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I Watched The Filming Of Convoy
foggydayinscotland15 July 2005
It was June of 1977, and I was twelve years old. I was visiting my grandparents in Las Vegas, NM at the time, when I heard that they were filming a movie in town. Nothing new... Las Vegas has been in it's fair share of movies having been made. A great back-drop for old westerns. This was a contemporary movie that was very timely, with the whole CB radio fad happening and Smoky and The Bandit having just made a killing at the box office. Not to mention, Kris Kristofferson was at this point very much a sex symbol from his movie " A Star Is Born" having just been released.

Director Sam Peckinpah was in town and was picking out extras to sit in the Old Town Plaza near the gazebo in downtown Las Vegas. I was one of the them. The day was torrid hot, and Mr. Peckinpah didn't seem to be in the best of moods. With many curse words being thrown around and a few temper tantrums to boot (director and cast) we extras endured the heat and the anger... to get a shot to be in this movie. Of course I ended up on the cutting room floor minus a crowd scene or two, but it was such a thrill for a twelve year old girl.

The movie debuted in July of 1978, a year later, and by then, a lot of the CB radio hype had died down and the movie tanked at the box office. It was later shown on television it seemed every few months in the 1980's, almost gaining a cult following.

The movie is clearly dated, at times over the top macho, but it has a good cast, some great scenery and if for pop culture only... it's a lot of fun.
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Pretty good trucker flick
barnabyrudge2 December 2002
Convoy is the shallowest of Sam Peckinpah's films, but by no means the worst. It contains some oddball characters and a number of memorable sequences, and alternately funny and thought-provoking dialogue. It also features one of the very best Ernest Borgnine performances that I can remember - not bad for a man who won an Oscar for Marty!

The story traces the fortunes of some truckers, led by "Rubber Duck" (Kris Kristofferson), as they drive through the states of New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. They are pursued by the law, and gradually more and more truckers join on at the back of the line until they have literally hundreds of lorries, all roaring along the highways in protest of the prejudicial treatment they receive from the cops.

Kristofferson is supremely enigmatic as the leader of the pack. Ali MacGraw is a bit of a bore as his female companion. As mentioned before, the real star is Borgnine, mean and menacing, funny and cruel as the cop who dedicates his life to victimising truck drivers. For such a shallow film, it looks and sounds beautiful. Even the car chase through the sand is poetic. I can't explain what's good about this picture. It sounds dull and pointless, yet to watch it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Convoy is a contradiction of itself.... plotless, pointless, thinly plotted, and yet still (somehow) a top notch film!
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70s American Epic
Leadfoot_vts14 August 2004
Great film! This was one of the few American films that got broadcasted on TV here in Hungary in the late 80s socialist era. I was about 8 then, and I remember, every kid played with Matchbox trucks and wanted to be a trucker...

But only now do I understand the essence of it... I think, this movie is the 70s epic of America - a kind of 'On the road put to film'. It deeply revolts against the conformism of the late 70s. After the 60s the rebellion of the "beat generation" slowly expired giving way to the "disco age". I think, Convoy brings back some of the finest ideas and emotions of the 60s, depicting numerous social-political-economic problems of the 70s...

Also, it has an even more important message: it is the revolt of the average citizen, or the working man against the political elite. They say, they have our - the people's - well being on our minds. And we might be dull enough to believe them... We work hard, while they stuff their own pockets with our money and have nothing on their minds but doing that and ways of being able to maintain their power. I think, that is an ever-present problem in each and every country, no matter rich or poor, democratic or dictatorical. So the true message of Convoy is: REAL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
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A Western...but with Trucks
imulysses1 March 2006
CONVOY, even after almost 30 years since it was released, remains was it was, an iconic American film by an iconic American director. This movie,which is not short on American archetypes, from Ernest Bornine's vile redneck sheriff "Dirty Lyle," to Kris Kristofferson's independence-loving "Rubber Duck," to Ali MacGraw's free-spirited "Melissa," is really an old-fashioned Western, but with trucks. LOTS of trucks. Like Clint Eastwood's "man with no name" gunslinger, Kristofferson (who steals every scene with his smile and blue eyes) is a man whose sense of honour and justice compels him to act on behalf of the down-trodden; symbolized in this case by a black truck driver named "Spider Mike" (played by actor Franklyn Ajaye). But instead of guns and "pistols at dawn" Kristofferson uses a semi. But it's not "justice" he's after, for in the world of CONVOY "justice" (per se) doesn't really exist. That's what makes this film so iconic. If it was about "justice" this movie would have been a court drama, with the Rubber Duck hiring a lawyer, going to court, and getting Dirty Lyle tossed in jail for his arrogance and abuse of power. Nor is it about mere revenge, for throughout the movie Kristofferson's character never truly reaches the point where he simply wants to hurt and destroy his nemesis. It's rather about personal honour and how we, as individuals, define it. Spider Mike, therefore, becomes not so much the victim of racism (which is repeatedly emphasized by the other characters calling him "boy") but of a system that has allowed dishonourable people (in positions of power) to abuse that power at will. Into this world comes the "legendary" Rubber Duck, the "last of the independents," who alone is willing to strike a blow for the diminished honour of another man, while seeking no reward for himself. This is the essence of the American Western and why it works so well in CONVOY. Take away the trucks, put on some cowboy boots and a six-shooter, and you have before you any number of Westerns whose sole premise is that one man with personal integrity and honour can make a real difference in the corrupt world in which he lives. The difference in this case is that Kristofferson doesn't just "clean up this one horse town" he, with the aid of his "posse" of like-minded truckers (Burt Young does a terrific job as his side-kick "Pig Pen"), totally demolishes it. And like those great Westerns, only then can Rubber Duck find solace for his spirit; which he does without compromising either his own values or his personal integrity This is the essence of honour itself and what really makes this movie work. Even, now, after almost 30 years, one cannot help but stand and cheer as Rubber Duck and company take on the forces arrayed against them as the movie reaches its climax. And then stand up cheer again during the closing dénouement. CONVOY, therefore, isn't about "America," or even about being an American, it IS America; the America of myth and folklore that people, even now, still believe in and which the great Westerns of old have done so much to popularize. Because of that and because director Sam Peckinpah does it with such style and grace, this iconic movie, by an iconic director, deserves a place on the shelf of every lover of good solid entertainment
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Goodbye Ali-umbus
aimless-463 April 2005
The "Smokey and the Bandit" target audience never knew what hit them when they went to see "Convoy". Used to a diet of direct-to-drive-in films they had no conception of what could happen when Hollywood threw big bucks and a competent (if distracted) director at the genre. What they got was something that movie historians are still trying to classify. A movie based on a CB radio song that morphed into a poetic homage to machinery; where trucks are turned into mythological monsters and filmed cruising through the heat-radiating desert to a score of classical music.

