Goin' Down the Road: Film Analysis

Essay by paigelet123College, UndergraduateB+, April 2003

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Goin' Down the Road is considered to be one of the greatest English-Canadian films of all time. Released in 1970, it was directed by Don Shebib, and stars Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley, with Jayne Eastwood in a supporting role. It is about the universally understood rite of passage: the two young men searching for bigger and better things.

While the films strengths and weakness are addressed, it must be taken into consideration the values of the decade the film was created. The ability for the viewer to relate to the protagonists struggle creates much of the films appeal; at the same time, it is a story that has been told many times before. The minimal budget given to the director led him to create a cinematographic effect of realism. It is also a distinctly Canadian film yet it sometimes over steps the boundary between cultural awareness and cultural hypocrisy.

Altogether, it is a simple yet poignant film about the coming of age story of two high school dropouts from the Maritimes, Pete (McGrath) and Joey (Bradley).

The film tells the story of Pete and Joey. Two young men, in their early twenties, who are fed up their dead end lives working at a Cannery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After speaking to some friends from Toronto, who offers them accommodation and better jobs, Pete and Joey pack up their lives and head off to the big city with high hopes. Upon arrival in Toronto, they realize that beds and jobs are not going to fall into their laps as they had supposed; their friend has no room for them and they have to sleep at a shelter. Before falling asleep, Pete and Joey see a classified section in the newspaper and are happily amazed at the amount of...