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Don't Come Knocking (2006)



Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 100
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 58

The cinematography conjures beautifully evocative landscapes, but aside from that, the film is meandering and pointless.


Average Rating: 5.3/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 20

The cinematography conjures beautifully evocative landscapes, but aside from that, the film is meandering and pointless.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 24,082

My Rating

Movie Info

Howard Spence has seen better days. When he was younger he was a movie star, mostly in Westerns. At the age of 60, Howard uses drugs, alcohol and young girls to avoid the painful truth that there are only supporting roles left for him to play. After yet another night of debauchery in his trailer, Howard awakens in disgust to find that he is still alive, but that nobody in the world would have missed him if he had died. Howard gallops away on his movie horse in full cowboy regalia; fleeing from


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Sam Shepard, Wim Wenders

Aug 8, 2006


Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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March 9, 2006:
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All Critics (105) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (58) | DVD (15)

By the time we get to the point where the camera is endlessly circling Shepard sitting on a sofa in the middle of the street, it feels as if he and his director were making things up as they went along.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story is as meandering as it is self-indulgent.

June 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The charm here is in watching Shepard and Lange, and Shepard and Saint play off one another, and the leisurely pace of the 'discoveries' that aren't really secrets in the first place.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spence has much in common with Shepard and Wenders. They seem equally bewildered about what to do, other than spending nearly two hours demonstrating that Spence is a self-pitying fool.

April 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Suffers badly from an emotional aimlessness.

April 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Don't Come Knocking isn't noticeably relevant or insightful, even if you're able to suspend disbelief long enough to buy the idea of a western movie star in the 21st Century.

April 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The bitterness of the playwright's vision is expanded by the director's fascinated fondness for American culture

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Apart from an extraordinary scene of attempted reconciliation between Shepard and Lange "Don't Come Knocking" is an inflated drama that lies stagnate on the screen.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source:

hardly Wenders' most adventurous feature, although perhaps his bravest, dramatising not only the director's undoubted influence on the last 20 years of indie cinema, but also his increasing redundancy within it.

July 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

[It has] a terrific sense of place, something missing from much contemporary US cinema.

September 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Wim Wenders y Sam Shepard (Paris, Texas) recuperan (en excelente fotografía y mejor música) una iconografía norteamericana al servicio de una historia sobre el desarraigo y la necesidad de recuperar vínculos largamente perdidos.

August 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

... is so meandering it can make a sober viewer into a drunk.

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The widescreen visual poetry of "Don't Come Knocking" seems less like inspiration and more like overcompensation.

July 6, 2006 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

The story, jointly cooked up, is reasonable, if not their best, but Shepard's screenplay is a real disappointment, failing to lock into gear at any time.

June 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

...the long-awaited reunion of writer-actor Sam Shepard and German filmmaker Wim Wenders yields only mixed results.

June 12, 2006 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

Emotionally arid and narratively lazy, the film is so tentative it seems to be evaporating before our very eyes.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Potential filmgoers should read the title carefully. Then take the message heart.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

Aspires to be a story of redemption and discovery, but it's too undercooked to be either.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

... the story ... isn't big enough to stand up to the characters who blow through it or to resist being overwhelmed by the geography on which it's set.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A sparse, rolling drama with some strong laughs that prods at a western movie star's surprising past.

May 18, 2006
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Though there are a few great moments from the supporting players, they can't compensate for the emotional doughnut at the center of the story: a selfish, inarticulate lump where a leading man should be.

May 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Superb supporting performances from Polley and Baulk go some way to making up for our hero's lesser qualities.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Don't Come Knocking

The mood and pace of the film is classic Western, but for me something wasn't quite right, the balance was just a little to tilted. I understood the symbolism between Tim Roth's character and Sam Shepard protagonist but I didn't think there was anything new here, nothing that hadn't been done before. Strange for a Wenders film really - A far cry from the great Paris, Texas anyway - the poor performances from Gabriel Mann and Fairuza Balk didn't help either but strangely, I did kind of like it, although I'm cetainly not mad about it.
February 15, 2011

Super Reviewer

Very impressed with this film. A great anti-Western, it's depicting a world outside of the Western genre still shot in, basically, the Western genre. The leading man echoes Clint Eastwood in a way - Clint's got six children by a few different women - and you can't help but ask what that's like when the on-screen cowboy has an off-screen cowboy story of a life to live.