Why Sam Peckinpah elected to take on this project has really never been explained, although that decision certainly supports those tales of substance abuse, and the final cut is bizarre enough to also fit that explanation. It is an amazing film as it wobbles between self-parody and self-importance to a degree never seen before and never seen again until "Apocalypse Now". I'm not sure how much attention and interest Peckinpah actually showed toward the making of "Convoy". It has the disjointed feel of multiple directors or of a Director of Photography filling in many times when Sam was not motivated to make an appearance on the set.

Kris Kristofferson is fine as trucker "Rubber Duck" although Earnest Borgnine pretty much steals the whole thing.

But "Convoy's real claim to fame is as the film where Ali MacGraw's career spectacularly crashed and burned. She did not just fade away but shattered into a million pieces. MacGraw got into acting in her late twenties but looked young enough to be believable as a college-age girl in her first two starring roles; the excellent "Goodbye Columbus" and the pathetic but hugely popular "Love Story". Her age worked to her advantage as her two characters (particularly "Goodbye's" Brenda) came off as poised, stylish, classy and smart. She picked up a huge following of male viewers who would have bought tickets to anything she was in and she was generally inoffensive to female viewers. She was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, started fashion crazes, and made the cover of Time magazine. She also picked up the head of Paramount Studios (Robert Evans) as a husband dedicated to advancing her acting career. It was a done deal that she would get the lead in "Chinatown", a role that would fit her rather limited range (poised, classy, stylish). Her only obstacle was managing the transition to middle age in a way that her smitten fans could accept.

Unfortunately she dumped Evans for a short marriage (5 years) to Steve McQueen. Just how badly her image and career were managed after she left Evans is illustrated by her bad haircut in "Convoy". Just glance at the promotional poster and you may be able to hear the sounds of a million bubbles bursting in the minds of her male fans. The idea of "Brenda" playing a truck stop mama with short curly hair would have made it too painful to even contemplate seeing this movie. Her fan base literally melted away with the start of the film's promotion campaign. They never returned, the illusion had died. Ironically had they actually seen her horrible performance in "Convoy" they might have felt better, as the performance is so absurd it achieves a sort of surreal quality. But a couple years later they discovered replacement Jennifer Beals and moved on.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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Entertaining Peckinpah movie about some protesting truckers led by an independent rebel drive through Southwest
ma-cortes2 July 2011
A rebel trucker (Kris Kristofferson) leads protesting his colleagues on a trek throughout Southwest until Mexico .Other truckers join their convoy as a show of support against brutality and other complaints . Sheriff Wallace (Ernest Borgnine)rallies other law enforcement officers throughout the southwest, they who soon aware that stopping Duck, the face of the now highly public standoff, is not as easy as shooting him and the truck due to his highly explosive cargo . Truckers (Burt Young , Magde Sinclair as Widow woman, among others) on a tri-state protest over police brutality ,form a mile long "convoy" in support of Duck's vengeance with the abusive sheriff . Based on the country song , a real hit , of same title by C.W. McCall.

