Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young
Convoy is bizarrely based on the 1975 country and western novelty song “Convoy” by C.W. McCall and Chip Davis. Released in 1978, it was made when the CB Radio/trucking craze was at its peak in the US, and is very similar to Smokey and the Bandit with its loner lead character, beautiful female co-star and the crazy sheriff in pursuit across state lines.
One of Peckinpah’s forgotten gems, it had been over two decades since I first watched it. What drew me back to the movie, after spotting it on Lovefilm recently, was memories of the aforementioned song, Kris Kristofferson’s star performance and a memorable showdown at the end close to the Mexican border.
Ofcourse, because you rarely hear about this film when discussing Peckinpah’s works I did wonder whether my memories had been playing tricks.
Thankfully returning to this old favourite I found that it held up well. The cinematography is wonderful, the score is a lead character in itself, while Kristofferson (Rubber Duck) and MacGraw (Melissa) have smouldering chemistry without very much dialogue.
In fact, the whole movie has little dialogue but it works in its favour as two hours of incessant CB radio dialogue would have been too much.
The story itself is pretty simple. Kristofferson and two fellow truckers (which includes Young) get caught up in a diner fight with Sheriff Lyle (Borgnine) following a road side altercation a short time earlier. Thus the three men, along with MacGraw who they have just picked up, go on the run for the state border. Along the way they pick up more truckers who feel part of something special – riling against authority perhaps.
As the Convoy grows bigger the state police, army and, finally, local media become involved before the final showdown between Rubber Duck and the law.
This is a film I can’t recommend enough. If you like Smokey and the Bandit you’ll certainly enjoy this – although it is less of a comical tale.
Kristofferson has never been better while MacGraw looks stunning. While Peckinpah will forever be remembered for the likes of The Wild Bunch and The Getaway, Convoy is a film that should be looked upon in high regard when discussing this directing maestro.
3 out of 5 nerds