The Sugarland Express

The Sugarland Express Information

The Sugarland Express is a 1974 American neo-noir drama film co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg in his feature film directorial debut. It stars Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, William Atherton, and Michael Sacks.

It is about a husband and wife trying to outrun the law and was based on a true story. The event partially took place, the story is partially set, and the movie was partially filmed in Sugar Land, Texas. Other scenes for the film were filmed in San Antonio, Lone Oak Community, Floresville, Pleasanton, Converse and Del Rio, Texas.


In May 1969, Lou Jean Poplin assists her husband Clovis Michael Poplin to escape from the Beauford H. Jester Prison Farm in Texas because she fears their son will be placed in the care of foster parents.

During their getaway, they overpower and kidnap Texas Department of Public Safety Patrolman Maxwell Slide, holding him hostage in a slow-moving caravan, along with reporters in news vans and helicopters. The Poplins and their captive travel through Beaumont, Dayton, Houston, Cleveland, Conroe and finally Wheelock, Texas.

The Poplins bring Slide to the home of the foster parents, where they encounter numerous officers. An FBI agent and county sheriff shoot and kill Clovis and arrest Lou Jean. Patrolman Slide is found unharmed. Lou Jean spends fifteen months of a five-year prison term in a women's correctional facility.


Film characters Lou Jean Poplin and Clovis Michael Poplin are based on the lives of Ila Fae Holiday and Robert Dent, respectively. The character Patrolman Slide is based on Trooper J. Kenneth Crone.

Steven Spielberg persuaded co-producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown to let him make his big-screen directorial debut with this true story. A year later, Spielberg's next project for Zanuck and Brown was 1975's blockbuster hit Jaws.


  • Goldie Hawn as Lou Jean Poplin
  • Ben Johnson as Captain Harlin Tanner
  • Michael Sacks as Patrolman Maxwell Slide
  • William Atherton as Clovis Michael Poplin
  • Gregory Walcott as Patrolman Ernie Mashburn
  • Steve Kanaly as Patrolman Jessup
  • Louise Latham as Mrs. Looby
The actual kidnapped patrolman, J. Kenneth Crone, played a small role in the film as a deputy sheriff.


The Sugarland Express holds a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 7.2 out of 10 from 25 reviews.


The film won the award for Best Screenplay at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Sugarland_Express" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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