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Two-Lane Blacktop is a 1971 road movie directed by Monte Hellman, starring singer-songwriter James Taylor, Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, Warren Oates, and Laurie Bird. Esquire magazine declared the film its movie of the year for 1971, and even published the entire screenplay in its April, 1971 issue, but the film was not a commercial success. The film has since become a cult classic. Brock Yates, organizer of the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash (better known as the Cannonball Run) cites Two-Lane Blacktop as one source of inspiration for the creation of the race, and commented on it in his Car and Driver column announcing the first Cannonball.
Two-Lane Blacktop is notable as a time capsule film of U.S. Route 66 during the pre-Interstate Highway era, and for its stark footage and minimal dialogue. As such it has become popular with fans of Route 66. Two-Lane Blacktop has been compared to similar road movies with an existentialist message from the era, such as Vanishing Point, Easy Rider, and Electra Glide in Blue.
The premise involves two street racers (played by Taylor and Wilson) who live on the road in their highly-modified 1955 Chevy 150 (One-Fifty)...