Convoy (1978)

Convoy (1978)

“They’ve got a language all their own.”

A trucker named Rubber Duck (Kris Kristofferson) is accompanied by a photographer (Ali MacGraw) and other sympathetic long-haulers while being pursued by a vengeful sheriff (Ernest Borgnine); meanwhile, an opportunistic politician (Seymour Cassel) tries to bank on the immense popularity of the convoy across state lines.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ali MacGraw Films
  • Car Chase
  • Cat and Mouse
  • Ernest Borgnine Films
  • Kris Kristofferson Films
  • Sam Peckinpah Films
  • Seymour Cassel Films
  • Sheriffs and Marshals
  • Truckers

Based on C.W. McCall’s country-western novelty song of the same name, Sam Peckinpah’s next-to-last feature film was this over-budget action flick seemingly designed to capitalize on the popularity of Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and all things trucking. Indeed, as DVD Savant points out, “A love of big rig tractor-trailer interstate trucks will be an asset for watching this, because that’s what we see for about 90 minutes of this marathon road picture: trucks cruising, roaring down dusty dirt roads, overturning, running roadblocks.”

Near the beginning of the film — after Kristofferson and MacGraw meet-cute:

— we’re shown a western-style barroom brawl taking place in a cafe:

… and are introduced to Borgnine’s evil sheriff, who doesn’t seem to have a particularly good reason for spending the rest of the movie relentlessly chasing after Rubber Duck.

DVD Savant provides an especially excoriating review of this flick, noting: “Convoy was such a joke when it came out (at least in California) that Savant never saw it. A commercial trifle built around car crashes and a then current Trucker/C.B. Radio craze, it’s a dated eyesore attempting to cash in on various rube fads.” Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice was similarly disappointed, asserting that “Convoy is not merely a bad movie but a terrible movie” given that “anyone can make a bad movie” but “only a misguided talent can manage to be terrible.” While it has its fans, there really isn’t a whole lot here for most film fanatics to hold on to. Be forewarned.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Effectively filmed action sequences

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a Peckinpah completist.


One thought on “Convoy (1978)

  1. First viewing (2/7/21). Not must-see; only for Peckinpah completists (even though, reportedly, a lot of the film was directed by James Coburn).

    The film does feel dated. It has a thin idea which the film spends all of its time stretching. (To its credit, it also throws in a valid idea about protest against the government – which sadly continues to resonate today.)

    There was apparently another approx. 90 minutes of film that editor Graeme Clifford was asked to remove (causing Peckinpah to disown the film) – but, even at its final running time, this thing feels really long and only mildly engaging (even if we do get trademark Peckinpah touches like a brawl, a truck chase, a town bust-up and an explosive finish).

    Kristofferson’s very-low-flame performance offers little and MacGraw here is particularly flat and boring (in her defense, it isn’t much of a role).

    It was Peckinpah’s biggest commercial success – which doesn’t surprise at all, considering how generic it is.

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