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160 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest achievements in all of the cinema
There are a handful of movies in history that can be summed up by the look in a character's eyes (Renee Falconetti's horrified stare in The Passion of Joan of Arc, Al Pacino's steely gaze in The Godfather Part II), and within five minutes of Peter Bogdonavich's controversial 1971...yes...masterpiece, I knew I'd have another one to add to the list. The Last Picture Show is...
Published on October 26, 2004 by M. Burns

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Last Picture Show
An amazing movie. Frankly, I agree with the glowing reviews of the film and I have nothing to add to them. However, concerning the quality of the restoration to DVD I must say that it appears that the widescreen formatting was done incorrectly. If you compare the image of the film's opening with that in the documentary(disregarding the full frame), you will notice that...
Published on April 29, 2004 by someone


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160 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest achievements in all of the cinema, October 26, 2004
By 
M. Burns (Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
There are a handful of movies in history that can be summed up by the look in a character's eyes (Renee Falconetti's horrified stare in The Passion of Joan of Arc, Al Pacino's steely gaze in The Godfather Part II), and within five minutes of Peter Bogdonavich's controversial 1971...yes...masterpiece, I knew I'd have another one to add to the list. The Last Picture Show is wickedly funny, raunchy, and razor-sharp precise in capturing that post-Senior-year-summer state of mind, but the heartbreaking, jaded look on Timothy Bottoms' face hit me like a ton of bricks, and I'm still somewhat recovering from it.

Show takes place between World War II and the Korean Conflict in the sleepy, dying town of Anarene, Texas. Robert Surtees' camera wisely captures the desolated-yet-beautiful aura of the place in an opening shot that glides down a dusty street, past the movie theater, and into the complex lives of a bunch of horny high school students, nosy townspeople, and Anarene's one pillar of nobility, Sam the Lion. It's really difficult to even believe that Show wasn't made in the 1950's, when the film takes place. The stark, black-and-white cinematography is far-removed from Willis' lush images in Manhattan, but it's not quite low-budget gritty, either. It's mostly owed to shooting on location in the town that inspired Larry McMurtry's source novel, but the authenticity of a now-notable cast's performances elevates this to a class all by itself.

Do Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, and Randy Quaid ring a bell at all? In 1971, all were virtual unknowns, and - sadly enough - the giver of the greatest performance in the film, Timothy Bottoms as Sonny, remained virtually so. McMurtry and Bogdonavich's script takes these horny teens and jaded adults and creates a lurid entanglement of sexual liasons, secrets, and naked pool parties that would have Jerry Springer shaking his head. And this would all be patently ridiculous if it weren't for the fact that each and every character has a complexity that makes their actions completely plausible.

And that's the brilliant thing about Bogdonavich's film. He isn't exploiting the closed-door actions and flippant erotic gestures of these messed-up denizens of a rapidly dying town; he understands that everything they do, everything we did at that age, was all a result of the confusion, denial, and pure terror at the life that lies ahead for us all. There's a reason that the movie focuses on the adults in the town, as well: Jacy's mom, coach Popper's wife, Sam the Lion - these people used to be Sonny, Duane, and Jacy at one time, and their hopes and dreams were put on hold just to live comfortably and safely in Anarene.

Timothy Bottoms' Sonny is the guiding force of Picture Show; the character there from the first frame and at the cusp of true reality in its last. Sure, he has his share of American Pie-esque moments (an affair with his coach's wife rings a bell), but it's the bulk of the emotion of the film that falls on him. A deeply sad moment, in particular, lingered with me: a person in the town has just died, and he's riding along in a car, gazing out the window, looking at a distant Texas lake that means more to him than he knows. His eyes seem to take it all in until it's too much, and a tear falls from each cheek without the others even knowing.

A line that completely bowled me over is said to Sonny, as well, and it's proof of the screenplay's perfect hold on the language that we use. Who knows how to put a life-changing experience into the right words? Burstyn's Lois doesn't, and so we get this haunting gem of a line: "I guess if it wasn't for Sam, I'd have missed it, whatever it is."

