The Sugarland Express 1974

The Sugarland Express

Critics 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.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 39

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,169

Where to watch

Show all services

Other Movies

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

The Sugarland Express Photos

Movie Info

Married small-time crooks Lou-Jean (Goldie Hawn) and Clovis Poplin (William Atherton) lose their baby to the state of Texas and resolve to do whatever it takes to get him back. Lou-Jean gets Clovis out of jail, and the two steal their son from his foster home, in addition to taking a highway patrolman hostage. As a massive dragnet starts to pursue them across Texas, the couple become unlikely folk heroes and even start to bond with the captive policeman.

Cast

News & Interviews for The Sugarland Express

Critic Reviews for The Sugarland Express

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (6)

  • Spielberg's eye for detail is stated visually rather than through dialogue and the film offers many accurate vignettes of America's obsession with "heroes" and heroism.

    April 2, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The pace falters near the end, but overall this is a brilliantly calculated audience pleaser.

    June 24, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Unfortunately, the film degenerates in final reels to heavy-handed social polemic and sound-and-fury shootout.

    February 20, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A beautifully put together, assured film.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Chris Petit

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie has a casual craziness that seems especially native.

    May 21, 2003 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sugarland Express

  • Sep 23, 2019
    Goldie Hawn turns in a decently unmannered performance as a ex-con trying ridiculously to get her state-custodied child back...by kidnapping a cop. Based on a true story, Steven Spielberg paints a pretty accurate picture of Middle America and does it without a preponderant use of his usual heavyhanded shorthand.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2011
    This is an Underated classic as Steven's first "Theatrical" feature. Its an interesting story about how criminals can become folk heroes. Its very tragic too! Also was the beginning of a great friendship with composer; John Williams.
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2011
    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.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2010
    Great work by Spielberg in this "petty criminal duo take a policeman hostage and go on the run to get their child back". The problem is the tone: it's far too light. And without a villain there's no tension. It's definitely worth a watch though, and Hawn is fantastic.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

The Sugarland Express Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Movie & TV guides