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The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed and co-written by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry. The films stars Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Eileen Brennan, Clu Gulager, and Randy Quaid.


Plot

High school seniors and best friends, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges), live in a dying Texas town. The handsome Duane is dating local beauty, Jacy (Cybill Shepherd), while Sonny is having an affair with the coach's wife, Ruth (Cloris Leachman). As graduation nears, both boys contemplate their futures. While Duane eyes the army and Sonny takes over a local business, each boy struggles to figure out if he can escape this dead-end town and build a better life somewhere else.

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
  • Eileen Brennan as Genevieve, the café waitress
  • Clu Gulager as Abilene, who works for Jacy's father
  • Sam Bottoms as Billy
  • Randy Quaid as Lester Marlow, Jacy's suitor
  • Gary Brockette as Bobby Sheen, the wealthy and attractive playboy
  • Sharon Taggart as Charlene Duggs, Sonny's girlfriend at the start of the film
  • Barc Doyle as Joe Bob Blanton, the preacher's son
  • Bill Thurman as Coach Mr. Popper
  • Jessie Lee Fulton as Miss Mosey, the popcorn lady
  • Robert Glenn as Gene Farrow, Jacy's father.
  • Joe Heathcock as the town's sheriff
  • John Hillerman as the English teacher
  • Frank Marshall as Tommy Logan, a high school student

Reception

Critical response

The Last Picture Show received critical acclaim and maintains a 100% rating at review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 52 critics, with a rating average of 9.1/10. Its consensus states: "Making excellent use of its period and setting, Peter Bogdanovich's small town coming of age story is a sad but moving classic filled with impressive performances."

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars in his original review and named it the best film of 1971. He later added it to his "Great Movies" list, writing that "the film is above all an evocation of mood. It is about a town with no reason to exist, and people with no reason to live there. The only hope is in transgression."

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