The adult residents of Anarene did miss it, whatever it was. But this film holds on to a group of people we learn to love, struggle with hating, and eventually don't want to leave, all because we don't want to see them miss whatever it is. The Last Picture Show is one of the most deeply haunting, brutally funny, and real moviewatching experiences I've ever had. I'm glad I didn't miss it, whatever it is. A+
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raging Hormones in a Small Texas Town, October 13, 2004
This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
Larry McMurtry is among my favorite contemporary authors and this film is one of the best of those based on his works. Others include Hud (1963), Terms of Endearment (1983), Lonesome Dove (1989), and Texasville (1990). Directed by Peter Bogdanovich and set in fictitious Anarene (Texas) but filmed in Archer City, the focus is primarily on Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges), Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd), and Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms). When the film begins, there are several separate but related plots which focus primarily on Duane and Jacy as well as on Sonny, a senior at the regional high school who becomes sexually involved with Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman), the love-starved wife of the school's football team coach. Leachman received an Academy Award for her performance in a supporting role as did Ben Jonson for his as "Sam the Lion," owner of the Royal Movie Theater. It is worth noting that the last picture shown in it is Howard Hawks's Red River, a director and film which Bogdanovich greatly admires.

The acting throughout the cast is outstanding. The film received nine Academy Award nominations and all were deserved. Much as Bogdanovich admires John Ford and Hawks whose western epics are among the finest films ever made, he chose to work on a much smaller, more intimate scale. (Hopefully there will be no attempt to "colorize" The Last Picture Show. As with On the Waterfront, for example, it is inconceivable to me that it would be seen other than in black-and-white.) There are moments in this film when poignancy is almost unbearable. Anarene is dying a slow, relentless death. Many adult residents as well as their sons and daughters express frustration and even despair. Anarene's best qualities are revealed by Jonson's portrayal of "Sam the Lion" but he, like the town, is deteriorating. Because there is more passion (and sometimes lust) than tenderness in most of the personal relationships, his integrity is even more significant. In terms of character, his "Sam the Lion" provides the film's gravitational center. Credit Bogdanovich and McMurtry with collaborating on a brilliant adaptation of McMurtry's novel and Robert Surtees with (as always) stunning, indeed compelling cinematography. Those such as I who have already seen this film several times can easily recount defining moments in so many memorable scenes. We envy those who see The Last Picture Show for the first time.

