6.1/10
39,523
144 user 249 critic

On the Road (2012)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer
Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.

Director:

Walter Salles

Writers:

Jack Kerouac (based on the novel by), Jose Rivera (screenplay by)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Riley ... Sal Paradise / Jack Kerouac
Garrett Hedlund ... Dean Moriarty / Neal Cassady
Kristen Stewart ... Marylou / LuAnne Henderson
Amy Adams ... Jane / Joan Vollmer
Tom Sturridge ... Carlo Marx / Allen Ginsberg
Alice Braga ... Terry / Bea Franco
Elisabeth Moss ... Galatea Dunkel / Helen Hinkle
Danny Morgan ... Ed Dunkle / Al Hinkle
Kirsten Dunst ... Camille / Carolyn Cassady
Viggo Mortensen ... Old Bull Lee / William S. Burroughs
Ximena Adriana Ximena Adriana ... Oaxacan Girl
Sarah Allen ... Vicki
Clara Altimas ... Newlywed Woman
Leif Anderson ... Chevy Owner
Ricardo Andres Ricardo Andres ... Terry's Father
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Storyline

Shaken by the death of his father and discouraged by his stalled career, writer Sal Paradise goes on a road trip hoping for inspiration. While traveling, he is befriended by charismatic and fearless Dean Moriarty and Moriarty's free-spirited and seductive young wife, Marylou. Traveling across the American southwest together, they strive to break from conformity and and search the unknown, and their decisions change the very course of their lives. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The best teacher is experience.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kirsten Dunst was first choice for the part of Camille. See more »

Goofs

Set in 1949, but the characters ride in a 1950 Hudson. See more »

Quotes

Carlo Marx: I'd gotten so crazy over Dean.
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Alternate Versions

The film was re-edited for North American release following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and its French theatrical release because, according to director Walter Salles, that version was "rushed". The new cut is thirteen minutes shorter but contains more scenes and Salles says he has no preference between the two. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Oscars (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Beale Street Blues
Written by W.C. Handy (uncredited)
Performed by Jack Teagarden
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User Reviews

 
A joyless adaption of an exhilarating book
28 October 2012 | by WirelessESee all my reviews

The On The Road novel has inspired numerous readers, myself included to take an American road trip. Will the film have the same effect? I sincerely doubt it. And herein lays the problem. Whilst the book takes the reader on an exuberant, spirited journey full of life, the film puzzlingly slows the pace right down and presents a muted, almost depressed version of the same story.

This is best illustrated by the presentation of the character of Dean Moriarty. He should be the driving force of the story, pushing the storyline on with his crazed excitement for the good and bad in life. On the printed page he can barely speak fast enough to get all his thoughts out. However in the film he huffs and puffs his way from one scene to the next, speaking in a laconic drawl, whilst lacking all the charm and charisma that is supposed to make him so alluring. He is the muse for the writer character of Sal, but anyone coming to the film fresh without having read the book, may well struggle to understand why.

The film lacks a rounded sense of the hedonistic side of the journey. The sex is arguably overplayed and whilst there is some drugs and jazz, there is little of the booze. Crucially the characters rarely seem to be having a good time. The film seems to focus on the melodramatic, miserable aspects of the characters lives at the destinations they travel to, but fails to contrast this with wild and exciting times spent on the road. The film does not convey a sense of travelling for the journeys sake; they always just seem to be in the car in order to get to another destination. The only time the film gets anywhere near the free spirited adventure of the book is when the characters reach Mexico in the later stages of the film, but this is too little too late.

I did wonder whether the muted atmosphere of the film was a deliberate ploy of the filmmakers, however the last ten minutes would indicate not. Here we see the character of Sal typing up the notes he has made during the road trips, seemingly franticly typing to capture all the wild, fun, crazy times had on the road. However this does not reflect what the viewer has just witnessed on screen for the past two hours.

Taken on its own terms the film does offer fine cinematography, costume and the look of the time, as well as some decent acting (hence my score of 5 out of 10). However as an adaption of a seminal piece of literature, it deserves to be judged against the source material and in not capturing the true spirit of the book, it is a big fail.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

23 May 2012 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

On the Road See more »

Filming Locations:

Bridge City, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,550, 23 December 2012

Gross USA:

$744,296

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,617,377
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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