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The Straight Story (1999)

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Coming Out at 15 October 1999 in theaters

Biography, Drama

The Straight Story is a biographical road drama film directed by David Lynch. The film was edited and produced by Mary Sweeney, Lynch’s longtime partner and collaborator. She co-wrote the script with John E. Roach. The film is based on the true story of Alvin Straight’s 1994 journey across Iowa and Wisconsin on a lawn mower. Alvin (Richard Farnsworth) is an elderly World War II veteran who lives with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek), a kind woman with an intellectual disability. When he hears that his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke, Alvin makes up his mind to go visit him and hopefully make amends before he dies. Because Alvin’s legs and eyes are too impaired for him to receive a driving license, he hitches a trailer to his recently purchased thirty-year-old John Deere 110 Lawn Tractor, having a maximum speed of about 5 miles per hour (8.0 km/h) and sets off on the 240 miles (390 km) journey from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.

The film was a critical success and garnered audience acclaim, although the overall gross proved less than expected. Reviewers praised the intensity of the character performances, particularly the realistic dialogue which film critic Roger Ebert compared to the works of Ernest Hemingway. It received a nomination for the Palme d’Or at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and Farnsworth received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Director: David Lynch

Writers: John Roach, Mary Sweeney

Stars: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Jane Galloway Heitz, Donald Wiegert, Richard Farnsworth, Tracey Maloney, Dan Flannery

Cast

Sissy SpacekRose
Jane Galloway HeitzDorothy
Joseph A. CarpenterBud
Donald WiegertSig
Richard FarnsworthAlvin
Tracey MaloneyNurse
Dan FlanneryDoctor Gibbons
Jennifer Edwards-HughesBrenda
Ed GrennanPete
Jack WalshApple
Max the Wonder DogFarm Dog
Gil PearsonBus Driver
Barbara June PattersonWoman on Bus
Everett McGillTom the John Deere Dealer
Anastasia WebbCrystal
Matt GuidrySteve
Bill McCallumRat
Barbara E. RobertsonDeer Woman
James CadaDanny Riordan
Sally WingertDarla Riordan
Barbara KingsleyJanet Johnson
Jim HaunJohnny Johnson
Wiley HarkerVerlyn Heller
Randy WiedenhoffFireman #1
Jerry E. AndersonFireman #2
Kevin P. FarleyHarald
John FarleyThorvald
John LordanPriest
Garrett SweeneyBoy in Truck
Peter SweeneyBoy in Truck
Tommy FaheyBoy in Truck
Matt FaheyBoy in Truck
Dan FaheyBoy in Truck
Russ ReedMt. Zion Bartender
Leroy SwadleyBar Patron
Ralph FeldhackerFarmer on Tractor
Harry Dean StantonLyle
Stephen CinabroPoliceman
Gary D’AmicoCyclist #1
George A. FarrWendell
Jeremy Kent JacksonAndy
Lana SchwabOld Lady #1

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