Academy Awards 1971 -
Best Supporting Actor: Ben Johnson
Academy Awards 1971 -
Best Supporting Actress: Cloris Leachman
USA Today - 04/05/1991
"...[Filmed] in glorious black and white..." -- 4 out of 4 stars
Total Film - 08/01/2003
"...The most mournful of all American youth pictures....It offers a peculiar pocket of time..."
Premiere - 12/01/2005
"[A] stark black-and-white drama about a fading small town in the 1950s....Perhaps director Peter Bogdanovich's finest hour."
Director Peter Bogdanovich (MASK, PAPER MOON) brings Larry McMurtry's bittersweet novel of life in a small, sleepy Texas town in the early 1950s to the big screen. This coming-of-age tale, shot in haunting black-and-white by cinematographer Robert Surtees (THE GRADUATE, OKLAHOMA!), focuses on best friends Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) and their relationships. Duane is dating the beautiful but fickle Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd), a good girl who is looking for a little excitement. Shy Sonny, meanwhile, is carrying on an illicit affair with a coach's wife, Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman), a sad, plain woman whose only joy appears to be the stolen moments they share. By delving into the intertwining lives of the town's diverse residents, the film masterfully explores issues of love, loneliness, innocence lost, and disillusionment. The closing of the town's only cinema serves as both a physical and metaphoric backdrop to the characters' lives. A favorite of critics, the film was nominated for eight Oscars, earning one for both Leachman and Ben Johnson, whose portrayal of the town's father figure, Sam the Lion, is utterly masterful. Model-turned-actress Cybill Shepherd shines as Jacy in her film debut, which also features Ellen Burstyn as Jacy's mother, Lois. Bogdanovich also directed the sequel, TEXASVILLE (1990), which featured most of the original film's cast.
Set in a small Texas town in the early 1950s, this beautiful, understated film studies the lives, loves, dreams, and desperation of several townsfolk as they come to terms with imminent change. Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, this critically acclaimed film is directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
Character Study |
Coming Of Age |
Essential Cinema |
Small Town Life |
Small Towns |
Theatrical release: October 3, 1971
Filmed on location in Texas and Florida.
The film screened as part of the illustrious 1971 New York Film Festival.
Bogdanovich and the 19-year-old Shepherd fell in love during the film's production, causing him to divorce his wife and fellow collaborator, Polly Platt.
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1998.
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