Archive of films The Last Picture Show / The Last Picture Show

1971, 126 min

Section: New Hollywood
Year: 2007

Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry (known today as co-screenwriter on the film adaptation of Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, 2005), the film takes place at the end of the 1950s in a sleepy Texas town. This wistful tale about the moment innocence turns painfully and awkwardly into experience is a masterpiece of “New Hollywood movie buff” Peter Bogdanovich.


It’s the beginning of the 1950s. Sonny and Duane are in their last year of high school. They dream about girls and about the blurry future, kill time in old Billy’s arcade, but the inevitable necessity to part ways catches up with them. Particularly when the dilapidated Texas town’s local cinema – the place their boyish memories are tied to – shuts down and shows its last flick, Hawks’ western Red River (1948). The next day Duane is mustered off to Korea, and “big” history finds its way into the sleepy smalltown… In spite of the fact that Bogdanovich’s film (based on a novel by Larry McMurtry, known today, above all, as co-author of the script for the film adaptation of Annie Proulx’s story Brokeback Mountain, 2005) preconceives the theme of American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973) in a number of ways, it harks back to classic Hollywood with its starkly nostalgic black-and-white footage, a drama reminiscent of the Hawks film mentioned above. This wistful movie-buff tale about the moment that innocence turns painfully and awkwardly into experience won Oscars for the Best Supporting roles of Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson. Around 20 years later, Bogdanovich made a loose adaptation called Texasville (1990).

About the director

Peter Bogdanovich (b. 1939, Kingston, New York) studied acting with the legendary Stella Adler, but became a director in the end. He typically began in the style of the French New Wave, as a movie-buff and film critic, and made biographical documentaries about the Hollywood greats (John Ford, Howard Hawks). His debut was with the film Targets (1967), however it was The Last Picture Show (1971) that made him famous. The movie-buff genre approach did not prove to be a successful formula in America however: after the harebrained comedy What’s Up, Doc? (1972), the nostalgic Paper Moon (1973), the costume story Daisy Miller (1974) and Nickelodeon (1976) he was overtaken in seeking a new form for classic genres by his colleagues who were less wrapped up in the past. Nonetheless, like Martin Scorsese, Bogdanovich most strikingly reflects relationships between the present and Hollywood history.


Hollywood Classics
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United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 517 7525

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: New Hollywood
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Screenplay: Peter Bogdanovich, Larry McMurtry podle románu / based on the novel by Larry McMurtry
Dir. of Photography: Robert Surtees
Editor: Donn Cambern
Producer: Stephen Friedman
Production: BBS Productions
Cast: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn
Contact: Hollywood Classics


Cybill Shepherd



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