8.0/10
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416 user 148 critic

The Straight Story (1999)

An old man makes a long journey by lawn-mover tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jane Galloway Heitz ...
Dorothy
Joseph A. Carpenter ...
Bud
Donald Wiegert ...
Sig
...
Tracey Maloney ...
Nurse
Dan Flannery ...
Jennifer Edwards-Hughes ...
Brenda
Ed Grennan ...
Pete
Jack Walsh ...
Apple
Max the Wonder Dog ...
Gil Pearson ...
Bus Driver
Barbara June Patterson ...
Woman on Bus
...
Anastasia Webb ...
Crystal
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Storyline

"The Straight Story" chronicles a trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Straight from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wis., in 1994 while riding a lawn mower. The man undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his ill, estranged, 75-year-old brother Lyle. Written by Christian Sandberg

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

3 November 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Straight Story  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$92,312 (USA) (15 October 1999)

Gross:

$6,197,866 (USA) (21 April 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film will be known as the last starring roles of two well-known and respected actors, Everett McGill and Richard Farnsworth. Until joining the revival for Twin Peaks (2017), McGill seemed to have retired from the film business, while Farnsworth died of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after the film was released. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film it was established that it is "harvest time". As Alvin is on his journey a slew of bicyclists pass him and later he motors into their camp. The only explanation for this event would be RAGBRAI, which happens in mid-late July. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dorothy: Hi Rose.
Rose 'Rosie' Straight: Hi Dorothy.
Alvin Straight: [can be heard collapsing inside his house]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the Alvin Straight family See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2000 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

The Most Requested Song
(From Strange Tales of the Late West)
Written by Middlejohn & John Neff
By Arrangement with Maui Zone Records & Tapes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Genuine rather than saccharine
21 January 2000 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Whenever I hear a movie being touted because it has no sex, violence, bad language, special effects, and so on, my b.s. detector goes off. Usually, a movie like that is sentimental hogwash which panders to people who don't want anything to surprise them, but to affirm how superior they are to us craven folk. So when David Lynch's THE STRAIGHT STORY began getting those kinds of reviews, I was apprehensive, especially since I was not a fan of his other "uplifting" story, THE ELEPHANT MAN. For all the stunning images and the good acting in that film, it seemed more interested in preaching to us than inspiring us.

I needn't have worried. THE STRAIGHT STORY is an honest movie rather than a saccharine one. Most of that is due to the fact that Lynch and writers John Roach and Mary Sweeney tell it straight and simple for the most part. There are a couple of homilies by Straight I could have done without, and the shots of grain being harvested are repeated a little too much, but those are only quibbles. There's no heavy-handed message, no sentimental strings to jerk our emotions, and no condescension towards us and its characters. Instead, they depend on the story to build its own power, and it does, so by the final scene, we are genuinely moved.

Of course, casting Richard Farnsworth adds realism to the part. He really is someone who looks like he's lived through a lot but still perseveres, and except for those homilies, the desire he has to get back together with his brother doesn't seem overly sentimental, because you can sense here is someone who's lived too long and seen too much to be driven by anger for long. And he knows his time is running out, so he wants to make some peace, not only with his brother, but with his life. Sissy Spacek also does fine, unmannered work as Straight's daughter. And although I am a city and suburban boy, the Iowa and Wisconsin landscape are beautifully shot, making me want at least to visit some day.


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