An enjoyable film , ¨ Peckinpah's Convoy ¨results to be an elegiac perspective at the world of the truckers . Taut excitement throughout, beautifully photographed and with spectacular trucks scenes and some images filmed in slow moving. An uneven and silly screenplay by Bill L Norton , subsequently turned to mediocre director . Vibrant and brilliant all star cast with acceptable performances from Burt Young , Seymour Cassel , Cassie Yates , among others. Kris Kristofferson turns in a nice acting as a drifting independent trucker nicknamed ¨Duck¨ who is searching freedom in a changing world , he and Ali MacGraw strike real sparks. Ernest Borgnine is particularly fine as the veteran patrolman .Peckinpah's slow-motion camera , his usual trademark,is put to particularly nice utilization shooting the balletic movement of fights , at once more splendidly and awe-inspiring than any gun battle. Furthermore, it contains a country music emotive score by Chip Davis . Glimmer and colorful cinematography by Harry Stradling Jr ,son of another great cameraman Harry Stradling Sr . Splendidly filmed in Albuquerque,Cerrillos, New Mexico,Cuba, New Mexico,Needles, California ,New Mexico State Fair Grounds ,Central & Louisanna Avenues, Albuquerque,White Sands National Monument, and Alamogordo, New Mexico. An agreeable country-trucker-Western with passable interpretations and exciting trucks footage including some slow-moving images and a much moving , professionally made by the famous director Sam Peckinpah . Sam was a real creator and author of masterpieces as ¨Cross of Iron¨,¨The ballad of Cable Hogue¨, ¨Wild bunch¨ , ¨Major Dundee¨ . ¨Convoy¨ though inferior film is lovely realized by Sam Peckinpah in his punchy directorial style .
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Convoy: Potential unused
latsblaster24 March 2004
Uneven but at times entertaining Peckinpah film. It doesn't feel as nasty today as it maybe did in the late 1970´s.

Kris Kristofferson is cool in his role but it doesn't hold the film together enough.

"Convoy" is made in typical Peckinpah style but it doesn't seem to match that good in this case. The slow-motion fist fight on the bar is not astonishing.

Even if it is based on a song, the story seem to work, but there should have been some changes and maybe the scriptwriter should have add something more.

Rating: 5 of 10.
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Their all following you! No they ain't..I'm just in front of them.
sol121827 April 2005
A convoy of angry and enraged truckers are rolling down the desert highways of Arizona New Mexico and Texas led by Martin Penwald (Kris Kistofferson) using the CB-handle "Rubber Duck". The truckers had enough of the corrupt highway cops who shake them down and threaten to impound their rigs. Leaving the truckers without any means of financial support. As well as the ridicules 55 MPH speed limit on the highways that cuts into their time and earnings and last but not least the sky-rocketing gas prices.

After the Rubber Duck and two of his trucker pals Love Machine & Spider Mike,Burt Young & Franklyn Ajaye, were entrapped by the nasty and vindictive local Sheriff Lyle Wallace, Earnest Borgnine,for illegally using the trucker CB-handle name Cottonmouth. Their shaken down by the "lawman" for $70.00 each in order to avoid having their trucks impounded and them being thrown behind bars.

The three later Going to the local truck stop to celebrate the Rubber Ducks birthday and have a few drinks are again confronted by the lawman. Sheriff Wallace, still not satisfied with pushing the truckers around, comes snooping around the area to make a few more bucks off the abused haulers. Wallace picks on poor Spider Mike accusing him of loitering and is about to throw him in jail. Spiker Mike pleads to the unfeeling Wallace that his wife is about to give birth and to please leave him alone which doesn't move the sheriff at all. But a straight right to his jaw, by Spider Mike, does make him move right on the butt of his pants. In a bar brawl with the truckers, who come to the aid of Spider Mike Love Machine and the Rubber Duck, Wallace and two of his deputies are knocked out cold and handcuffed as the three truckers together with the Rubber Duck's new found squeeze the plucky and outspoken Melissa (Ali MacGraw), a wedding photographer who's car broke down, then take off and go back on the road again with the entire Arizona Highway Patrol on their tail.

Chased by the crazy Sheriff Wallace, who commandeered a car from a young couple smoking and shearing a joint. the Rubber Duck Love Machine & Spider Mike get the full support from some very expected and unexpected persons that during the remainder of the film has them on the front pages of the news as well as getting the ear of the local governors senators and even the President of the United States himself.

There's strength in numbers is the theme of "Convoy" with the Rubber Duck & friends making a private affair into a public happening. This by drawing attention to the plight of him and his fellow truckers and how their short-changed and ill-treated by everyone down the line, police politicians and big oil, as they try to do their.

The giant convoy of truckers following the Rubber Duck open the eyes of the nation and puts corrupt low-lives like Sheriff Wallace on the front pages. All that showed what these hard working and dedicated men, the truckers, have to put up with every day and night that their on the road. In the end they get the support and respect from the public, as well as the politicians, that they so richly deserve. When the clueless and almost brain-dead politicians see the endless line of the trucker convoy lead by the Rubber Duck they not only stand up and listen but they deliver as well.

One of director Sam Peckinpah's most underrated films that, as far as I could see, had no one killed in it. Even though the amount of violence and explosions were equaled to Peckinpah's famous blood-splattering 1969 classic "The Wild Bunch".
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Never Gets Out Of First Gear
slokes23 July 2010
This film is a strange duck. One of the only two bona fide commercial hits for one of the most celebrated American directors of his era nevertheless pretty much killed Sam Peckinpah's career. What went wrong?

