Convoy (1978)
June 3, 2016 10:26 AM - Subscribe

Truckers form a mile long "convoy" in support of a trucker's vendetta with an abusive sheriff...Based on the country song of same title by C.W. McCall.

Convoy is a 1978 action film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Franklyn Ajaye and Burt Young. The movie is based on the 1975 country and western novelty song "Convoy" by C.W. McCall and Chip Davis. The film was made when the CB Radio/trucking craze was at its peak in the United States, and followed the similarly themed films White Line Fever (1975) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977), and the television series Movin' On (1974). (wikipedia)

• Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds were offered a chance to do this film, but they decided to make Smokey and the Bandit (1977) instead.

• Convoy was filmed almost entirely in the state of New Mexico. Production began in 1977 when the CB Radio/trucking craze was at its peak, made during the same period as such films as Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Handle with Care (1977), Breaker! Breaker! (1977) and High-Ballin' (1978), as well as the television series Movin' On (1974–1976) and B. J. and the Bear (1979–1981).

• During this period of Sam Peckinpah's life, it was reported he suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction. His four previous films, Cross of Iron (1977), The Killer Elite (1975), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), had struggled at the box office and the director needed a genuine blockbuster success.

• Unhappy with the screenplay written by B.W.L. Norton, Peckinpah tried to encourage the actors to re-write, improvise and ad-lib their dialogue, with little success.

• In another departure from the script, Peckinpah attempted to add a new dimension to the film by casting a pair of black actors as members of the convoy including Madge Sinclair as Widow Woman and Franklyn Ajaye as Spider Mike.

• The director's health became a continuing problem, so friend and actor James Coburn was brought in to serve as second unit director. Coburn directed much of the film's footage while Peckinpah remained in his on-location trailer.

• Sam Peckinpah was taking heavy amounts of cocaine, Quaaludes and vitamin shots that left him both irritable and irrational. At one point, Peckinpah called his nephew David from the set, ranting that Steve McQueen and the Executive Car Leasing Company were conspiring to kill him.

• Peckinpah's original cut of Convoy was around three and a half hours long. Since he wasn't involved in post production, movie was edited by studio staff and editor Garth Craven down to 1 hour and 50 minutes long running time.

• The picture finished 11 days behind schedule at a cost of $12 million, more than double its original budget. Surprisingly, Convoy was the highest grossing picture of Peckinpah's career, notching $45 million at the box office. But his reputation was seriously damaged by rumors of increasingly destructive alcohol and cocaine abuse. Peckinpah would make just one more film, The Osterman Weekend in 1983, before his death the following year.

• A majority of the Jesus freaks on the micro bus are played by members of Kris Kristofferson's touring band from the 1970's.

• The famous scene where the tanker truck goes off a bridge and explodes was filmed in Needles, California, on a one-way bridge over the Colorado River between Arizona and Needles. The Needles City Fire Department provided fire protection during this scene. The bridge was soon thereafter removed as a new span connected the two sides of the river.

• Peckinpah has a cameo as a sound gaffer during an interview scene.

• This film was a hit in the Soviet Union at the time, as the film showed a working-class rebellion against a corrupt government.

• Rubber Duck's truck is generally represented in the film as a 1977 Mack RS712LST although several other Mack RS700L series trucks were used as a double and as stationary props. The original 1977 Mack truck, its on-road movie double and the only original remaining tank trailer are in St. Louis, Missouri on display at the Museum of Transportation.

• The duck on the hood of Rubber Duck's (Kris Kristofferson) Mack truck was later used in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof (2007) as the hood ornament on Stuntman Mike's (Kurt Russell) hotrod. It was created by John Billings, for which he received a thanks credit from Tarantino.

Trailer

This movie is a selection of the Shut Up And Drive! club.
posted by valkane (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shut Up And Drive! will be screening this film tonight (Friday, June 3) at 9:00 pm ET. Click Here To Watch.
posted by valkane at 10:27 AM on June 3, 2016


%n: "In another departure from the script, Peckinpah attempted to add a new dimension to the film by casting a pair of black actors as members of the convoy including Madge Sinclair as Widow Woman and Franklyn Ajaye as Spider Mike."

It's hard to imagine this movie without the racist subplot. Makes it a lot deeper than a plain car chase right from the opening scene where the cop is shaking the guys down.

And it resulted in one of favourite quotes:"This piece of white shit! I knew I should've bought myself a black truck!

And if you are wanting your very own duck the ornaments are available from the original manufacturer cast off the original mold. Be aware they are quite large; 8" long and 5" high.
posted by Mitheral at 2:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was 11 when this first came out, and I don't remember the movie at all. But I had a 45 of the song and I played it over and over and over again. I absolutely loved it.

11 year old me had some really shitty taste in music.
posted by Frayed Knot at 3:58 PM on June 3, 2016




I remember the song from when I was a kid (and the sudden rise in trucks and CB iconography on school notebook designs), but never saw the movie.

The music half of "C. W. McCall" went on to create Mannheim Steamroller. Just for some trivia.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:32 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just because it never comes up in polite company, you should hear the best CW McCall song
posted by rhizome at 1:12 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Note that as the sheriff begins to massively exceed his usual powers they give him a tank and a machinegun, making it a predictor of present day law enforcement.
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was 11 when this first came out, and I don't remember the movie at all. But I had a 45 of the song and I played it over and over and over again. I absolutely loved it.

11 year old me had some really shitty taste in music.


This is by no means the best Peckinpah movie, but it's absolutely my favorite, and has been since I was 11.
posted by Artw at 6:17 PM on June 4, 2016


When they were filming in Albuquerque, my uncle ended up pissing at a urinal next to Kristofferson somewhere. He said he was a lot shorter than he expected him to be. This is a totally boring story but it's like the #1 thing I remember about the movie Convoy.

Also, because this is my personal rule for whenever Kristofferson comes up in the conversation, I want to mention that he was a Rhodes Scholar.

That damn song. People went nuts about that song. It was a cultural phenomenon. I guess it was in the middle of the CB radio craze, too, though that's not why I think the song was so huge. It was just that it told a story very well, and it was an earworm.

I didn't realize this was Sam Peckinpah -- that comes as a surprise. It's really interesting that in the end James Coburn, of all people, effectively directed most of the film.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:17 PM on June 4, 2016


For some reason this reminded me that Americathon existed and now I don't feel well.

He said he was a lot shorter than he expected him to be.

So many actors are. I have a theory it has to do with they have like proportionally more face area which draws the viewers' eyes towards the face more, and lets their expressions register more etc.
posted by nom de poop at 7:25 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the song that has my birthday in it.

"Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June. In a Kenworth pullin' logs"
posted by Sphinx at 6:30 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


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