Don't Come Knocking (2006)



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

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 … More

Rating: R (for language and brief nudity)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Wim Wenders, Sam Shepard
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 8, 2006
Box Office: $0.3M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


as Sutter

as Howard's Mother

as Director

as Producer No. 2

as Businessman

as Desk Clerk

as Trailer Twin No. 1

as Producer #1

as Trailer Twin No. 2

as Casino Bartender

as Cliff Ormsby

as Mr. Daily

as Old Ranch Hand

as Elko Waitress

as Elko Policeman

as Second Assistant Dir...

as Mickey, First Assis...

as Drunken Girl

as Garbageman
Show More Cast

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Don't Come Knocking

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (34)

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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 1, 2006
Arizona Republic
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 19, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

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.

Full Review… | April 20, 2009

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.

Full Review… | July 4, 2007
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for Don't Come Knocking


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.

Daniel Perry

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.

Pierluigi Puccini

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]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Don't Come Knocking Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
– Submitted by Kunst J (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Don't Come Knocking on our Movie forum!