The Last American Hero

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The Last American Hero
Directed by Lamont Johnson
Produced by William Roberts
John Cutts
Written by William Roberts
William Kerby
Based on The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby
1965 articles 
by Tom Wolfe
Starring Jeff Bridges
Valerie Perrine
Music by Charles Fox
Cinematography George Silano
Edited by Tom Rolf, A. C. E.
Robbe Roberts
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • July 27, 1973 (1973-07-27)
Running time
95 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,130,000[1]
Box office $1,250,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

The Last American Hero (also known as Hard Driver) is a DeLuxe Color 1973 in Panavision 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 story, "The Last American Hero", which is included in his 1965 debut collection of essays, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. 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 (Junior Johnson) (by Jeff Bridges), a stock-car 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 his driving skills, hoping to become a professional stock car racer to raise money to get his father released from jail.[3]


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. ^

External links[edit]