Home > Drama >

The Straight Story

The Straight Story (1999)

October. 15,1999
| Drama

A retired farmer and widower in his 70s, Alvin Straight learns one day that his distant brother Lyle has suffered a stroke and may not recover. Alvin is determined to make things right with Lyle while he still can, but his brother lives in Wisconsin, while Alvin is stuck in Iowa with no car and no driver's license. Then he hits on the idea of making the trip on his old lawnmower, thus beginning a picturesque and at times deeply spiritual odyssey.


Watch Trailer


Similar titles



A Masterpiece!


I really wanted to like this movie. I feel terribly cynical trashing it, and that's why I'm giving it a middling 5. Actually, I'm giving it a 5 because there were some superb performances.

Lucia Ayala

It's simply great fun, a winsome film and an occasionally over-the-top luxury fantasy that never flags.

Mathilde the Guild

Although I seem to have had higher expectations than I thought, the movie is super entertaining.


Wow, I remember reading about this guy when Alvin Straight was undergoing his lawn mower odyssey but I didn't know a movie was made about it. I don't think the film put the date in context, it occurred in 1994 and the picture came out five years later. The thing that surprised me was when the story revealed that Straight was seventy three years old. Richard Farnsworth was made up to look about ninety even though he was within a year of Straight's actual age when he made the picture. The only thing that might have looked older was that first tractor he started out with, looking like a relic from his World War II days at least.What I liked about the character was the way he applied his homespun wisdom to onlookers and fellow travelers, like the five month pregnant girl who took his advice to return to her family with that 'sticks in a bundle' story. Or how about his response to one of the men at the cyclers' camp - "Well, the worst part about bein' old is rememberin' when you were young". Actually, I don't think the man might have meant that, even with his failing eyesight and two cane support. After a life of trial and tribulation, Mr. Alvin appeared to be a man who had his head on straight, and I say that with no pun intended. What was perfect I thought was the very ending when he was finally able to come to terms with his brother. Both men appeared to reconcile their past differences without virtually saying a word, realizing that any arguments between them were rendered meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I was intrigued enough about this story to look up up the real Alvin Straight and as I'm now accustomed to, there were a few changes in his story that was brought to the big screen. The chronology of events depicted in the picture differ somewhat from the way they occurred, and try as I might, I can't figure out why the name of Alvin's brother was changed from Henry to Lyle in the story. And lest anyone is wondering, Alvin made it safely back to Laurens, Iowa from Blue River, Wisconsin by virtue of a nephew who picked him up and drove him home. You really can't fault the man for making the lawn mower trip a one way affair.

Tyson Hunsaker

David Lynch's "The Straight Story" is undeniably his most compassionate and thoughtful film to date and remains emotionally effective to this day. Additionally, more themes and messages can be drawn with each viewing. The story covers an older Mr. Straight as he makes his way to another state on a lawn mower to see his brother. Performances are authentic and genuine all across the board with some touching moments that feel so emotionally raw for a "G" rated film. While it may be a David Lynch film and his stamp is certainly on it, the story feels straightforward and far from abstract as you might expect. However, that doesn't take away the deeply thought-provoking nature of the film.The story seems to explore old age and one old man's place in a world he has trouble seeing himself again. One who can't do the things he can anymore but wishes maybe certain things were different. We see a man coming to terms with who he is and what choices he's made in his life and while it feels soul searching, it never becomes pretentious or preachy. Lynch and the screenwriters manage to balance realism and emotional interpretation of the character's circumstances. Story and performances aside, "The Straight Story" is technically brilliant and beautifully constructed. Breathtaking landscape shots feel painted with the most saturated of colors while every close-ups capture character's emotion and response in a natural way.This is definitely a slower paced film which might turn the younger audience off. There are times when the pace can drag and become a little inpatient but once someone finishes the film, they'll want to see it again. This is not only a highly recommended (and forgotten) David Lynch film but just a wonderful movie in general.

Edward Painter

The beauty of 'The Straight Story' is that of the calm, quiet and slow paced nature of it. The film follows the story of Alvin Straight as he journeys across from Iowa to Wisconsin on a John Deere lawnmower. It begins with Alvin and his daughter Rose discovering that Alvin's brother, Lyle, had a stroke. Alvin then begins a six week journey in which he encounters various people all while traveling at four miles per hour on a lawnmower. We, the audience, get to sit back and relax to one of the heartwarming tales to be shown on film. Directed by David Lynch, this movie came a bit unawares. It did receive positive reviews but is very rarely talked about nowadays. I believe this is one of the most underrated films I have every seen. The film is about as slow paced as the speed of Straight's lawnmower yet it is a beautiful journey as you see the people he meets including a runaway hitchhiker, a woman who claims to kill multiple dear a week and an old man who recalls some tales from the war. Every time a new person is introduced, we learn more and more about Alvin's life before we get a beautifully heartwarming ending that ties everything together. Absolutely incredible performances by every actor notably Sissy Spacek who gives a wonderful supporting performance. I cannot understand why this movie did not get more attention than it did. If you want a beautiful story with an incredible underlying message, look no further. Bear in mind, it is very slow-paced but it never drags and always stays on to of its game. A masterpiece. Thank you Mr. Lynch.


There have been countless road trip movies made over the years, some were great, a lot were not so great. This 1999 road trip movie is based on a true story... the story of an old man's determination to visit his sick brother. The problem is he cannot drive a car, so, he elects to take the trip driving a John Deer ride on mower. Given that premise. it could be mistaken for a comedy scenario, but it is definitely not. It is a warm and touching story that hold your interest for the entire journey. The great Richard Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight and his character portrayal is excellent. The people he encounters along the way and the awesome scenery make this movie work. The acting is natural and believable. Notable cast members include Sissy Spacek as Rose Straight (Alvin's daughter) and Harry Dean Stanton as Lyle (Alvin's brother). Although their roles are small, they shine as their characters. I have watched this movie several times.... it just works for me. There is nothing to dislike and there are a lot of life lessons to be learned from watching it. Sadly. this was to be Richard Farnsworth's final movie.. he couldn't have finished on a finer note.