Some blame the basic concept, basing an entire movie on a three-year-old AM novelty hit. Like the song, it's a rambling tale about truckers ramming roadblocks and talking to each other on citizens-band radios. Kris Kristofferson as lead trucker Rubber Duck seems sheepish about the overall point, while Ali MacGraw as his love interest looks uncomfortable in a bad haircut.

"Convoy" isn't Shakespeare, but for the first 35 minutes it establishes an amiable tone and a colorful cast of supporting players. The jokes are hit-and-miss, but establish an enjoyable trucker camaraderie. Kristofferson's not much of an actor for me, but he's effective here working his gruff-but-kindly persona for what it's worth.

The early part of the film culminates in a fistfight in a roadstop diner. This sequence is well-shot and edited, belying the notion of Sam directing the entire film out of his skull on cocaine. A slow-motion shot of ketchup splattering over one combatant shows Bloody Sam had a sense of humor about his reputation. One cop seems impervious to fists and chairs alike, leaving Duck to marvel: "That ain't no cop, that's a mule wearing a uniform." You laugh because it's set up well.

But then the film moves to the Rubber Duck and his pals escaping the law, and with that ideas run out fast. The movie pushes its points, hazy as they are, with unbecoming directness. One cop introduces himself: "My name is Bob Bookman, sir, and I hate truckers." The Duck goes on some existential tangent about his growing band of followers, telling his pal Pig Pen (Burt Young) "Who the hell else they got?"

Much of the film focuses on Sheriff "Dirty" Lyle, overplayed by an uncommonly intense Ernest Borgnine, who chases the Duck because, well, he's the law and doesn't like backtalk from people he hits up for bribes. The story wanders into amnesty discussions between the Duck and an ambitious governor, with assorted points about grandstanding politicans hammered over and over.

In an out-of-nowhere dramatic shift, trucker Spider Mike (Franklin Ajaye) is beaten and stuck in jail in Texas, setting the stage for the Duck to break him out. The amiable comedy of the early film still lingers, but it's largely overwhelmed by this and other stabs at significance. By the end, the Duck has passed from myth to deity in a drawn-out finale with a lot of strained laughter. Here's an idea: It's a comedy when the audience is left laughing, not the actors on screen.

"Convoy" never sinks entirely; the visuals are cool and the supporting cast fun company. It just doesn't do enough with what it has. It's here I think Peckinpah failed the film, not working the script in a more engaging direction. He leans on stunts in place of story; after the fifteenth flipped cop car I started getting old "A-Team" flashbacks.

A lot of familiar faces from other Peckinpah films appear here, in both lead and supporting roles. Sam himself appears twice, as a boom operator in a camera car chasing the convoy and as a face on the T-shirt of Widow Woman (Madge Sinclair) that reads: "Uncle Sam Wants You".

Early in the film, Widow Woman sums up the spirit of "Convoy" when someone asks her if she wants to join them in their law-breaking adventure. "Why the hell not?" she replies. It's a line that worked when Ben Johnson said it in "The Wild Bunch". Here it is not so convincing. "Convoy" entertains, but it never convinces. For a Peckinpah movie, that isn't good enough.
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A Double Order of Cheesy FUN!!!
Gavno8 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The angry, rebellious mood of the post Watergate 1970s, the CB radio craze, and the romanticized image of Truckers as direct descendants of the American cowboy were made to order for the rebellious gonzo filmmakers out there who were looking for something new to hang their perceptual hats on. They'd made it big with the Hollywood Money Machine by now, already having explored (and maybe exploited) illegal drugs and the free floating feeling of youthful rebellion that had been simmering since the early '50s (EASY RIDER), the country's ongoing cultural and philosophical clash between young and old (BILLY JACK), and even our changing perceptions of the concepts of war and patriotism (THE DEERHUNTER and COMING HOME).

Enter Sam Peckinpah, one of the wildest of the "action" (read that as "pointless violence just for the hell of it") filmmakers, armed with a fairly big budget, the incredibly sexy, laid back, anti-establishment and intelligent box office draw of Kris Kristophersen, and the considerable comedic talents of Ernie Borgnine. The only thing missing in this was the psychotic, druggie craziness and inspired insanity of Dennis Hopper. The results of the mix were predictable and inevitable.

No script to speak of; just the lyrics of a pop song by C. W. McCall about a bunch of POed, runaway truckers armed with CB radios and a hatred of the then new 55 MPH national speed limit. Throw in a lot of high speed chases and crashes involving loaded 18 wheelers, staged by a director who had a long and distinguished reputation in Hollywood as a loose cannon. The final product was inspired escapist fantasy that was almost guaranteed to produce box office receipts from teenagers from coast to coast.

