when released, in 1986, but it's status as a cult classic is certainly well-deserved, with subsequent films like the Coens' O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? 'borrowing' the Robert Johnson subplot and many of the visual elements. Perhaps the film, with it's magnificent Ry Cooder score, was just too far ahead of it's time, a strange criticism to apply to a Blues movie!

The tale involves young Long Island guitar prodigy Eugene 'Lightning Boy' Martone (Ralph Macchio), a rebel at the Julliard School with his passion for the Blues ("Primitive music," one professor sneers), who is on a quest to recover legendary guitarist Robert Johnson's fabled "30th Song" of 1938. His research leads him to a New York nursing home, where fabled harmonica player Willie Brown (the late actor/singer/songwriter Joe Seneca) is confined. Promising to 'give' the song to the youngster if he can be "busted out" and returned to his Mississippi home, the pair are soon on a cross-country trip, with Martone learning about discrimination, the 'darker' side of Man, and love's loss (through a brief encounter with Jami Gertz, who was never lovelier), providing him with the core of sadness Brown says is essential to truly play the Blues.

The climax of the film is legendary; arriving home, Brown, who had 'sold his soul' to the Devil at the 'Crossroads' as a young man (just as his friend, Johnson, had), attempts to get 'Scratch' (skeletal Robert Judd) to tear up the contract. The Devil informs him that he will, only if Martone can defeat his Champion in a 'Guitar Duel'. If the youngster loses, his soul, as well as Brown's, will be lost, forever. Martone rashly agrees ("I don't believe any of this crap anyway!"), and he and Brown find themselves in a church converted into a dance hall, with demons and lost souls cavorting to the rock strains of insanely talented Jack Butler (Frank Zappa guitarist/composer Steve Vai). With only his love of the Blues, Julliard training, and Brown's 'ju-ju' to aid him, the humbled Martone must play for far more than his life, in a guitar 'Duel' with the rocker (both parts were actually performed by the astonishingly gifted Vai) that is so fabulous that it is amazing that it was NOT included in the soundtrack album!

Walter Hill was no stranger to music-themed fantasies (he also directed another 'ahead of it's time' cult film, STREETS OF FIRE), and with CROSSROADS he took a simple storyline, and turned it into an unforgettable musical experience.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crossroads 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
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Black and White (partial)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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