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Rated PG · 147 minutes
Hal Ashby's 1976 biography of Woody Guthrie begins well, with some wonderfully aimless footage of life in the Dust Bowl, and builds detail as Guthrie migrates west to the promised land of California, only to find the conditions there no better than those he's left. But the last hour, with Guthrie making it as a radio star, flounders on bombast and cliche. Ashby is excellent on atmosphere but fair to middling on character. When the film makes a sudden transition from epic to melodrama, things fall apart. One half of a very good movie.

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