The plot of the film (if you can call it that) is rather pointless and murky; it is simply the story of a brawl at a truck stop that escalated into a pseudo social movement. One character, a trucker whose CB "handle" is Big Nasty, inadvertently sums up the entire point of CONVOY when he is asked why he's joined the trucker protest. "I'm just here because I like kicking ass!" was his reply. And so it is, as simple as that... the film is all about free form anarchy and flipping The Bird to the established social and political order, staged by a bunch of unconventional rebels who were perceived as tough enough and powerful enough to make their rebellion stick. Despite the fact that the film has no point and doesn't seem to know where it's going, it was just what the temper of the times demanded, and without a doubt it's just a whole lot of FUN! Trucks and CB radios were a major staple of Hollywood then... along with CONVOY there were other efforts, some of them more sophisticated and structured, like Burt Reynold's classic of the genre SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT that used essentially the CONVOY formula.

Not every movie has a higher calling, expressing the producer's vision of some great truth. Some are trashy and cheesy, but they still garner a place as cult classics, and as one of those "guilty pleasures" movies that we drag out from time to time just for pure enjoyment. CONVOY is one of them... it offers the pure (tho vicarious) thrill of seeing a squad car that's chasing you get crushed between two semis. It warms the soul with a vision of the Little Guy successfully fighting back against the system that uses him up and tosses him into the trash heap... even tho in Peckinpah's version of that vision we're not really sure of exactly what it is that the Little Guy is fighting against, or why he's fighting.

As pure entertainment, I have to give CONVOY a Thumbs Up.
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A so-so genre flick from a master director
rdoyle2925 May 2016
I don't think this film is as bad as it's reputation suggests. I've seen a fair number of these kind of truckin'/car chase films from the late 70's, and I think it's a fairly average representation of the genre ... perhaps even a bit better than average given the presence of Kris Kristofferson, Ernest Borgnine and Burt Young. What's disappointing is that you expect Peckinpah to elevate anything he works on to something better than "average genre film" status, and he fails to do that. There are moments when you sense his presence ... a slow motion shot of big trucks hightailing it along a sandy back road achieves a certain poetic majesty ... but mostly you get the feeling that he simply didn't care about this film. It's a giant missed opportunity.
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The Number One Greatest Movie of All-Time, Bar None, I Tell You!
NiCage12 March 1999
This is the one. I have never in my life come across a better movie in the history of filmdom. It is the end-all, be-all greatest thing to hit the silver screen. While I never was the biggest fan of country music, there's just something that rocks about trucker songs. And can anyone possibly match the climax of the movie? I think not. Has there ever been a movie more fun to root against the cops? Dirty Lyle is the ultimate anti-hero. Despite the "only in Hollywood" ending, the movie still brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. Heart-pounding excitement and thrills through and through. And just remember that all of these actors had to learn to drive 18-wheelers, which is not exactly the easiest of tasks. Very impressive!
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TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews24 July 2005
Honestly, what can be said about a film entirely based on a country song? This is the first film by the late, great Sam Peckinpah I've seen, and I must say, despite this apparently being him at his worst, I'm intrigued enough to watch more of his works. I guess that's solid proof that he knew what he was doing... even while making this. The film is basically a large group of truckers forming a convoy, in support to one of them who is to be arrested. They drive around in a long line of trucks, in said support. Odd way to show it, in my personal opinion, but to each his own. The camera caresses the trucks, in many shots, much like it does in Woo's film with the guns. Despite my limited knowledge of the culture of trucking and my neutral stance on fast cars(I rarely enjoy car-chases... The Blues Brothers is the exception that confirms the rule), I enjoyed parts of this movie. There's a bar-fight near the beginning with some slow-motion shots oddly blended in with the real-time footage. I don't know if this is typical to Peckinpah's style. This is largely a guy's movie. There's a camera angle focusing on the female lead's crotch within the first few minutes. The plot is driven by trucks, and pretty much everyone seen driving one of said trucks is what is commonly referred to as a "man's man", or one who's "macho". The film is nicely shot, some very good cinematography. The plot is, to my understanding, basically the lyrics of the country song of the same name written into a screenplay, with few, if any, alterations. That makes it quite predictable, but it's still fairly enjoyable. The direction is good. The acting is somewhat dim, though MacGraw and Kristofferson manage to hold their own. The pacing seemed pretty bad, but I'm not into this kind of film, so that may be at fault. I recommend this to fans of Peckinpah, Kristofferson and possibly MacGraw. 5/10
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Flat tyres all round!
Flash_Cadillac22 September 2001
As an avid Peckinpah fan, I am amazed at some of the euphoric reviews some members have praised this movie with. Overall it is soulless and heartless with everyone, including Sam, going through the motions. It lacks excitement and one certainly can't sympathise with the characters, good or bad. Indeed I didn't care what happened to them. Compared to the majority of Sam's work this is, by far, the weakest effort. The themes of loyalty and comradeship, trust and betrayal, faith and despair, etc. are, of course, an underlying factor, as they are in many of Sam's movies but there was no depth of feeling within this thinly plotted story. After all, there's not much you can you squeeze from a trucking song! Smokey and the Bandit was better, for goodness sake! At least that was funny. Convoy doesn't know whether it is a comedy or a drama or a political statement or just a beardy beer-bellied guys' movie. When compared to Sam's earlier masterpieces (Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett, Ride the High Country, even Cross of Iron) Convoy looks and feels like it was made by some tv hack. I'm sorry, Sam, wherever you are, but 23 years down the road it's still a turkey.
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Tepid late Peckinpah
funkyfry16 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A film of extreme silliness, degraded rather than elevated by its pretensions, this film finds the great director Sam Peckinpah at the end of his career and the nadir of his talent. Star Kris Kristofferson tries rather too hard to lend a mythic or larger-than-life air to the proceedings, while Ali MacGraw looks and acts weirdly out of place in this trucker fantasy. Most of the good scenes involve Kristofferson's rivalry with bad-guy cop Ernest Borgnine. There is a rousing bar fight about halfway through the film, the consequences of which lead to the formation of the titular "convoy" of semi-trucks.

