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2,288 Ratings

On the Road

Directed by Walter Salles
United States, France, 2012
Drama, Adventure


After his father dies, aspiring writer Sal Paradise meets Dean Moriarty, a charming ex-con married to the liberated and seductive Marylou. Sal and Dean bond instantly, and the three take to the road. Travelling across the country, they encounter a mix of people who impact their journey indelibly.

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On the Road Directed by Walter Salles

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2012 | Official Competition

National Board of Review

2012 | Winner: Top Ten Independent Films



…Walter Salles’ 2012 film version of On the Roaddeserves more recognition and serious analysis than it received from reviewers: not only for its sense of period and its landscapes, but above all as a polemical feminist rewrite of the Kerouac novel—partly prompted, I suspect, by Joyce Johnson’s memoirMinor Characters, not to mention an understandable hesitation about delivering the novel’s misogyny intact without any demurrals or caveats.
September 19, 2013
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Salles’s On the Road does build to a certain rueful poignancy. The film ends with a last, guilty meeting, Paradise’s fortunes beginning to rise as Moriarty’s fall; he’s a burned-out firework, precisely because he has put into practice the irresponsible, footloose philosophy that Paradise is making an artistic commodity. Here is one glimmer of truth in what’s otherwise a deliberately unfinished fraud—another “primitive” postwar antique repurposed for boutique sale.
December 19, 2012
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Viggo Mortensen makes things jump with his sepulchral growl as Old Bull Lee (William S. Burroughs), and Elisabeth Moss and Amy Adams pump juice into sidelined wives. But Mr. Salles, an intelligent director whose films include “The Motorcycle Diaries,” doesn’t invest “On the Road” with the wildness it needs for its visual style, narrative approach and leads.
May 23, 2012
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