Utah, Nevada and Montana look beautiful and desperate in this film, and though it starts off sort of comically, it becomes clear that there is a lot of pain in these characters. Well-acted and well-shot, if not an example of super writing, I'm still hearing that Don't Come Knocking isn't one of Wim Wenders' best. It's the first of his movies I've watched, and it's opened my eyes to his oeuvre nevertheless. Coming from Germany, it blows my mind that he can tell a wonderfully American story like this one, but thanks to this film I'll be sure to visit Paris, Texas shortly.

Lots of meta-film going on here, too: how many movies are actually filmed in Bute, Montana? Import Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Sarah Polley et al to the town, and you have to wonder if it could have had a real effect on the town akin to the one the main character's film did within the story... probably not, but it's a question that makes it interesting.

It's hard to say much about this movie without spoiling it, and it does move really slowly, but I was hanging off it the whole way - suffice to say that in a later scene, why the White Stripes make sense to America, the world and me was hammered home, which might've made the movie in itself. The style and the chase at the heart of the story seemed like an inspiration for No Country For Old Men, too... at any rate, in my opinion, this is a film (and probably a director) not to be missed.
February 27, 2009

Super Reviewer

The poetic journey of an aging cowboy who seeks for redemption and forgiveness. Wenders lyric take on an existencial drama, with exceptional and touching performances by Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange and Sarah Polley.
January 28, 2008

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Don't Come Knocking", movie star Howard Spence(Sam Shepard, who also wrote the screenplay) rides a horse away from his latest picture, not quite into the sunset, leaving the crew in the lurch. Where he does end up eventually is the home of his mother(Eva Marie Saint) in Elko, Nevada. While getting into his usual trouble, he finds out about the son he fathered 25 years previously while working on a film in Montana.(He was probably having too much fun to keep up with the tabloids.)[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]And lukewarm on his trail is Sutter(Tim Roth), an employee of the film's insurance company, who is after Spence to complete the film.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Don't Come Knocking" is an intriguing, slow and anachronistic(the filming of westerns regretfully being few and far between these days) movie that is reminiscent of "The Electric Horseman." The photography of the American West especially of Butte, Montana is beautiful. However, the movie does not live up to its full potential. Some of the fault lies with Sam Shepard who gives a wooden performance in the lead.(I know Spence is supposed to be sleepwalking through life but this is taking it a little too far.) But there is an eclectic cast, with Tim Roth and Sarah Polley coming off best, and a classic scene involving a couch.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The movie is mostly concerned with the difference between the world of movies and the real world. In the movies, we prefer our heroes to be pure and untainted whereas in real life, people are much more complex and flawed. Take Howard Spence, for example, who made a career of playing heroes in westerns while living a rather imperfect life off screen. [/font]
May 9, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Don't Come Knocking

    1. Sky: Why did you let so much time go by?
    2. Howard Spence: I didn't know it was passing.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 days ago)
    1. Sky: I think I like the movies better.
    2. Doreen: Than what? Better than what?
    3. Sky: Than real life.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 days ago)
    1. Howard's Mother: Lying is for cowards.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 days ago)
    1. Howard Spence: Mind if I turn the radio on?
    2. Sutter: Yes, I do, as a matter of fact. I don't like outside influence.
    3. Howard Spence: Outside?
    4. Sutter: That's right. The world at large. It's a nasty place. Why allow it in? Livestalk reports, Navajo chanting, beheadings, bestiality. Nothing's changed. Black Death, the Inquisition, the Crusades, conquest of Mexico. What's changed?
    5. Howard Spence: I was thinking...
    6. Sutter: What?
    7. Howard Spence: I don't know.
    8. Sutter: Nothing's changed.
    9. Howard Spence: Guess not.
    – Submitted by Kunst J (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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