The Last American Hero | Chicago Reader

The Last American Hero

Terrific 1973 portrait of the stock-car mentality as a metaphor for the American dream, directed by Lamont Johnson (The Groundstar Conspiracy) with his customary sure sense of how to build from one action to another. The film is reputedly “based on articles by Tom Wolfe,” but it's really constructed as a series of references to Richard Sarafian's Vanishing Point. Jeff Bridges is perfect as the moonshiner's son on the verge of seedy, mud-caked greatness on the southern racing circuit, and he gets fine support from Valerie Perrine as a “Georgia peach pit” groupie. Tightly edited and excitingly photographed—a perfect example of form defining function.

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