Rarely has the aimlessness and lack of inspiration of the "counter-culture" been on more effective display than in this film. While reaching for some kind of epic outsider/modern outlaw style, the film instead reveals the emptiness of its ideals. Unlike "Easy Rider", which is a flawed film but at least has some real heart, this film does not dwell on the void it has revealed, nor does it advance our poetic understanding of anti-heroes and outlaws. There's very little poetry in a semi-truck, and the film is too self-serious to indulge in the kind of outright farce that made the films of the late 70s with Burt Reynolds at least watchable.

If you want to retain your positive feelings about Sam Peckinpah, best to skip this one. It's entertaining enough, if you watch it with a six pack and don't try to pay too much attention.
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Funny Silliness
claudio_carvalho19 July 2015
The truck drivers Martin "Rubber Duck" Penwald (Kris Kristofferson), Bobby "Love Machine" "Pig Pen" (Burt Young) and Spider Mike (Franklyn Ajaye) are crossing the Arizona desert and they are lured by the corrupt Sheriff Lyle "Cottonmouth" Wallace (Ernest Borgnine) that takes money from them. The truckers stop at a truck stop where Rubber Duck meets the photographer Melissa (Ali MacGraw) that asks for a ride to the airport. Soon the unscrupulous Sheriff Wallace comes to the restaurant and tells that he will arrest Spider Mike who wants to go home since his pregnant wife is near the delivery. The truckers react under the leadership of Rubber Duck and they leave the place in a convoy. Soon others truckers join the convoy in a huge protest.

"Convoy" is a funny silliness surprisingly directed by Sam Peckinpah. The plot is messy and the leader Rubber Duck does not have an objective for his movement. It could be a protest against the corruption from the officers, but the story is shallow. Ernest Borgnine "steals" the film and Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw do not have any chemistry. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Comboio" ("Convoy")
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Somewhere between a 10 and a 4
Fluke_Skywalker13 June 2016
Sam Peckinpah's 'Convoy' works as, if nothing else, a little cultural/pop cultural archeology. Based on a novelty song that was itself a product of a short-lived CB (citizen's band) radio/trucker craze that swept the States in the mid 70s, it offers up a rather vivid slice of life from the days of malaise. It was one of several such films ('Smokey and the Bandit', 'Breaker! Breaker!', 'White Line Fever') trying to cash in, but this one is notable for the presence of Peckinpah behind the camera (though how much the struggling Peckinpah was actually behind said camera is apparently open to debate).

'Convoy' is a tough film to nail down. At times it veers into the dadgummit, cornpone comedy territory of Smokey and the Bandit, and at others it evokes a more traditional Peckinpah zeitgeist. Ironically, it probably works best when it straddles that line. At those times, 'Convoy' offers up a broadly entertaining action yarn, with colorful characters occupying simple, well defined turf. I wish Peckinpah and Co. had somehow been able to marry that more cohesively to his standard themes while leaving the broad yucks out of the equation.
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Pigpen, this here's the rubber duck and I'm about to put the hammer down!
buzznzipp199530 September 2006
I heard the theme song on the radio, back in late 77' I think it was. Almost Erie, kind of riding on the wind, type of sound off in the distance, building up speed and strength. The movie finally hit the theaters and my parents would not let me see it, though. So I waited and waited and tried to see it with no luck until, it came to television. From the first scene in the desert, it looked like snow, then seemed to turn hotter, the sand becoming the desert, overtaking the roadway, blowing along, in the wind. Kristopherson was quite the believable long hall trucker. A rebel and a sort of 'Loner' with a lot of friends, mainly others that looked at him as if he was a hero to them. Their 'idol' so to speak. It seemed to get moving quickly and then slow at times where it needed to tell the story and balance things out. The critics however, hated this one! They lambasted {Director} Sam Pekinpah, for making this, as if it was only a 'silly' theatrical charade. What the hell is wrong with these 'critics'? The soundtrack, as far as I could remember, had everyone singing it, I don't think the movie did mammoth numbers at the Box office, but I believe it pulled in enough to cover the production costs etc. This probably did even better over seas. I thought that the characters in this and the story, which I liked even though, some others along with those wonderful 'critics' didn't appreciate the simplistic beauty of it, they thought it too 'thin'. Oh well, now this movie is damaged goods right? Not quite. From the evil, Lyle ('the Devil')Wallace, sheriff( Ernest Borg.) to his 'comrads in arms' so to speak, the entire rest of the trucking industry, practically, everyone delivered what the character brought to the script. Even if that didn't work out still had all the big iron monsters of the highway to watch in all their glory. You have to admit it was the perfect time for a movie like that with semi trucks you sure couldn't make it work today, in our current climate of life and electronic and digital gadget's.