If those who are curious to know what happened to several of the lead characters many years later, I recommend the sequel, Texasville (1990). You may also enjoy Splendor in the Grass (1961), American Graffiti (1973), and Mystic Pizza (1988) as well as Fried Green Tomatoes and Rambling Rose (both in 1991).
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Movie, An Awful Reality, January 25, 2004
This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
For me there are two kinds of depressing movies, there are the kind that make you want to go out and kill yourself, and then there are the kind that just kind of numb you into beleiving that in your life you will never find meaning or fulfillment. This film falls squarely in the latter category. This film, along with Pekinpah's "The Wild Bunch" and Leone's "Once upon a time in the West" make up the core cannon of the death of the west movies yet they view it from very different angles. This film focus's on the death of the innocence of small town middle America as those few rugged individuals who had the courage to seek some sort of answer and fulfilment to their lives who were once thought to populate the west are dying off and leaving behind a dissalusioned populace without compassion, decency, and being slaves to their passions and not masters of their fates.
Set in a small town in Texas and loosely following the odyssey of one young man (Sonny) and his interaction with his fellow man (and most importantly woman) over the course of one year in 1951. Sonny isn't anything real special, just a mediocre high school football co-captain with a girlfriend he doesn't really like and who is about to graduate and likely work for the local oil drillers. Some notable traits do immediately become apparent in Sonny however, namely his apparent compassion and comoradery for an outcast mentally retarded boy, and the shine which a strong likeable old cowboy type (Sam) has taken to him. Sonny is at that terrifying stage in life where a person just begins to realize what an awful place the world really is and how awful most people in it really are. We see his flounderings through his reach towards maturity by means of his affair with his coach's wife, his indiscretions with his best friends ex, and his contemplation on the words of the old timer Sam.
There are other characters given almost as much screentime as Sam leading to multiple subplots, this movie follows the "Winesberg Ohio" model of painting smalltown life thorugh the rich tapestry of the individuals that compose it.
Thematically this movie is all about the loss of innocence, of the west certainly, but also of man in general. One of the most painful aspects of growing up is realizing that hardly anyone is truly what they seem. The movie seems to look most favorably on the outlooks of those who least try to conceal what they are and simply deal with themselves and their fellowman honestly, and this is certainly not a bad view to take; to view yourself and the world around you as it really is without a lense. And yet, the movie shows the barreness of such a view, ultimately leaving itself relatively unresolved. The movie behaves exactly as it should, and as a result is a joy to watch. Still, you do leave feeling as though you've just run a marathon through a murky swamp believing nothing and no one to be innocent. This might be true, but even if no one is innocent (which seems likely) hopefully we won't fall into mere mediocrity and keep striving for some kind of innocence.
A must see for any lovers of existentialist philosophy and lovers of beautifully depressing cinema.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Show Isn't Over Yet, October 2, 2003
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This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
The Last Picture Show is one of the best films that I have ever seen. When it first premired in 1971, it garnered both praise and critism, mainly because of the sexual content in it's stories. But don't stress about that, it's really nothing bad at all, especially for today's standards(nothing close to Monster's Ball), remember The Graduate caused an explosion too in 1967.
Adapted from the Novel by Larry McMurty(Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment)and directed to PERFECTION by Peter Bogdanovich, the takes place in fall 1951-fall 1952 in the dying, small town of Anarene, Texas. It includes some of the best characters in a film ever, and the acting by all is simply EXQUISITE. The film mainly follows two best friends, Sonny(Timothy Bottoms) and Duane(Jeff Bridges-in a supporting actor academy award nominated role),in their senior year in high school. Both are begining to get to a time of change and crossroads in their lives. Duane's girlfriend Jacy(Cybill Shepherd-in her wonderful film debut) is the girl who both boys have their eyes on. While Jacy is taken, Sonny starts an affair with the coach's wife(Cloris Leachman-Best Supporting Actress Academy Award), this gets the story rolling. The three women in this film are simply magnificent. Ellen Burstyn was, in a word, wonderful & she was my favorite character, and garnered a Supporting Actress Nomination(she won Best Actress in 1974). Cloris Leachman beat her out for the Oscar that year. Her character changes so much from being meek and quite, to being filled with joy, to being full of anger & in the final moment's of the movie she shows why she has that Oscar. Eileen Brennam is superb as Genevieve the waitress, she serves as a mother-figure for Sonny, and is tough-talking but sincere. One of the Most Memorable roles in the Film is that of Sam the Lion(Ben Johnson),the all-knowing wise man, who owns the picture show. THe scene by the Lake is Classic. THis role won him the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award.
The film is shot in black-and-white, which adds to the feeling of depression and gives the lonely dying feeling that the town evokes. The music is true to the time, and is also part of the movie. It only comes from a radio or record player, no background music.
People with "country" roots will especially like this one as will those who like to study films, this one is one of the most importants of all time. It was also nominated for Best Picture, director, and Adapted-screen play too(8 nominations in all).
Check it out, it's important and entertaining.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So great, and then the ending is particularly remarkable., December 18, 2002
By 
Benjamin (ATLANTA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
Watching this for the first time a couple weeks ago, I was surprised first by how many known talents populate the cast. Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson, who won Oscars for their work here, act alongside Ellen Burstyn, Cybil Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms, Randy Quaid and Jeff Bridges in this coming-of-age tale also focusing on the dead-end lives and passions among the inhabitants of a nearly forgotten town.
Anarene, Tex., is not the sort of place I'd want to visit, but the characters who live there are so well-drawn and human that they evoke my sympathy.
Sonny, losing and regaining the respect of Sam the Lion, his wise idol and the owner of the town's theater, ambles into adulthood in the most difficult way. He's got a crush on Jacy, his best friend Duane's girl. He's having an affair with his coach's wife Ruth, a lonely woman who finds a roundabout, not-entirely-wise way of falling in love with him. In the process, Sonny becomes desperate, learning about sex, adulthood and life's occasionally less-rewarding aspects.
While we watch Sonny, we also watch as Jacy learns from her mother and from the adults around her how to deal with her own sexual longings, despite her initial interest in an innocent, romantic love with Duane. What Jacy does about her sexuality and how it transforms her from a good girl to a mostly manipulative, powerful character is as startling as Sonny's transformation.
The final scene, involving Sonny and Ruth, is astounding. Cloris Leachman delivers a powerhouse monologue filled with longing and sorrow, to which Timothy Bottoms responds with a sad, youthful silence. Sonny's adulthood has come too quickly, and it's more than he can handle. The whole thing is heartbreaking.
This is a great, great movie. In black-and-white, it's beautiful to see. The well-written story is universal, and the acting is superb.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest films ever made, April 7, 1999
By 
DVD buff (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Last Picture Show [VHS] (VHS Tape)
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW is a perfect, if depressing, film about small-town Texas life in the 1950s. The film combines some of the most intersting characters ever put on screen (masterfully created by writer Larry McMurtry) with an amazing film technique from director Peter Bogdanovich, with superb performances from such actors as Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman and several others. This film operates at many different levels, both figuratively and literally (observe the infinite depth-of-field sharpness to the black-and-white film, reminiscent of Orson Wells' CITIZEN KANE). It is truly one of the most important, and perfect, films ever made.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why am I Always Growing Old?, May 21, 2005
By 
Randy Keehn (Williston, ND United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
The first book I ever read by Larry McMurtry was "The Last Picture Show" and it was the reason I ended up reading so many more of his books. I thought about writing a review of that outstanding book. However, it's the movie that always comes to mind whenever I try to remember the book. You see, the movie was just as outstanding as the book, maybe even more so. It has a tremendous cast and is one of those few movies where the supporting actors took away the Oscars ("A Steetcar Named Desire" fits that bill as well). Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shephard, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, and Ben Johnson all gave excellent preformances in their roles with Leachman and Johnson getting the well-deserved Oscars. However, it was the directing by Peter Bogdanovich that was the most important contribution to the movie's success.

