Don't Come Knocking

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 101

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,129


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3/5

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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 the film and his life. After a short trip to see his mom in Nevada, he heads to Butte, Montana, the location twenty five years earlier where Howard shot the movie that made him a star. There he visits and old flame and encounters some surprises from his past.

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Tim Roth
as Sutter
Eva Marie Saint
as Howard's Mother
Julia Sweeney
as Producer No. 2
Mike Butters
as Businessman
Emy Coligado
as Desk Clerk
Majandra Delfino
as Trailer Twin No. 1
Tim Matheson
as Producer #1
Marieh Delfino
as Trailer Twin No. 2
Yuri Elvin
as Casino Bartender
Tom Farrell
as Cliff Ormsby
Kurt Fuller
as Mr. Daily
James Gammon
as Old Ranch Hand
Carrie Mae Jones
as Elko Waitress
Raymond O'Connor
as Elko Policeman
Jeff Parise
as Second Assistant Director
James Roday
as Mickey, First Assistant Director
Jinny Lee Story
as Drunken Girl
Rockey Whipkey
as Garbageman
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News & Interviews for Don't Come Knocking

Critic Reviews for Don't Come Knocking

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (34)

  • Despite the film's false notes, its balladlike moods ring true.

    Oct 30, 2017 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The story is as meandering as it is self-indulgent.

    Jun 1, 2006 | Rating: 2/5
  • 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 | Rating: 3/5
  • Sam Shepard, an actor of increasingly bimbo-ish narcissism, gives another tiresome, cowboy-hat-wearing performance in a monumentally boring and conceited film.

    May 6, 2006 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 21, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

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
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Faraway,so close dear's a shame,really,to stuck en route for the American dream as you say in all your filmography,discovering the core and then self-exploding?A pity,this was the pinnacle of Wenders' journey.I believe it's about time to pick up the rest of the pieces and think of concrete ideas instead of dead end road trips.I wish I hadn't given one star on this but he wouldn't leave me any other option.Utter failure.

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

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
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.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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