The Last American Hero

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The Last American Hero
Directed byLamont Johnson
Produced byWilliam Roberts
John Cutts
Written byWilliam Roberts
William Kerby
Based on1965 Esquire article
by Tom Wolfe
StarringJeff Bridges
Valerie Perrine
Music byCharles Fox
CinematographyGeorge Silano
Edited byTom Rolf, A. C. E.
Robbe Roberts
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 27, 1973 (1973-07-27)
Running time
95 mins.
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,250,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

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[3] 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.

The film's theme song, "I Got a Name", sung by Jim Croce, became a best-selling single.

Plot summary[edit]

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.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Solomon p 232. See also "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 60. Please note figures are rentals not total gross.
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]