Bogdanovich wisely chose to make his film seem like it was a contemporary movie of its' time. The black and white film helped but so did the fact that nothing was made to look cute, quaint, or nostalgic. We were seeing the present; it just happened to be the 1950's as well. The cars, the clothes and other odds and ends were of that era but the story and the message were contemporary. Yet they were spared the excesses of modern cinema so that we could focus on what the director wanted to show us.

"The Last Picture Show" is about the challenges of growing up. For the younger characters, they try to grow too fast while the older characters struggle with the realization that the days gone by way outnumber the days to come. Sam the Lion's soliloquy on growing old ranks right there with Ruth Popper's "Why am I always appologizing to you!" outburst. The realism of the pains and joys of life are well captured in this movie that will continue to send a contemporary message to future generations of movie lovers.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The masterpiece of Peter Bodganovich !, October 7, 2004
This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
The silent voices of the golden masters of the american literature (Dos Passos , Sinclair Lewis , Nathaniel Hwathorne and William Faulkner) seem to emerge as dark and invisible ghosts in this poignant and supreme jewel film .

The dazzling direction of Bodganovich and his golden touch as atmosphere creator is simply admirable and breathtaking.

A golden issue in the american cinema .
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully nostalgic...yet honest and realistic:, January 29, 2000
By 
This review is from: Last Picture Show [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Viewing "The Last Picture Show" is like making a quantum leap to a small southern town in the early 1950s. I don't believe I have seen another movie which evokes such a distinct sense of time and place. Although I was not alive in the 1950s, I have heard relatives discuss what it was like to live in a small southern town in the 1950s, and I am impressed by how much of what I've been told is reflected in this film. For example, the makers of "The Last Picture Show" clearly conveyed the importance of the local movie theater as a place for entertainment at a time when many people did not yet own a television. Also, the music played on radios and record players throughout the movie seems very authentic (with the poorer people listening to Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, and the wealthier people listening to Tony Bennett and Frankie Laine).
I don't want to give the impression that "The Last Picture Show" is a two-hour version of "The Andy Griffith Show." These characters seem like real people rather than the romanticized versions of 1950s small-town people we see on TV sitcoms (not that I have anything against Andy and Barney). The characters in "The Last Picture Show" have visible weaknesses as well as strengths. Furthermore, loneliness, aimlessness, and selfishness are the most pervasive topics dealt with in this movie, so don't rent it expecting the feel-good movie of 1971.
And yet, in spite of the sobering themes, I have to admit that "The Last Picture Show" does put me in a good mood. It is always a joy to witness convincing dialog, acting, and setting combined in a memorable and thought-provoking story! I strongly recommend "The Last Picture Show."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1950's North Texas in Full Color, June 18, 2004
By 
George C. Huntington "gchjr" (Simsbury, CT United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition) (DVD)
This film captures life in small town Texas vividly. It was shot in black and white but color film would not have changed the appearance one bit.
Some of the scenes were shot where I delivered newspapers as a kid. I thought I had been transported back in time when I first saw the film. The characters and dialog are magnificent and the situations reminiscent of life as it was then.
It is a beautiful and touching film, one to watch over and over.
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The Last Picture Show: The Definitive Director's Cut (Special Edition)
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