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The Straight Story (1999)



Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 1

Slow-paced but heart-warming.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 30,338

My Rating

Movie Info

From director David Lynch comes a lyrical portrait of one man's real journey across America's Heartland. Filmed along the 260-mile route that the actual Alvin Straight traversed in 1994 from Laurens, Iowa to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin, "the Straight story" chronicles Alvin's patient odyssey and those he meets along the way. When not rolling along at five miles an hour aboard his '66 John Deere, Alvin encounters a number of strangers, from a teenage runaway to a fellow World War II veteran. By sharing


Drama, Action & Adventure, Kids & Family

John Roach, Mary Sweeney

Nov 7, 2000

Buena Vista Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (110) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (4) | DVD (11)

Lynch has slowed the world down and gotten back in touch with it.

January 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Slate
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Another pleasant surprise.

May 11, 2001
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A beguiling piece of Americana.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

David Lynch shifts gears in this lyrical miracle of a film about a man and his John Deere riding mower.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The screenplay by John Roach and Mary Sweeney finds poetry and truth.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Is The Straight Story one of my favorite Lynch films? Hard to say. Is it one of his most meticulously, and perfectly constructed? Well, I just can't disagree on that one.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

look and feel of a foreign film

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Great, but young kids may be bored and restless.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

Mainstream-accessible yet completely maintains Lynch's uniquely off-kilter artistic identity.

November 28, 2009 Full Review Source:

One could say that The Straight Story is a twilight Western on the order of Unforgiven, except that the pale rider here mounts a snail-paced John Deere instead of a stallion.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

I don't know how much is 'based on a true story,' but deeper truth about life, love, and forgiveness rings out loud and clear.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Looking Closer | Comment (1)
Looking Closer

Director David Lynch's American odyssey is a masterwork of quiet poetry.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Farnsworth proves the greatest special effect is the human face.

July 9, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Lynch has no intention of trying to “explain” what makes Alvin tick or of understanding him in any reductionistic way; of reducing a man to a motivation.

May 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

The story seems to reveal itself naturally, like a flower bud opening up.

May 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Marvels abound in this honest and engaging film about real people from the heartland of America.

March 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Richard Farnsworth brilliantly embodies a man who combines cantankerousness, tenacity and wisdom.

January 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline

One of the best pictures of the year.

November 26, 2001 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Sweet and simple with pleasures big and small.

April 30, 2001 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

One of the best films of 1999.

February 15, 2001 Full Review
Norman Transcript

Spend a nice Sunday with grandma. Take her out to brunch and then check out this movie.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: 3BlackChicks Review
3BlackChicks Review

Audience Reviews for The Straight Story

An unusually straightforward and delicate film by David Lynch that calls for a bit of patience from the viewer but proves to be extremely moving and more than rewarding - and Richard Farnsworth is just wonderful, a world of emotions conveyed in every detail of his face and expression.
August 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

A David Lynch movie without murder, switched personalities, inner monologues or even the slightest hint of cynicism? Unbelievable? Indeed. And yet that's exactly what he delivered here with the heart-warming story of an old man traveling 500 miles on a lawnmower to see his ill brother. Of course the film is as slow as that sounds, but still so refreshingly kind-hearted, sweet and entertaining. Alvin Straight, incredibly convincing and lovably portrayed by the late Richard Farnsworth, meets people on the road and shares his experience with them. It is his face that stays with you long after the film, as well as the beautiful images of the fields he travels along, while the fiddles hum their Americana sounds. A beautiful, rewarding and deeply humane feel-good story that deserves all the praise it got.
February 26, 2013

Super Reviewer

A moving and interesting Lynch's film, a portrait about family, love and forgiven. An odyssey with rare characters and nice stories. The Straight Story could be a slow, strange (because doesn't present the characterist of a David Lynch film) and sentimental, but it's a good picture to watch.
April 26, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

This surprise G-rated, heartwarming family film from director David Lynch stands up to any of his surreal masterpieces. Amazing performances from Farnsworth and Sissy Spaceck and great supporting roles (including a good scene with Twin Peaks star Everett McGill). Also a uncharacteristic but outstanding score from Angelo Badelamenti.
March 22, 2012
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

    1. Lyle: Did you ride that thing all the way out here to see me?
    2. Alvin Straight: I did, Lyle.
    – Submitted by Brigita S (2 years ago)
    1. Alvin Straight: There's no one knows your life better than a brother that's near your age. He knows who you are and what you are better than anyone on earth. My brother and I said some unforgivable things the last time we met, but, I'm trying to put that behind me... and this trip is a hard swallow of my pride. I just hope I'm not too late... a brother's a brother.
    – Submitted by Brigita S (2 years ago)
    1. Alvin Straight: I'd give each one of 'em a stick and, one for each one of 'em, then I'd say, 'You break that.' Course they could real easy. Then I'd say, 'Tie them sticks in a bundle and try to break that.' Course they couldn't. Then I'd say, 'That bundle... that's family.'
    – Submitted by Brigita S (2 years ago)
    1. Dorothy: What's the number for 911?
    – Submitted by Brigita S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Eine wahre Geschichte (DE)
  • Une histoire vraie (FR)
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