The Sugarland Express (1974)
The Sugarland Express (1974)
Critic Consensus: Its plot may ape the countercultural road movies of its era, but Steven Spielberg's feature debut displays many of the crowd-pleasing elements he'd refine in subsequent films.
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as Lou Jean Poplin
as Clovis Michael Poplin
as Patrolman Maxwell Slide
as Capt. Harlin Tanner
as Off. Mashburn
as Mrs. Looby
as Baby Langston
as Mr. Nocker
as Mrs. Nocker
as Russ Berry
as Mark Fenno
as Logan Waters
as Hot Jock No. 1
as Hot Jock No. 2
as Gas Jockey
as Hubie Nocker
as Big John
as Station Man
as Jelly Bowl
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Critic Reviews for The Sugarland Express
The pace falters near the end, but overall this is a brilliantly calculated audience pleaser.
Unfortunately, the film degenerates in final reels to heavy-handed social polemic and sound-and-fury shootout.
If the movie finally doesn't succeed, that's because Spielberg has paid too much attention to all those police cars (and all the crashes they get into), and not enough to the personalities of his characters.
The movie has a casual craziness that seems especially native.
Audience Reviews for The Sugarland Express
While not his first film ever, this was the feature length theatrical debut of a nice guy named Steven Spielberg. Based on actual events, this film tells the story of an outlaw couple who take a highway patrolman hostage in an ill-conceived but desperate effort to keep their child from being taken away from them and adopted. It's not long before they are accompanied by a convoy of law enforcement and media, and stir up support from just about every averge citizen they cross paths with as they journey across Texas. This film very much fits into the zeitgeist of the time period, and it really reminded me of a movie that was released a year later...a little movie called Dog Day Afternoon. Whereas that film was a brilliant masterpiece, this one is really fun and entertaining, but almost too absurd to really take seriously, even though it is based on real life. Maybe there should have been a couple fewer scenes of cars scrashing or swerving, and a bit more time spent on developing the characters and their personalities better. The film is uneven and a little rough, but Im not sure who to really blame here. Spielberg had experience making films, so who knows? I will say though that it's cool seeing a pre-Ghostbuster William Atherton, and 70s era Goldie Hawn. They both give pretty good performances (especially Hawn), as do Ben Johnson and Michael Sacks. The music is quite nice, and the cinematography is pretty good too. Besides what I've already mentioned the film also is a tad unfocused and a bit dated, yet it has a very charming quality to it, and it's certainly not boring. It has some issues, but I like it enough to give it a mild recommendation, so you should give it a shot.
"Every cop in the state was after her. Everybody else was behind her." Lou-Jean, a blonde woman, tells her husband, who is imprisoned, to escape. They plan to kidnap their own child, who was placed with foster parents. The escape is partly successful, they take a hostage, who is a policeman and are pursued through to Texas...
This movie should not have the word Express in it.
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