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The Last Picture Show Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Produced by Hollywood iconoclast BBS Productions, film critic-turned-director Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film pays homage to Hollywood's classical age as it chronicles generational rites of passage in Anarene, a fictional one-horse Texas town. In 1951, high school seniors Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) play football, go to the movies at the Royal Theater, hang out at the pool hall owned by local elder statesman Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson), and lust after rich tease Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd in her film debut). As the year passes, Sonny learns about the pitfalls and compromises of adulthood through an affair with his coach's wife Ruth (Cloris Leachman) and a thwarted elopement with Jacy after she dumps Duane. Following two tragic deaths, and with Duane gone to Korea and Jacy packed off to college in Dallas, Sonny is left behind in Anarene, wise enough to absorb the life lessons of Sam the Lion and Jacy's mother Lois (Ellen Burstyn). He is determined to honor Sam's legacy as the town's conscience, despite a telling sign of incipient communal disintegration: the closing of the Royal Theater after a final showing of Howard Hawks's Howard Hawks. Paying tribute to classical Hollywood directors like Hawks and John Ford, Bogdanovich used old-time cinematographer Robert Surtees and shot The Last Picture Show in crisp black-and-white, with a restrained style devoid of the kind of "new wave" techniques (jump cuts, zooms, and jittery hand-held camerawork) used by such contemporaries as Arthur Penn, Robert Altman, Mike Nichols, and Martin Scorsese. As in such Ford films as Martin Scorsese (1940), Bogdanovich relies on careful visual composition in deep focus to help communicate the regret over the passing of an era. Hailed as one of the best films by a young director since Martin Scorsese (1941), The Last Picture Show premiered at the New York Film Festival and went on to become a hit. It was also nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Larry McMurtry's and Bogdanovich's adaptation of McMurtry's novel. John Ford stalwart Johnson won Supporting Actor and Leachman won Supporting Actress, beating out their cohorts Bridges and Burstyn. For an audience steeped in movie history and caught up in the chaotic 1971 present, The Last Picture Show presented a nostalgic look backward that was not so much an escape from the present as a coming to terms with what the present had lost. Its 1990 sequel Larry McMurtry, in which Bridges and Shepherd played later incarnations of their original characters, was not as successful. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:April 10, 1972

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
New York Film Critics Circle Penelope Gilliatt Best Screenplay 1971 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ben Johnson Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1971 Winner
National Board of Review Ben Johnson Best Supporting Actor 1971 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ben Johnson Best Supporting Actor 1971 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Ben Johnson Best Supporting Actor 1971 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Ben Johnson Best Supporting Actor 1972 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Cybill Shepherd New Star of the Year - Female 1971 Nominee
National Board of Review Cloris Leachman Best Supporting Actress 1971 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cloris Leachman Best Supporting Actress 1971 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Cloris Leachman Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1971 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Cloris Leachman Best Supporting Actress 1972 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jeff Bridges Best Supporting Actor 1971 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Peter Bogdanovich Best Screenplay 1971 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Peter Bogdanovich Best Director 1971 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Peter Bogdanovich Best Director 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Bogdanovich Best Director 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Bogdanovich Best Adapted Screenplay 1971 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Peter Bogdanovich Best Screenplay 1972 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Peter Bogdanovich Best Picture 1972 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Surtees Best Cinematography 1971 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Ellen Burstyn Best Supporting Actress 1971 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ellen Burstyn Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ellen Burstyn Best Supporting Actress 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Stephen Friedman Best Picture 1971 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Larry McMurtry Best Screenplay 1971 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Larry McMurtry Best Adapted Screenplay 1971 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Larry McMurtry Best Screenplay 1972 Winner

Cast

Timothy Bottoms
as Sonny Crawford
Jeff Bridges
as Duane Jackson
Cybill Shepherd
as Jacy Farrow
Ben Johnson
as Sam The Lion
Cloris Leachman
as Ruth Popper
Ellen Burstyn
as Lois Farrow
Charlie Seybert
as Andy Fanner
Kimberly Hyde
as Annie-Annie Martin
Noble Willingham
as Chester
Gordon Hurst
as Monroe
Frank Marshall
as Tommy Logan
Antonia Bogdanovich
as Singer (uncredited)
Eileen Brennan
as Genevieve
Clu Gulager
as Abilene
Sharon Taggart
as Charlene Duggs
Randy Quaid
as Lester Marlow
Joe Heathcock
as The Sheriff
Gary Brockette
as Bobby Sheen
Helena Humann
as Jimmie Sue
Loyd Catlett
as Leroy
Robert Glenn
as Gene Farrow
John Hillerman
as Teacher
Samuel Bottoms
as Billy
Charlie Seybert
as Andy Fanner
Samuel Bottoms
as Billy
Joe Heathcock
as The Sheriff
Loyd Catlett
as Leroy
Randy Quaid
as Lester Marlow
Clu Gulager
as Abilene
John Hillerman
as Teacher
Eileen Brennan
as Genevieve
Robert Glenn
as Gene Farrow
Gordon Hurst
as Monroe
Gary Brockette
as Bobby Sheen
Helena Humann
as Jimmie Sue
Frank Marshall
as Tommy Logan
Antonia Bogdanovich
as Singer (uncredited)
Sharon Taggart
as Charlene Duggs
Kimberly Hyde
as Annie-Annie Martin
Noble Willingham
as Chester

Crew

Peter Bogdanovich
Director
Stephen Friedman
Producer
Peter Bogdanovich
Screenwriter
Larry McMurtry
Book Author
Larry McMurtry
Screenwriter
Robert Surtees
Cinematographer
Donn Cambern
Editor
Polly Platt
Production Designer
Harold Schneider
Associate Producer
Bert Schneider
Executive Producer
Nancy McArdle
Costume Designer
Ross Brown
Casting
Don Guest
Unit Production Manager
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