Even down to the camera work, this was shot in 'cinema scope'style, I think that they (industry) still uses that term. Anyhow, it pounds through and through with tension at times, right on down the line to the little twist in the ending, small but just right for this Pekinpah feature. Even the Sheriff, after thinking he had done-in 'The Duck' had a latent taste of his own humanity and laughed, and laughed in release of his anger at Pennwald, the lead trucker, most likely burying the hatchet in his mind.

This was 70's no disco, at a time when many different programs and movies seemed to be centered around the 'Disco' era, this was not even close.

I enjoy watching this now at least once or twice a year. I found it on DVD. Enjoy it if you can find it. (****)
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Salty Sam Keeps On Truckin'
virek21317 March 2016
I cannot think of any other film in history that did so well at the box office (even with such universally bad reviews) but which had such a bad reputation during its making that its director, the admittedly cantankerous Sam Peckinpah, was basically exiled one more time from an industry that he had so shaken up just a few short years before. But that's what was to be had from his 1978 film CONVOY. And unfortunately, it was a cocaine problem Peckinpah had that was so extreme during its making that when word got around, he could find absolutely no work again in Hollywood until 1982, when he got a shot at a comeback by doing THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND.

Scripted by B.W.L. Norton (of CISCO PIKE fame) and based very loosely on the 1975-76 C.W. McCall C&W/pop crossover hit of the same name, CONVOY, though originally intended as a congenial truck-driving comedy along the lines of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, somehow evolved into what might be called a modern-day version of THE WILD BUNCH, only on wheels, and with a lot less violence. Kris Kristofferson, who did a great turn as Billy The Kid in the director's 1973 Western masterpiece PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID, stars as Rubber Duck, an interstate truck driver who is trying to make a living off of his profession but feels he is being hemmed in by the 55 MPH speed limit. And when he gets a lot of his fellow truck drivers, and a curious journalist (Ali MacGraw), involved, it is really quite reluctantly, until he runs afoul of a very nasty New Mexico sheriff (Ernest Borgnine) who's not only got a thing against truck drivers of Kristofferson's ilk, but even a latent streak of racism as well, when he and some fellow lawman tangle with a black trucker, Spider Mike (Franklin Ajaye). Kristofferson and MacGraw get involved, but Kristofferson knows it is not meant to be, especially with Borgnine constantly breathing down his neck. Various huge action and chase scenes involving what seem to be a thousand big rigs and hundreds of cars, plus a couple of choppers thrown into the mix, lead up to Kristofferson challenging Borgnine at the crossing between Texas and Mexico, in which Borgnine and his cronies open fire of Kristofferson's big rig, causing it and him to fall with explosive results into the Rio Grande. But Kristofferson isn't quite as dead as everyone thinks….

CONVOY ran well over budget and schedule during its making through much of the spring and summer of 1977, principally because of the director's aforementioned cocaine addiction, which almost led to his firing at a few points. And even as he was editing the film, with Garth Craven, the English editor who still knew Peckinpah's action/editing style the best, when it was released in the summer of 1978, the director, unlike on previous films, didn't even bother to contend with the recutting that producer Michael Deeley did on it. The subsequent exile from Hollywood that Peckinpah suffered because of CONVOY wasn't without incident, either; in May 1979, while living in Montana, he had a heart attack that nearly killed him then and there. By the time he got back to work on THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND, he was a very depleted man; and though he made a concerted effort to quit his bad habits, it turned out to be too little, too late.

To CONVOY itself, now: For a very long time, hearing the stories about Peckinpah's "white powder" madness during its making, I was very hard on this film, considering it his worst. After a few times watching it again, even though its flaws are still there (the attempts at SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT-type comedy don't really work), the fact is that, under whatever substances or pressures, he was able to work as well with big rigs and all other things automotive in CONVOY as he had ever been with horses on his innovative Westerns. The action scenes, structured around the admittedly flimsy premise of a novelty record, are still shockingly well done, with the requisite multiple POV editing style and intercutting of slow motion and regular action that are part-and-parcel of his style. And he did get some good performances from the three principals, along with a cast that included Madge Sinclair (from the epic TV miniseries "Roots"), Cassie Yates, Burt Young (who had been in ROCKY, and Peckinpah's 1975 action film THE KILLER ELITE), Seymour Cassel (as the New Mexico governor), and Jorge Russek (as the racist Tex-Mex sheriff Tiny Alvarez).

Grievously flawed as this film was, and as "coked out" as Peckinpah was during its production, there are still things about CONVOY that make it a film well worth seeing. It's not THE WILD BUNCH or STRAW DOGS, to be sure; but just for the sheer ability of Peckinpah to conjure up a lot from what was very little to start with, it does more than most CGI-choked action films today. Just on that basis alone, it deserves the '7' rating I'm giving it here.
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cult classic
trashgang22 October 2014
Grown up as a child end seventies early eighties I never forgot this flick up to it's new unrated and remastered release on Blu ray, time to pick it up and watch it allover again.

