The Last American Hero
|The Last American Hero|
|Directed by||Lamont Johnson|
1965 Esquire article|
by Tom Wolfe
|Music by||Charles Fox|
Tom Rolf, A. C. E.|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$1,250,000 (US/ Canada)|
The Last American Hero (also known as Hard Driver) is a 1973 sports drama film based on the true story of American NASCAR driver Junior Johnson. Directed by Lamont Johnson, it stars Jeff Bridges as Junior Jackson, the character based on Johnson.
The film is based on Tom Wolfe's essay "The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!", which was first published in Esquire magazine in March 1965 and included in his debut collection of essays, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, later that year. The film was favorably reviewed by Pauline Kael in The New Yorker, even though The New Yorker had a long-standing feud with Wolfe.
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Junior Jackson (Jeff Bridges), a stock-car driver stays one step ahead of reform school until his father (Art Lund) is thrown in prison for moonshining. Seeing the error of his ways, Jackson begins to concentrate on his driving skills, hoping to become a professional stock car racer to raise money to get his father released from jail.
- Jeff Bridges as Elroy Jackson, Jr.
- Valerie Perrine as Marge
- Geraldine Fitzgerald as Mrs Jackson
- Ned Beatty as Hackel
- Gary Busey as Wayne Jackson
- Art Lund as Elroy Jackson, Sr.
- Ed Lauter as Burton Colt
- William Smith II as Kyle Kingman
- Gregory Walcott as Morley
- Tom Ligon as Lamar
- Ernie Orsatti as Davie Baer
- Erica Hagen as Trina
- James Murphy as Spud
- Lane Smith as Rick Penny
- Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p257
- Solomon p 232. See also "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 60. Please note figures are rentals not total gross.