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The Last Ride (2011)

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At the end of 1952, with the best years of Hank Williams's career behind him, he hires a local kid to drive him through the Appalachian countryside for a pair of New Years shows in West Virginia and Ohio.


Harry Thomason


Howard Klausner (as Howie Klausner), Dub Cornett



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jesse James ... Silas
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Ray
Ray McKinnon ... Stan
Henry Thomas ... Mr. Wells
Natalie Canerday ... Nurse
Danny Thomason Danny Thomason ... Dr. Stoneacre
Lawrence Hamilton Lawrence Hamilton ... Street Musician
Graham Gordy ... Attendant
Bill Butler Bill Butler ... Bellman
Fred Dalton Thompson ... O'Keefe
Mark W. Johnson Mark W. Johnson ... Trooper
James Hampton ... Judge Matheny
Jeff Bailey Jeff Bailey ... Maynard
Dash Goff Dash Goff ... Store Keeper
Clint Albright Clint Albright ... Old Man


At the end of 1952, with the best years of Hank Williams's career behind him, he hires a local kid to drive him through the Appalachian countryside for a pair of New Years shows in West Virginia and Ohio.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of Hank Williams, music's original bad boy.


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some language, a fight and smoking


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site





Release Date:

22 June 2012 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Sherwood, Arkansas, USA See more »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Charles Carr, the Auburn freshman who was driving when Williams died, passed away in July 2013 at the age of 79, in Montgomery, Alabama. Carr was hired on December 30, 1952, to drive Williams in his 1952 powder blue Cadillac from Montgomery to shows in Charleston, West Virginia, and Canton, Ohio. There was snow most of the way. On New Year's Eve, in the afternoon, Williams received word that a flight he had planned to take him to the job in Charleston was cancelled, due to snow. They checked into a Knoxville hotel, where hotel porters later had to carry Williams, under the influence of two shots of morphine, to the backseat of the car when it was decided to drive to Canton. The next morning, in Oak Hill, West Virginia, Carr found Williams dead, lying in the same position where the porters had placed him. Carr remained in Montgomery, working in investment and real estate until he retired. See more »


When Silas is front of the judge in Tennessee, the judge is seen writing on a piece of paper in several consecutive shots. In nearly every shot, the pen he has in his hand changes. See more »


The Night Hank Williams Came to Town
Written by Bobby Braddock and Charlie Williams
Performed by Johnny Cash, featuring Waylon Jennings
See more »

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User Reviews

Western Revisionist
15 December 2011 | by jtprius510See all my reviews

Harry Thomason's The Last Ride made me very self and health conscious.

My mind wondered throughout most of its' transitions about my own health, as the driver Silas - played by Henry Thomas - throughout most of the ride there, gradually became less and less of a chronic cigarette smoker as a result of seeing his mysterious passenger in the backseat slowly coughing and struggling to death more and more for fresh air, a pack of smokes, or newer bottles of alcohol.

By the time they get to the last gas station, before The Last Ride's ultimate climax, I think Silas, unnoticeably quits smoking, before a girl at the pump tells him he is this gas stations last customer. The owner of it died last year of a black lung so this is the gas stations last night of being open for business.

The Last Ride starring – that's right – Jesse James as Hank Williams is about Hank Williams' last ride out, to a show somewhere in West Virginia. Two things I considered high brow about The Last Ride are as follows. One thing was The Last Ride, wasn't nearly as autobiographical as you could imagine any movie about a legendary country singer like, say Ray Charles, or Johnny Cash being, as much as it was more so about his last ride, in a literal sense, out to some gig he had in a random place and the relationship he developed with the young man, Silas, employed to get him out there safely.

Williams was an alcoholic and chronic cigarette smoker too so it was the drivers' responsibility to get out there sober, while Silas is already worried about getting him out there alive. Another thing was how obvious Thomason didn't make the identity of Williams as a legendary country singer. I had to get out my laptop for research on the last ride to figure out who the mysterious passenger was because I don't think they ever tell you throughout this picture.

Altogether I would say the last ride is about Hank William's posthumous fame.

Silas doesn't listen to the radio so all he knows about his mysterious passenger the whole way there is that he is an alcoholic musician that carries a gun and won't stop being incredibly mean to him, while scolding him all of the time for calling him sir. But the funnier thing about that is Williams won't give Silas any other name to refer to him as.

I think Silas learns of his passenger's traveling name by accident through a long distance phone call he has with an employer who is supposedly his employer, played by some guy whose been a senator for Tennessee for a couple of years and he didn't even mean to give Silas that information. Silas wasn't even supposed to have this guy's number because he is not in fact who originally hired this driver. It's just a weird movie, whose overall story structure run on a lot of obscure Lynchian fuel that you may have seen in either Lost Highway or Refn' latest nominated Drive, starring Ryan Gosling.

The aesthetic liberties taken with the mechanics of The Last Ride's story structure is what I think makes up for all that it lacks in cinematography. You can tell they had a budget during the filming of The Last Ride. Altogether in retrospect I see The Last Ride as a hood classic whose mystery comes from what the film doesn't tell you throughout its' duration, about what is actually taking place.

Audiences shouldn't go into the last ride knowing who that mysterious musician alcoholic passenger is. Aside from all of the mystery, movies like that about people with fighting chances that they can't stop blowing are usually touching to general audiences because the premise of them is normally in regards to their last chance and the main character of every movie like that never knows how close he is to that last breath, much like each and every one of us.

The conservative nature of The Last Ride's scheme is what I think keeps it from venturing too far into anything sentimental or philosophical so its' a lot more chill and a lot less bias than most autobiographical films usually are.

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