The story is rather simple, when a trucker , Rubber Duck (Kris Kristofferson) comes across Sheriff Lyle 'Cottonmouth' Wallace (Ernest Borgnine) trouble starts between the two of them. From there on all truckers around Arizona unite with Rubber Duck to make a convoy against the smokeys. To be honest, the story do remind you a bit of a good old western and in fact it does. But what makes this flick outstanding is the fact that no effects were used, it were all on-camera stunts and they do look amazing. Just see one muscle car crash into the air. See how trucks fall over or how the crush a police car. Or what about the ending. It's also very clear that Sam Peckinpah was the director in one of his final flicks, just see the use of slo-mo and the panoramic shots.

Even as it is excellent it do has a few problems, i's rather slow sometimes but the action all over the flick makes it up. On the other hand made in the seventies racism was still going on and was a'normal' thing especially in the South. And we do see some racial aspects.

Made after another excellent flick, Smokey And The Bandit (1977) this is a perfect example of how people looked and laughed towards the police. Worth picking up and watch it in full glory.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 4/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
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Amiable? Laughable!!!!!
PeterJackson28 July 2000
Am I really the first one to write a negative comment on this film? Come on, people, grow up! Call this movie the greatest of all time? Ahem, ahem. The "story"(which is simply ridiculous) is based on a trucker song, and I think that's about all there is to say about that. The song however is pretty good. But does that make up for the mess they made by making this movie? I think not.

I agree when people say that some movies are only made to entertain. The story is of no importance in these cases. But then there has to be a certain amount of entertainment and this film fails exactly in that department. Not a real stinker of a movie, but certainly bad and overlong too. 4/10
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A Cult Classic
mw28 October 2002
Like another user I got this cheap - I thought. 85 kroners (£8). Although not worth that amount of money it is a total classic that I - like the other users - first saw when I was a kid and was looking forward to seeing again some 20 years after. The story is amazingly thin (which is why it might have worked for kids), but all the radio language and trucker stuff makes up for it. It'll look good on my DVD shelf in years to come. First viewing (1980): 10/10. Second viewing (2002): 4/10
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11 on a scale of 10; Ultimate Roadmovie & Emblem of an Era
wobelix19 July 2004
What a pity we cannot grand a film an occasional 11 here on the IMDB !!

It is quite astonishing that this film gets so much mixed reviews ! All is marvelous here: pace, shots, scale, acting, and the overall control by one of Cinema's Greatest.

If the roadmovie is the ultimate movie, as Marvelous Monty Hellman once said (and he is in the Roadmovie Top Three with his TWO LANE BLACK TOP), than we had quite a bunch to highlight an era. The ultimate roadmovie is not about trucks or cars, but about postal carriages, in Ettore Scola's NIGHT AT VARENNES (don't miss that one !!! Why hasn't Criterion found out about superstar Scola yet !!...)

The motorcycles of the '50 and '60'ies, Marlon Brando's THE WILD ONE and cult hit EASY RIDER are truly the icons of their era.

THELMA AND LOUISE drove their car through the '90ies in a breathtaking way, picking up Brad Pitt along the way.

There are many more examples, like Mr. Spielberg who kicked of an astonishing career with a roadmovie in '72, called DUEL.

But CONVOY might very well express the ultimate feeling of the '70ies. It is made in '78, the terrible '80ies loom already, but CONVOY gives us the sentiment of liberty against all odds...

There is politics and sarcasm and fun and hardship... What a GRAND FILM !!!!!!!!
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A surprise in a genre filled with duds
fugue-417 July 1999
I must admit that I had severe misgivings about this movie. A 1970s action film about truckers battling cops starring Kristofferson and MacGraw simply had to be a dud. Not so. The plot was entertaining, the action fast-paced, and the acting surprisingly good. Yes, the plot is made-in-Hollywood and has more holes than Swiss cheese. And yes, the action sequences are predictable. Yet the Seventies outlaw atmosphere and frame of reference carries the film, and places it solidly in the class of loner-outcast classics like Easy Rider. Well worth a watch.
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Worse direction than expected
Leofwine_draca30 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
CONVOY is a middling truck chase movie from director Sam Peckinpah, who by all accounts was off his head on drugs for much of the filming. It's no surprise that the resultant film feels cheap and choppy, with a plot that seems cobbled together from various unrelated strands and a distinct lack of excitement despite the proliferation of stunts and high-octane action. Kris Kristofferson is the unremarkable lead, failing to ignite a romance with the unremarkable Ali McGraw, and seconding better actors like Burt Young to support. Ernest Borgnine is the best thing about the film as the antagonist sheriff villain. The stunts are cool, but the running time is too long and outside of the action it stalls. It doesn't help that the film just isn't very well directed either; for example, the repeated use of slow motion in the bar-room brawl just feels ridiculous.
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