7.2/10
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113 user 117 critic

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer
2 men drag-racing across the U.S., in a '55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson's the mechanic, James Taylor's the driver.

Director:

Monte Hellman

Writers:

Rudy Wurlitzer (screenplay) (as Rudolph Wurlitzer), Will Corry (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Taylor ... The Driver
Warren Oates ... G.T.O
Laurie Bird ... The Girl
Dennis Wilson ... The Mechanic
David Drake David Drake ... Needles Station Attendant
Richard Ruth Richard Ruth ... Needles Station Mechanic
Rudy Wurlitzer Rudy Wurlitzer ... Hot Rod Driver (as Rudolph Wurlitzer)
Jaclyn Hellman Jaclyn Hellman ... Driver's Girl
Bill Keller Bill Keller ... Texas Hitchhiker
Harry Dean Stanton ... Oklahoma Hitchhiker (as H.D. Stanton)
Don Samuels Don Samuels ... Texas Policeman #1
Charles Moore Charles Moore ... Texas Policeman #2
Tom Green Tom Green ... Boswell Attendant
W.H. Harrison W.H. Harrison ... Parts Store Owner
Alan Vint ... Man in Roadhouse
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Storyline

The Driver and The Mechanic are 2 car freaks driving a 1955 Chevy through the southwestern U.S., looking for other cars to race. They're totally dedicated to their car, and speak with each other only when necessary. At a gas station, the pair (along with a girl who's ingratiated herself into their world) meet G.T.O; a middle-aged man who fabricates stories and. It's decided to have a race to Washington, D.C., where the winner will get the loser's car. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You can never go fast enough...

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1972 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Fortare än döden See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

None of the actors were given the full screenplay, only being fed the pages appropriate for each day's filming. They were not comfortable with this approach. See more »

Goofs

When the G.T.O pulls into the gas station it's extremely shiny and clean considering it's just driven across 3 States! See more »

Quotes

The Driver: I don't believe I've seen you. 'Course there's lots o' cars on the road like yours, they all get to lookin' the same. They perform about the same, too...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film ends with the last frames of the film itself being burned. See more »

Connections

Featured in Rich Hall's Continental Drifters (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Hit the Road Jack
Written by Percy Mayfield
Performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
Heard when the Driver and the Mechanic are eating in a diner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
How Good Is This Film?
25 March 2004 | by Darren-12See all my reviews

This is either the best film I've ever seen, or just an interesting exercise in film-making that is ultimately of little value. The problem is that I can't decide which! No film has ever given me as much trouble in terms of my deciding where to place it in my personal Top 250 list. I mean, I know it's difficult to compare the relative merits of movies from different genres (e.g. "Schindler's List" vs "Monty Python And The Holy Grail"), but this movie is so unlike almost any others that I still don't know what to make of it.

I tried listening to the DVD commentary for some help, but Monte Hellman and Gary Kurtz had obviously pre-decided that they wouldn't talk about any aspect of the "meaning" or intent of the movie, preferring to concentrate on technical aspects such as pre-production, casting, locations, logistics, acting, lighting, sound, camera-work etc. I kind of respect them for this - leaving Joe Public to use his/her own brain in order to decide what the movie is all about.

One of the people in a featurette on the DVD said that "people haven't begun to realise how good Two-Lane Blacktop is" and I think that's right - the more I think about it, the better this film becomes in my estimation.

My take on the movie is that it's basically a contrast of the two extremes of human behaviour, as characterised by the brash, noisy "GTO" played by Warren Oates and the quiet, understated-to-the-point-of-lifelessness "Driver" and "Mechanic" - their personalities perfectly mirrored in their choice of cars. Most people's personalities lie somewhere in between, but by juxtaposing the extremes it forces one to think about one's place in that spectrum. "The Girl" is mainly a plot device to create a little bit of dramatic tension, as blokes left to themselves tend to go with the status quo. But we only want a little bit of drama, because that's not really the point, and too much drama would distract from the underlying theme.

I really love the "space" in this movie: the long takes, the long silences, the wide-open scenery, the fact that nobody SAYS anything (Warren Oates talks a lot, but never SAYS much). In modern life in general, I think people talk too much - try sitting still and shutting up for 103 minutes while watching this movie.

Not that I suppose anyone is interested, but I eventually rated this at about #70 in my Top 250, but next time I watch it I may move it up to #1 or drop it out of the 250 entirely...


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