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Convoy

Year: 1978
Production Co: EMI Films
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Writer: BWL Norton
Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Ali McGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young

You wouldn't think there was any crossroads where the western and hip hop meet, but as Convoy teaches us all if we care to learn, that of being a trucker is it.

Along with the hordes of professional cartage haulers who fall in with him, the Rubber Duck (Kristofferson) lives like a cowboy, crisscrossing the country with only his rig (a stand in for the horse) and his sometime posse on the road for company. Money, women, family – they're all a poor second to the freedom of the open road.

And as they speak across their purpose built and very insular communication system (the CB, the modern equivalent of the telegraph), they use a language all their own, their calls of 'breaker', 'good buddy' and 'come on back' the trucking equivalent of 'where my dogs at' and 'poppin caps in motherfuckers' of South Central LA.

I realised this watching this film because while this isn't the only movie to deal with truckers – the Smokey and the Bandit movies were more successful and more accessible – it's the only real trucking movie, trying to capture the spirit of the popular song on which it's based.

When corrupt Sherrif Lyle (Borgnine) extorts money from The Duck and his three friends, then tries to bail them up in a truck stop for even more, they fight back, resulting in a very Hal Needham-esque bar fight, taking to the road to reach the border where Lyle can't touch them.

The Duck's plight becomes legend and truckers from all over fall in on his tail in solidarity, forming the titular road party. It actually gets so big it attracts the attention of the government, and there's a small aside of the governor trying to use The Duck's mission to his political advantage.

Ali MacGraw tags along for the ride, but she's just eye candy. Like in Point Break or Fast and the Furious there are women there, but this is the boys' story all the way.

Towards the end of his career, Peckinpah was apparently too drunk or stoned to complete half the shoot, delegating it to underlings and crew.

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