Movie House Memories

The Last Picture Show (1971)

Episode #120

Columbia Pictures released The Last Picture Show to theaters on October 22, 1971. Peter Bogdanovich directed the film which starred Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and Cybill Shepherd.

‘The Last Picture Show’ Movie Summary

The Last Picture Show, based on Larry McMurtry’s best-selling novel, is about life in the dying town of Anarene, TX circa 1951 comes to the big screen. The story follows three graduating seniors from the local high school; Sonny, innocent and trustworthy, big man on campus, Duanem and Duane’s girlfriend, Jacy.

Sonny and Duane try to understand what life holds for them once they graduate. Duane has unrealistic dreams while Sonny has a more pessimistic view of life. Duane’s only focus is escaping the small town’s monotony…and getting Jacy to go all the way with him in his broken down pickup. However, Duane bores Jacy. Anarene bores her. Her uneventful life bores her. So, she sets her sights on more promising prospects over in Wichita Falls.

Billy, the town’s retard, is friends with Sonny. Sam the Lion, the town’s soulful patriarch and owner of the pool hall, diner and movie house, takes care of Billy. Sam advises Sonny, but has very little hope for his future. Sonny breaks up with his undesirable girlfriend at the same time Duane and Jacy try unsuccessfully figure out how to lose their virginity. Everyone in town hears about that!

Sonny stumbles awkwardly into a romantic relationship with the basketball coach’s middle-aged and emotionally-needy wife, Ruth. After graduation, Duane and Jacy grow further apart. Sonny and Ruth become more dependent on each other. Jacy’s unfaithful, but doting mother tries guiding Jacy to bigger and better opportunities outside Anarene. At the same time, Duane sees wedding bells with Jacy.

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Columbia Pictures released The Last Picture Show to theaters on October 22, 1971. Peter Bogdanovich directed the film which starred Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and Cybill Shepherd.

User Rating: 2.73 ( 3 votes)
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  1. I’m willing to bet no one has ever compared breakfast club to TLPS before:) I’ve never thought of it as a high school film, more a film about the death of a town and the death of an era(btw a film you reviewed before – red river – was the last film that screened at the theater at the end of the film). TLPS is meant for adults, not teenagers(unlike john Hughes films)
    A bit disappointed that no time was spent talking about peter bogdanovich’s direction. This film was considered the arrival of a major talent at the time, and he followed it up with 2 more major hits What’s Up Doc and Paper Moon. A basically rookie director able to get 4 of his actors in TLPS Oscar nominations is very impressive. Also disappointed more time wasn’t spent discusding Sam the Lion(Ben Johnson), arguably the most important character in the film. its a shame Chris couldn’t be part of this, I’m sure he would’ve added a lot to the discussion. So shane gets another pick next time? When do Lori, Matt and Patrick get another pick?

    1. And speaking of Larry McMurtry, another one of his novels was adapted into another great film – HUD. Though it also may be too bleak for some of you:)

      1. Bleak tales set small-town Texas is kind of McMurtry’s thing though. HUD is not quite as good as The Last Picture Show, but still worth a watch.

          1. I think it just misses the top 100…more like a top 120. My dad’s side of the family is from Texas, so I know these towns and can relate. I do like Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, and Randy Quaid a lot in general and in this film.

            Peter Bogdanovich does an excellent job directing the film…the late 60s/early 70s produced some great directors of which he is one. I believe he’s a pretty big fan of Orson Welles, John Ford, and Howard Hawks which is right up my alley; a terrific director. Well, except for his 1976 film Nickelodeon. Ugh!!

  2. I Have this on dvd this is a great movie a good cast with a young jeff bridges timothy bottoms and a very sexy young cybil shepard Yowza is all i can say plus randy quaid and cloris lechman make this a true classic in every sense of the word Texasville the sequel was done 30 years too late after they made this they could done it within 5 years or so but took too long to make a part 2 aka sequel which is texasville but still this is a good movie with peter bogdanovich directing some big names here as i said jeff was good here so was timothy but the star and cutie in this is cybil Yow yow yow is all i can say Lol

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