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The Last Picture Show (1971)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 46 | Rotten: 0

Making excellent use of its period and setting, Peter Bogdanovich's small town coming-of-age story is a sad but moving classic filled with impressive performances.

100

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

Making excellent use of its period and setting, Peter Bogdanovich's small town coming-of-age story is a sad but moving classic filled with impressive performances.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 13,081

My Rating

Movie Info

Produced by Hollywood iconoclast BBS Productions, film critic-turned-director Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film pays homage to Hollywood's classical age as it chronicles generational rites of passage in Anarene, a fictional one-horse Texas town. In 1951, high school seniors Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) play football, go to the movies at the Royal Theater, hang out at the pool hall owned by local elder statesman Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson), and lust after rich tease Jacy Farrow

R,

Drama, Classics

Larry McMurtry, Peter Bogdanovich

Nov 30, 1999

Columbia Pictures

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on The Last Picture Show

July 31, 2013:
Eileen Brennan: 1932-2013
The prolific stage and screen veteran, whose best-known work included roles in "The Last Picture...
November 22, 2010:
Jeff Bridges Talks New Last Picture Show Sequel
Jeff Bridges has revealed that he and director Peter Bogdanovich are talking about making another...

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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (0) | DVD (10)

It's meant to make you feel sad for what's lost, but a vitality throbs through it.

September 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Peter Bogdanovich has seen Anarene, Texas, in the cinematic terms of 1951 -- the langorous dissolves, the strong chiaroscuro, the dialogue that starts with bickering and ends at confessional.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Notre Dame professor Edward Fischer has said that 'the best films, like the best books, tell how it is to be human under certain circumstances'. Larry McMurtry did a beautiful job of this.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's all fairly calculated, though Bogdanovich knows how to cast actors and highlight character turns.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Superb performances all round add to the charm of this fine, if now unfashionable film.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is above all an evocation of mood. It is about a town with no reason to exist, and people with no reason to live there. The only hope is in transgression.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Classic American film has heavy themes and sex.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

[VIDEO ESSAY] A masterpiece by any standard, "The Last Picture Show" (1971) presents an emotionally apocalyptic reckoning of an America that has lost its way. The subtext-the film was made at the height of the Vietnam War - is hard to miss.

October 16, 2012 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

For the members of the New Hollywood, it was a briefly opened window on revitalized filmmaking and venturesome storytelling.

September 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Bogdanovich's masterpiece, it's an elegy for a vanishing America...

April 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 movie is a coming-of-age story, a portrait of small-town Texas, and one of the all-time great American elegies.

April 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Its portrait of a floundering community is the film's strongest virtue.

April 15, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Unmissable.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

This is a masterclass in how to create fully rounded characters and then give them real lives to lead.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Peter Bogdanovich's eerie homage to olden times and movies, one of the key Hollywood films of the early 1970s, looks ever more crisply stunning and remote.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A worthy tribute to Bogdanovich's idols, Orson Welles and John Ford.

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The director's most important film.

January 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

a world where the parental figures are never the real parents and almost everyone in plain view is still in some way a kid, regardless of the number of years they've lived.

June 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Em seu momento mais sólido como diretor (numa carreira que se auto-destruiria pouco depois), Bogdanovich cria um monumento à melancolia.

April 30, 2009
Cinema em Cena

Bogdanovich's perfect recreation of the sense of time and place, and his ability to mix wit with poignancy that make this such a charming, timeless film.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A poignant evocation of small-town life in fifties Texas.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The Last Picture Show is competent movie-making and probably deserves an audience. But its predictability and its calculation mar it for me. The values seem to me to be more contrived humanity instead of the real thing.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

Audience Reviews for The Last Picture Show

From my local magazine review that i wrote:

"Director Peter Bogdanovich has seen Anarene, Texas, in the cinematic terms of 1951 -- the languorous dissolves, the strong chiaroscuro, the dialogue that starts with bickering and ends with confessional."
December 7, 2011
LoughnerWasLucid

Super Reviewer

This is, by all accounts, supposed to be Peter Bogdanovich's masterpiece. Since this is the only film of his I've seen, I can't verify that statement for sure, but I did really like it.

The story is that of a coming of age tale set in small town Texas during the 1950s. The town is a boring and isolated place, where there's really not a whole lot to do, and, even though everyone knows (or seems to know) everyone else's business, there's a lot of iffy stuff going on. The people (especially the youth) are bored, preoccupied with sex, and dying to get the Hell out of town and to some place better ASAP.

The film was shot like, and has the look of a film from the 1950s. Aside from some of the content (mostly nudity), this could pass for a 1950s film as well. The landscape are suitably bleak, and everything looks simultaneously stark and beautiful thansk to being shot in black and white. The music is made up entirely of popular stuff, almost all country, and that's just fine.

The performances are areally good. Jeff Bridges is fun to watch, and Cybil Shepherd, despite being an angsty tart (hell, everyone is angsty, dissatisfied, and messed up) gives a decent performance as well, and looks quite stunning (naked or otherwise) in just about every scene. Leachman and Bustyn are also quite good. Bottoms is the lead, and he's good, but it was hard for me to get into him as much as the others.

For a film about boredom, and the slow rotting effects of it, maybe it's not a surprise that this is also itself a little boring and tedious at times. Not so much so that it truly takes away from things, but it is something to note. Maybe they just need to slightly tighten thigns up here and there. I was watching the Director's Cut though, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Though this film is not a part of the time period it depicts, it fits in perfectly with the time period it was made. Maybe that's one of the many reasons I liked it. I love that era of cinema, so I'm automatically sorta biased. Despite that though, I still really dig this. It's not something I wanna watch all the time, but it looks great, the style and formal elements are cool and well done, and I can relate in some ways to the characters and story. Hats off.
August 6, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A tender yet melancholy coming of age film that looks at the erosion of the American ideal. Set in 1951 and presented in black and white, this film provided viewers with a nostalgic look back into the recent past. A time that was supposed to be wholly unlike the early 1970s of America, which was still digesting the uncivil wars of the late 1960s and the subsequent final push of the Vietnam war. Yet, rather than provide viewers with an escape, Bogdanovich strips away the veneer of the tranquil & genteel past and shows viewers instead that, as the tagline suggests, "nothing much has changed."
The film shows that even in the 1950s, when America was held together (albeit forcefully) by the spectre of Communism, people felt lost. Some dealt with it through sexual experimentation, escapism, and even going off to fight in an unpopular war. Bogdanovich brilliantly captures this stigma of a wayward national identity.
The director also gets brilliant performances out of this young but adroit cast. His camera is seldom invasive and mostly sits back and lets the bucolic pandemonium unfold in the characters eyes. It is a subtle film, but it has a lot to say and says it well. My only regret is that I was not alive to see the premiere of this film.
May 15, 2011
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Seeing breasts on camera always unsettles me. This is like American Graffiti but in an alternate universe, where everything goes to crap.
May 1, 2011
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

    1. Duane Jackson: I'll see you in a year or two, if I don't get shot.
    – Submitted by Joe A (2 years ago)
    1. Sonny Crawford: He was sweepin you sons-a-bitches! He was sweepin!
    – Submitted by Bob O (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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