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''The Last Picture Show'' is a 1971 American drama film directed by Creator/PeterBogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry [=McMurtry=].

The story is set in Anarene, a tiny town on the north Texas plains, between November 1951 and October 1952. Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) is a high school senior, and leads a typical life for a teenage boy in his town: he plays on the school football team, goes to movies at the town's only theater, plays pool at the pool hall run by the beloved Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson), and pursues relationships with girls.

His best friend is Duane Jackson (Creator/JeffBridges), the charismatic captain of the football team. Duane is dating Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd in her film debut), the school's homecoming queen, whose mother Lois (Ellen Burstyn) is fiercely protective of her as she grooms her for adulthood.

But as Anarene's young people get ready to become adults, the town's adults are leading lives of desperation, with unhappy marriages and numerous extramarital affairs. Sonny gets drawn into this when he falls in love with Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman), the shy wife of the school's athletic coach. Meanwhile, Jacy's and Duane's relationship gets strained and Jacy and Sonny start seeing each other, which naturally puts a wedge between Sonny and Duane. But as life goes on the relationships between various people in town resolve themselves in unexpected ways.

With a stellar cast that also included Eileen Brennan, Clu Gulager, Randy Quaid (in his film debut), and John Hillerman, [[DeliberatelyMonochrome it was shot in black and white for aesthetic and technical reasons]], which was unusual for its time.

The film was nominated for eight UsefulNotes/{{Academy Award}}s, including Best Picture, Best Director, and four nominations for acting: Ben Johnson and Jeff Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, and Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress. It won two: Johnson and Leachman.

Bogdanovich and most of the cast reunited for the sequel ''Film/{{Texasville}}'' in 1990.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: Sonny often shows his affection towards Billy by taking his cap off and putting it back on.
* BittersweetEnding: Pretty close to a DownerEnding. Sonny loses Jacey, who honestly was really not that interested in the first place and used him as a tool to piss off her parents. Duane leaves for the army. The DyingTown gets that much closer to dead as the movie theater closes. And poor Billy is struck and killed in the street by a truck. The only thing that leavens the ending somewhat is the reconciliation between Sonny and Ruth at the end, with her taking his hand and saying "Never you mind."
* BookEnds: The film closes with a reverse of the pan shot seen in the opening.
* CelebrityParadox: A poster for the film ''Film/WagonMaster'', which starred Ben Johnson, is seen at the theatre.
* ComingOfAgeStory: Sonny leaving childish things behind, as he and the other kids graduate from high school and have to start the adult world.
* CoolOldGuy: Sam the Lion, who acts a mentor to the boys and doesn't talk down to them.
* CurbStompBattle: The football game played the night before the film starts was a hugely humiliating loss for the Anarene team. 121-14!
* DeadpanSnarker: Sam the Lion, and Genevieve the waitress.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: Upon selecting the town of Archer City, Texas, as a filming location, production designer Polly Platt and Bogdanovich decided that the town should have a bleak, colorless look about it. After considering several options, such as painting all the buildings gray, Platt and Bogdanovich consulted close friend Creator/OrsonWelles about the viability of shooting the film in black and white. Welles simply said, "Of COURSE you'll shoot it in black and white!"
* DyingTown: Anarene, Texas; changed from Thalia, Texas in the novel.
* FilleFatale: Jacy, "the only pretty girl in town" according to Genevieve, is no stranger to using her looks to manipulate the males in her life.
* FourthDateMarriage: Almost the case with Jacy and Sonny. Seemed to be the right thing to do in TheFifties.
* GlassEye: Sonny ends up with one after Duane hits him with a beer bottle in a fight
* HangoverSensitivity: Duane comes back in rough shape after he and Sonny went on a spree in Mexico.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Averted. Jimmie Sue, the town hooker, is probably the single most loathsome character in the film, for her downright rude treatment of Billy.
* ItAlwaysRainsAtFunerals: It takes place on the dusty Texas plains, so this gets averted.
* TheLastTitle: The title.
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: Happens to Duane when he first tries to deflower Jacy.
* LoveDodecahedron: There's the core triangle of Duane/Jacy/Sonny, then things branch far and wide from there.
* MakingLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces: On a snooker table.
* MrsRobinson: Sonny starts a relationship with Ruth Popper, the middle-aged wife of the high school coach. It's also implied that Jacy's mother Lois might be attracted to him.
* NewOldWest: Though the film doesn't deal with a lot of the classic themes and plot elements of TheWestern, it was clearly influenced by the films of Creator/HowardHawks and Creator/JohnFord. Having familiar Western character actors in the cast like Ben Johnson (Sam) and Clu Gulager (Abilene) also adds to this feel.
* NothingButHits: This was a TropeMaker for using hit songs as a way to establish a period feel in a film, but there's an admirably eclectic choice of pop and CountryMusic hits from the early 1950s, ranging from ballads to uptempo numbers to novelty songs.
* RealityHasNoSoundtrack: The film has no score, but lots of songs from TheFifties played on radios and record players, with Music/HankWilliams as the dominant artist.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Ruth gives one of these to Sonny at the end.
* ReCut: Columbia Pictures mandated that the film had to be under two hours in its original release (it ended up as 118 minutes). In TheNineties Peter Bogdanovich did a director's cut with eight additional minutes, which is the version that currently circulates
* RunningGag: The townsfolk ribbing the guys for their inability to tackle during football games.
* {{Sequel}}: ''Film/{{Texasville}}'', [=McMurtry=]'s sequel to the original novel, was itself adapted for the screen by Bogdanovich in 1990. Bridges, Shepherd, Leachman, Bottoms, Quaid, and Brennan all reprised their roles.
* SexIsLiberation: Heavily {{deconstructed}}. Almost all the film's sexual pairings end up complicating things for the people involved, though Ruth, who's very shy and uptight before her affair with Sonny, is close to a straight example.
* ShoutOut:
** The two main characters watch ''Film/RedRiver'' during the titular "last picture show" at the town's soon-to-be-closing cinema.
** Another film advertised earlier on the cinema marquee is ''Film/Winchester73'', starring Creator/JamesStewart, who, as noted on the Trivia page, was Bogdanovich's first choice to play Sam the Lion.
** Opening the film with a silent white-on-black title card was a nod to ''Film/CitizenKane'', as was the frequent use of deep focus shots.
* SignatureMove: For Sam the Lion, rolling cigarettes.
* SmallTownBoredom: Anarene has around 1,000 people, and the only real economy in town is the dying oil industry. The teens and the adults live restless lives. As summed up by Creator/RogerEbert, it's a story "about a town with no reason to exist, and people with no reason to live there. The only hope is in transgression."
* SoundtrackDissonance: The intense final scene with Sonny and Ruth has the goofy comedy record [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poCWRJTgMQU "It's in the Book"]] playing in the background.
* VideoCredits: All main characters are shown with face and name in the closing credits.
* VirginShaming: Jacy and Billy are both recipients of this.
* TheVoiceless: Billy never says a word throughout the film.