8.0/10
80,919
453 user 164 critic

The Straight Story (1999)

An old man makes a long journey by lawnmower to mend his relationship with an ill brother.

Director:

David Lynch
Reviews
Popularity
4,608 ( 249)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sissy Spacek ... Rose
Jane Galloway Heitz Jane Galloway Heitz ... Dorothy
Joseph A. Carpenter Joseph A. Carpenter ... Bud
Donald Wiegert Donald Wiegert ... Sig
Richard Farnsworth ... Alvin
Tracey Maloney Tracey Maloney ... Nurse
Dan Flannery ... Doctor Gibbons
Jennifer Edwards-Hughes Jennifer Edwards-Hughes ... Brenda
Ed Grennan Ed Grennan ... Pete
Jack Walsh Jack Walsh ... Apple
Max the Wonder Dog Max the Wonder Dog ... Farm Dog
Gil Pearson Gil Pearson ... Bus Driver
Barbara June Patterson Barbara June Patterson ... Woman on Bus
Everett McGill ... Tom the John Deere Dealer
Anastasia Webb Anastasia Webb ... Crystal
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Storyline

Seventy-three year old Alvin Straight is a simple living and stubborn man who lives on his social security. He needs to do things on his own terms. He is in failing health. Both his hips are shot, which requires him to use two canes to walk. He is diabetic. He has emphysema from years of smoking. And he has poor eyesight. Beyond the obvious maladies, he doesn't tell his mentally disabled daughter Rose, who lives with him, of many of these issues. He learns that his brother Lyle Straight, from who he has been estranged for ten years, has just suffered a heart attack. Because of both his and Lyle's mortality, Alvin wants to make peace with his brother before it's too late, which means traveling from his home in the rural town of Laurens, Iowa to Lyle's home in rural Mount Zion, Wisconsin. As with other issues in his life, he needs to make the trip on his own terms, which means on his own. As he doesn't possess a driver's license and since his eyesight is bad, he decides to make the trip... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In life, what are the things that really matter? See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Farnsworth died shortly after the release of this film. His on-screen brother, Harry Dean Stanton, died shortly after the broadcast of the final episode of Twin Peaks (2017) See more »

Goofs

In New Hampton (at the junction of US 18 and US 63), Alvin crosses West Hale Street before he approaches it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dorothy: Hi Rose.
Rose 'Rosie' Straight: Hi Dorothy.
Alvin Straight: [can be heard collapsing inside his house]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Walt Disney Pictures Presents: A film by David Lynch See more »

Connections

Referenced in Veep: The Eagle (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Times
Written by Sidney Fine (as S. Fine)
Performed by Jo Stafford
Published by Warner Bros. Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under License from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Shockingly-Straight Story From David Lynch
29 May 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

"A truly nice story with a moral about brotherly love" describes this odd David Lynch film. This was especially "odd" because it wasn't the kind of film Lynch had been putting out in the last 15 -20 years. Those were dark and shocking films (Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Mulholland Drive) and this is the opposite. I know it disappointed a lot of his fans. Others were delighted by it. Count me as one of the latter, and I own all three of those "dark" films, too.

This was another supposed-true life story, here detailing an elderly man's trip in a seated lawnmower from western Iowa all the way to Wisconsin to see his ailing brother who he hasn't talked to in years but wants to see before the latter dies. Well, I guess that premise - an old man driving a lawn mower 400 miles - still makes this an "odd" film of sorts, so Lynch stays in character with that!

Richard Farnsworth plays the title role. He is the type of guy, face-wise, voice-wise, low-key personality-wise, that just about everyone likes. The wrinkles on his face tell many a story. It was so sad to hear what happened to him in real life a year after this film was released.

The first 25 minutes of this film isn't much, and not always pleasant as it shows the main character's adult and mentally-challenged child (Sissy Spacek) and her tragic past, but once Alvin Straight (Farnsworth) begins his trip, the story picks up. I played this for several friends and they thought the film NEVER picked up, but I am more generous with it. I think it's a hidden gem. To them, it was a sleeping pill.

I found his trip pretty fascinating but you have to realize in advance this is NOT going to be a suspenseful Lynch crime story. It IS slow and if that's okay with you, you might like this. Charm enters the picture in some of people Alvin meets along the way, such as a wayward young girl running away and some nice town folks who help the old man out when he gets in trouble. (Henry Cada as "Daniel Riordan, is a standout in that regard.) Harry Dean Stanton gets third billing, but that's a joke: he's only in the final few minutes of the movie!

The Iowa scenery is pleasant. I lived there for several years and can attest to the rolling hills and the rich soil. It's a nice state with nice people....like this movie.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

France | UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1999 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Straight Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Clermont, Iowa, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,312, 17 October 1999

Gross USA:

$6,203,044

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,416,325
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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