The Last Picture Show

  • Saturday August 14, 2021 2:00 PM


Hold onto your cowboy hats! This coming-of-age drama about 1950s Texas town life is one of the most important films in American cinematic history. In 1998, the Library of Congress selected this film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry because of its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. This bellringer from the American film renaissance of the seventies, directed by Peter Bogdonavich, includes an ensemble cast of Jeff Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Cybil Shepard, Ellen Burstyn, and Ben Johnson. Featuring evocative black-and-white imagery and extraordinary performances, this is film has earned its place in the crown of cinematic America.  

Based on the semi-autobiographical 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry, The Last Picture Show was theatrically released on October 22, 1971, by Columbia Pictures. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing $29 million on a $1.3 million budget, and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Johnson and Bridges, and Best Supporting Actress for Burstyn and Leachman, with Johnson and Leachman winning. 


Join us this August as we pay tribute to the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, Texas’s most famous literary and cinematic son, who passed away in March 2020. Through his books, screenplays, and the films adapted from his books, some feel that McMurtry, more than anyone else, shaped the way that the world sees Texas. 

Guest host and McMurtry devotee Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will kick off our exploration of McMurtry’s cinematic works, including Hud, The Last Picture ShowTexasville, and Lonesome Dove. Film scholar and SXSW co-founder Louis Black will join remotely. 

McMurtry grew up on a ranch in North Texas with only an oral tradition of storytelling, never seeing a book until he was six years old. His stories jumped through many media—print, film, television—and in each he excelled, garnering 13 Oscars, 7 Emmys, and a Pulitzer in 1985 for his novel Lonesome Dove. 

It has been said that what the South was to William Faulkner, Texas was to Larry McMurtry. His passion for the land and people made it impossible for him to fully inhabit the self-proclaimed role of "western revisionist." Even when he depicts Texas at its worst, he only makes you love it, and him, more.


Screenings will be held in the Modern’s auditorium. Tickets are $10, $8 for Modern members, $7 for Modern Reel People members.  

A Tribute to Larry McMurtry Schedule:

Lonesome Dove
July 31, Part I noon & Part II 2 pm
August 1, Part III & IV 4:30 pm

August 7, 2 pm

The Last Picture Show/50th Anniversary 
August 14, 2 pm

August 15, 4:30 pm