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The Straight Story Details


David Lynch offers an uncharacteristically straightforward and warmly sentimental approach to his material in this film, based on a true story, about an elderly man's journey to reconcile with his brother. Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) is an ailing widower in his early 70's who lives in Laurens, Iowa with his daughter, Rose (Sissy Spacek), who is mildly retarded and has a speech defect. Alvin doesn't trust doctors, despite suffering from emphysema and a bad hip. Alvin learns that his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke and may not have long to live. Alvin and Lyle haven't spoken in 10 years, which Alvin says is mainly a matter of pride and alcohol; Alvin wants to clear his slate with his brother before it's too late. However, Lyle lives in Wisconsin, and Alvin has little money, no car, and no driver's license. He does, however, have a riding lawn mower, and so Alvin hops on board and heads northeast to Wisconsin, hoping to make it while there's still time. Along the way, Alvin makes new friends and refuses to give up on his journey, despite frequent mechanical breakdowns. Richard Farnsworth's performance as Alvin earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor; it would prove to be his final screen appearance, as he died a year after the film's release. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:May 21, 1999


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Angelo Badalamenti Best Original Score 1999 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Freddie Francis Best Cinematography 1999 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Richard Farnsworth Best Actor 1999 Winner
Independent Spirit Awards Richard Farnsworth Best Actor 1999 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Richard Farnsworth Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1999 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Farnsworth Best Actor 1999 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards John F. Roach Best First Screenplay 1999 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Mary Sweeney Best First Screenplay 1999 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards David Lynch Best Director 1999 Nominee


Richard Farnsworth
as Alvin Straight
Sissy Spacek
as Rose
Jane Galloway Heitz
as Dorothy
Everett McGill
as Tom The Dealer
Jennifer Edwards-Hughes
as Brenda
Barbara Robertson
as Derr Woman
John Farley
as Thorvald
John Lordan
as Priest
Harry Dean Stanton
as Lyle


David Lynch
Mary Sweeney
Alain Sarde
Mary Sweeney
John F. Roach
Freddie Francis
Angelo Badalamenti
Composer (Music Score)
Mary Sweeney
Jack Fisk
Production Designer
Michael Polaire
Executive Producer
Pierre Edelman
Executive Producer
Robert "Bobby Z" Zajonc