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Great Scenes – CONVOY

Sam Peckinpah’s unjustly maligned 1978 trucker opus Convoy is filled with many memorable scenes, but the pinnacle has to be the climactic confrontation between corrupt Sheriff “Dirty Lyle” (Ernest Borgnine) and his reluctant adversary Martin “Rubber Duck” Penwald (Kris Kristofferson). The troubled film (based on a target=”_blank”>novelty song by C.W. McCall) suffers greatly from some post-production hijinks which sought to render it a bit more comedic and light-hearted than Peckinpah’s usual fare, no doubt in efforts to compare to the then-recent hillbilly hit Smokey and the Bandit. Imagine the horror unwitting audiences must have felt when the finale arrived and instead of more benign yuks and then-fashionable car crashes, Dirty Lyle (in a scene echoing Peckinpah’s masterpiece The Wild Bunch), BLOWS THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF DUCK’S RIG WITH AN M60 MACHINE GUN, sending it plunging in flames over the side of a bridge into the river below. Not only a stunning spectacle but also a mean-spirited low blow, this scene stands in stark relief with the rest of the film’s seeming tomfoolery. So strong, so powerful, you are compelled to entirely re-evaluate what has come before it. Enjoy!

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