Bound for Glory (film)

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Bound for Glory
Bound for glory Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung
Directed by Hal Ashby
Produced by Robert F. Blumofe
Harold Leventhal
Screenplay by Robert Getchell
Based on Bound for Glory
1943 book 
by Woody Guthrie
Starring David Carradine
Ronny Cox
Melinda Dillon
Gail Strickland
Music by Leonard Rosenman (conductor and music adaptor)
George Brand
Joan Biel
Guthrie Thomas
Ralph Ferraro
Cinematography Haskell Wexler
Edited by Pembroke J. Herring
Robert C. Jones
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • December 5, 1976 (1976-12-05) (United States)
Running time
147 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[1]

Bound for Glory is a 1976 American film directed by Hal Ashby and loosely adapted by Robert Getchell from Woody Guthrie's 1943 autobiography Bound for Glory. The film stars David Carradine as folk singer Woody Guthrie and Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, John Lehne, Ji-Tu Cumbuka and Randy Quaid.[2]

Bound for Glory was the first motion picture in which inventor/operator Garrett Brown used his new Steadicam for filming moving scenes.[3] Director of Photography Haskell Wexler won an Oscar for Best Cinematography (1976).

All of the main events and characters, except for Guthrie and his first wife, Mary, are entirely fictional. The film ends with Guthrie singing his most famous song, "God Blessed America" (subsequently retitled "This Land Is Your Land"), on his way to New York, but, in fact, the song was composed in New York in 1940 and forgotten by him until five years later.


In the Depression 1930s, Midwesterner Guthrie (David Carradine) plays music locally but cannot make enough as a sign painter to support his wife (Melinda Dillon) and children. With only his paintbrushes, Woody joins the migration westward from the Dust Bowl to supposedly greener California pastures via boxcar and hitchhiking. Much of the film is based on Guthrie's attempt to humanize the desperate Okie Dust Bowl refugees in California during the Great Depression.[4]


Leonard Roesenman, who adapted several of Guthrie's songs for the film, is believed to have done a disingenuous job by making some of Guthrie's songs unrecognizable on the soundtrack. In the film, David Carradine, who played the role of Woody Guthrie, performed the songs on the soundtrack with his original voice, belittling the true style, sound and form of an authentic Guthrie song and tends to confuse the listener. Another misfortune found in the re-doings of Guthrie songs from the film was that his songs that were incorporated into the film itself, turned out to showcase other singers who weren't Guthrie, further withholding the musician's form, style, and vision. After the release of the film, there followed 5 LPs that showcased Guthrie's music.


Academy Awards[edit]




External links[edit]