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Two-Lane Blacktop (The Criterion Collection)


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Drag racing east from L.A. in a souped-up f55 Chevy are the wayward Driver and Mechanic (singer/songwriter James Taylor and the Beach Boysf Dennis Wilson, in their only acting roles), accompanied by a tagalong Girl (Laurie Bird). Along the way, they meet Warren Oatesfs Pontiac GTO-driving wanderer and challenge him to a cross-country race?the prize: their carsf pink slips. Yet no summary can do justice to the existential punch of Two-Lane Blacktop. Maverick director Monte Hellmanfs stripped-down narrative, gorgeous widescreen compositions, and sophisticated look at American male obsession make this one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema, and possibly the greatest road movie ever made.

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Stills from Two-Lane Blacktop (Click for larger image)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: PDX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WC39FO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,765 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Two-Lane Blacktop (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

"Two-Lane Blacktop" is one of the finest American films no one has ever heard of.
Chris K. Wilson
In Two Lane Blacktop the car had front bucket seats, a white headliner, fiberglass doors with sliding plexiglass windows, a roll bar, and no rear seat.
Brian K. Shoemake
I love this film and how its directed, there is a grittiness about the way it's shot that compliments the subject, the characters, and even the car.
hadrian7

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

199 of 205 people found the following review helpful By Chris K. Wilson on October 5, 2002
Format: DVD
The 1971 film "Two-Lane Blacktop" is arguably the best of the late 60s, early 70s existential road film genre (including "Easy Rider," "Vanishing Point" and "Electra Glide in Blue"). Director Monte Hellman's stark, at times unyeilding examination of American alienation is brilliant simply because of its refusal to pander to an audience undoubtedly looking for the commercial release of an exciting car chase.
There is a race in "Two-Lane Blacktop," though it seems to end almost before it begins. There are extraordinary muscle cars as well, including a souped up '55 Chevy contrasted with a new Pontiac GTO. But Two-Lane Blacktop is a character study, even though the characters are not people we would particularly like to know.
The three main characters, haunted lost souls void of identity and emotion, are played by James Taylor, Dennis Wilson and Warren Oates. Taylor and Wilson silently cruise the backroads of America looking for the next race in their 55' Chevy. They eventually meet Oates, a chattering, nervous man involved in some kind of middle-age crisis while picking up hitchikers in his GTO. These men decide to race cross country, but eventually lose interest.
Throw into this uneasy mix a young hitchiker played by Laurie Bird. She jumps back and forth between these three men, holding off their awkward advances, eventually realizing their emotionless lives are headed down an endless highway without destination.
"Two-Lane Blacktop" is a morose study of men perpetually lost on the backroads of a nameless American landscape. They are hovering ghosts, void of identity, forever searching for a meaning which cannot be found. There are no easy truths or answers in Hellman's complex odyssey.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Fred on February 4, 2000
Format: DVD
Two Lane Blacktop is one of those movies that you hear about long before you see it. It seems that while every car guy I have ever run across has heard of Two Lane Blacktop, few have ever seen it. Like Vanishing Point, it examines on some level the disillusionment that came at the close of the 1960's. It is a movie about outsiders; those that choose to be and those that desperately do not wish to be. The one thread that ties them together is the road.
For a true gearhead, Two Lane Blacktop is a joy. To see all of the legendary sixties muscle cars in their natural environment.....it calls to mind a tradition of (illegal) street racing that still exists today, for better or worse. Anyone who has seen it or done it will instantly be pulled into the movie. Of course, the quintessential gray primer 55 Chevy, an unbeatable home-built street warrior, is the true hero of the film.
You don't see this movie for the dialogue and there isn't a lot of it. Some of the gearhead lingo is kind of lame, like where the gas station attendant asks the Driver (James Taylor) if the 55 Chevy has a "Chevy block." No duh. Don't worry about it. That isn't why you are watching it.
This movie is a time machine. As a 38 year old, I vividly remember those days and those cars, but through the eyes of an eight year old with Hot Wheels cars and a Dad that drove four door sedans (still does). I always wanted (and now have) fast cars. Seeing this movie for the first time 20 years ago poured even more fuel on the flame. Getting the opportunity to see it has always been an elusive pleasure, because it has been broadcast so rarely, and then often edited. This past Christmas, my girlfriend got me a copy in the collector's tin.
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on October 16, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When I decided to purchase this DVD, I was just attracted by the name of the director of TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, Monte Hellman, who directed two excellent westerns in the sixties. I didn't know at all this movie and expected the worse. God ! How was I wrong ! TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is a divine surprise for those who, like me, long for titles of the quality of the american movies of the 70's.
Two pop stars of that period, James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (Brian's brother), as the driver and the mechanic, race against Warren Oates in a journey through the heart of America. While Taylor and Wilson hardly speak, Warren Oates has a convulsive need to talk to the numerous hitch-hikers he accepts to take for a ride in his GTO.
TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is a road movie, in the tradition of EASY RIDER and THE VANISHING POINT, but the characters don't have to prove anything, they don't even care if they make it to their final destination, Washington D.C. They cannot either be considered as rebels because they don't have an ideal to defend or an authority to face. They are tragic figures without any ideals.
The DVD presented by Anchor BAY is sumptuous with top-notch images and sound ( vraoum, vraoum...). A trailer, a commentary and a very informative featurette about Monte Hellman directed by George Hickenlooper.
A DVD for the road.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Jarmick on December 21, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Less dated than Easy Rider, this early 70's time capsule is an existential masterpiece. What the hell does that mean? It means the film is full of space. It's about absolute nothing, or everything, or somewhere in between. It's a poem that doesn't deliver what an audience expects but is utterly faithful to it's idea. It doesn't have an emotional pay-off, but instead finds a stylish way to cinematically burn rubber and fade away. It's characters are called Driver, Mechanic, GTO and Girl. Its stars are James Taylor (yeah the pop singer), Dennis Wilson (yeah the late Beach Boy), Warren Oates (in perhaps his finest performances) and Laura Bird (most won't know her, she's good).
Driver and Mechanic are the original slackers. They love racing, and hustling people to keep racing and their supercharged '55 Chevy. They are not hippies, but car junkies. The meet a loud mouth middle aged guy driving a newer sportier GTO who wants to race them for pink slips. Eventually they agree to what amounts to a gentlemen's type race from New Mexico to the East Coast. There's not a lot of suspense to the race, and the film is about. . . well whatever you want it to be about. GTO pretends to be someone else everytime he picks up a new hitch-hiker. He's amusing himself with his creative imagination and re-inventing himself to escape the middle age blues. Eventually there's a little bit of a competition over a young female hitchhiker.
The film was filmed on location as cast and crew drove across the country. The bare-bones script is by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Curry.
The film becomes more and more abstract as it moves along. The story matters less and less. A circle eventually forms and we realize we've been riding along on a very unique, one of a kind film.
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