Bound for Glory - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bound for Glory Reviews

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June 19, 2016
tedious, boringly long predictable sequences.
April 1, 2016
David Carradine is an easy-going Woody Guthrie escaping the dustbowl for California and developing a social conscience in Hal Ashby's moving film based on Guthrie's autobiography. Haskell Wexler deservingly won the Oscar for his cinematography, with golden brown a prominent hue. Ronny Cox is excellent in support as Ozark Bule, the protest singer that inspires Woody and hooks him up with the radio station that helped him to become a big star. But as played superbly by Carradine, Guthrie is restless, forever wanting to be among the people spreading the Union word through song, so much so that he neglects his wife and family (thus leaving viewers with a very ambivalent feeling toward him, to Ashby's credit). Of course, it is the songs themselves and the guitar picking (seemingly performed by Carradine himself) that dominate everything and lend a wistful consistency to the whole film. And when I say the film is moving, I mean that Woody Guthrie's message about support for workers against capitalists who would exploit them resonates more today than it probably did in 1976. This land is made for you and me.
½ September 8, 2014
This movie has rested in my heart. I only saw a portion but can't stop thinking about it.
July 12, 2014
pretty good even though 90 percent of it isn't true.
March 20, 2014
"Bound for Glory" succeeds as a biopic because it doesn't stop with Woody Guthrie but tells the story of the time he was living and the world he inhabited as well.
½ June 28, 2013
David Carradine is fabulous in this portrayal of some formative years in Woody Guthrie's life.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2013
David Carradine handles singing and playing as the great Woody Guthrie with equanimity. The soundtrack is glorious. This was made just as Carradine was finishing his tv show Kung Fu. The filmmakers choose some odd life events (mostly fictionalized) to illustrate what Guthrie's life was like before making his way to California. And yet he spends most of the time hitching and walking west without picking up a guitar. The film does not shy away from Guthrie being unfaithful to his wife and the other marital problems he faced being such a wanderin' ramblin' man. Similarly to the characters in The Grapes of Wrath, Woody Guthrie observes and confronts the plight of the working folk caught up in the dust bowl migration. Ronny Cox plays Ozark Bule, a radio folk musician, who visits the work camps and turns Woody on to his call as a singer/activist. At this point we are treated to more songs, both traditional and Guthrie's own. Ozark, a fictional character, stays quite close to Guthrie as they entertain the poor mostly out of work mid-westerners and try to spread the empowering force of unions. Carradine as Guthrie struggles hard to not "sell out" to commercial interests. This movie introduced the Steadicam, which contributed to its winning the Cinematography Oscar. An artistic film of the life of a folk hero.
March 5, 2013
Reppin Oklahoma Woody Guthrie was an original poet. Singing what he wanted even when it meant losing a job. He was ahead of his competition.
February 21, 2013
Gorgeous-looking, but slow.
½ February 12, 2013
Incredibly long. Why was this nominated for best picture?
October 4, 2012
i was pleasantly surprised by this biographical study of woody guthrie. the cinematography and bakersfield settings gave this film a realistic feel. the acting was more than i had hoped for and carradine is wonderful in the lead role....
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2012
This might be based on folk legend Woody Guthrie's autobiography, but it comes off as less of a biopic, and more of an origin story of sorts, basically a tale of how a situation not all that dissimilar from The Grapes of Wrath led to a man changing the face of folk music and specifically politically charged protest tunes.

It also is the first time that I actually felt rather underwhelmed and let down by Hal Ashby. This is a very well meaning film, and some of it is done quite well, but overall, this is far more flawed than I was expecting.

I think it might have to do with the fact that for some reason, it comes off as feeling like a cheap, TV movie of the week sort of affair, and not some epic look at how Woody Guthrie helped get people through the Great Depression. The pacing is pretty slow and uneven, and the way the film is structured is like this, too. It's kinda all over the map.

I do think that David Carradine gives a great performance though. It's definitely one of his best. He carries the film, and ultimately saves it from being worse. Ronny Cox is also good, probably the second best one here, but where Melinda Dillon and Randy Quaid are concerned, I was let down. I love those two, but they just didn't do it for me.

I said the film feels cheap, but that's surprising since Haskell Wexler's cinematography is quite good. It definitely captures the essence of the era, so maybe the TV feelings come from the execution. Plus, this film featured what I believe was the first steadicam-based long take tracking shot, and I generally just go nuts for that sort of things.

All in all, this film is an overlong mess, but it does have its moments. Carradine and Wexler make it worth it, but I feel like somebody really dropped the ball here, and that this is one of the times where I think a remake is definitely warranted.
July 4, 2012
this bio-pic from the year i graduated from high school don't remember it in the theaters but i had alot of other things on my mind-director ashby crafted a film throw back to the golden days of hollywood.
August 7, 2011
Just looks very heartfelt to me.
July 3, 2011
Really long movie that just goes on and on without any real point or plot.
½ June 17, 2011
I love this movie what a interesting and inspiring person Woody Guthrie was...what I loved most was all the traveling on the railways in the 30's and how he help everybody in some way or another along his journey...he inspired people with his music and really tried to make a difference through the music it was his medium...


This film make you want to head out on the open road and get adventures...it really shows how powerful music truly can be...it also makes you want to pick up a guitar and make your own music...I think this is one of the best things David Carradine has ever done, it proves that he was a great talent...I like how for Woody it wasn't about money it was about the music and making a difference to the struggling people out there...giving them hope and a voice...


I recommend this for anyone who loves a inspiring story and folk music...Liking Woody Would go a stray either...
May 25, 2011
If this movie came out a different year David Carridine probably would have won the oscar for his role as 1930's folk singer Woody Guthrie. He's truly amazing in this movie as is the direction by Hal Ashby, he makes the depression era come alive on screen, truly great work.
March 14, 2011
I thought I would love this before I saw it, maybe that's why I don't much care for it. I think Carradine is miscast but he pulls it off decently. Always love Melinda Dillon (A Christmas Story) and Randy Quaid is interesting in a rare serious role. It's just sort of boring.
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