On the Road

On the Road

Walter Salles (2011)

15 Certificate


Our Score
It was always going to be difficult to bring Jack Kerouac's iconic novel of the Beat Generation to the screen, because of its narrative scope and wider pop-culture meaning. Those inherent problems are not solved by this designer-slick adaptation by Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Salles. It's beautifully shot, handsomely mounted and well cast: Garrett Hedlund smoulders as selfish Dean Moriarty; Kristen Stewart hits every right note as uncomplicated Marylou. But the polished attempt to cram in every Benzedrine-drenched detail of Kerouac's spontaneous cross-country adventures, highlighting loyalty and betrayal circa 1950, makes for shallow semi-autobiography. The no-plans, no-responsibility attitude of Moriarty and Sam Riley's Sal Paradise is reflected in the movie's picking up and dropping off of various passengers, including Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen, along the way. And there's a classy soundtrack that snapshots the music of the era. But Salles rarely hits the necessary freewheeling atmosphere to make this strangely flat road trip an absolute must-see, either for fans of the book or those curious over a past mythological lifestyle.


A writer recovering from his father's death has his life changed for ever by his encounter with a free-spirited young couple, joining them on a journey of self-discovery across America. Drama based on Jack Kerouac's semi-autobiographical novel, with Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen.

Cast & Crew

Dean Moriarty Garrett Hedlund
Sal Paradise Sam Riley
Marylou Kristen Stewart
Jane Amy Adams
Old Bull Lee Viggo Mortensen
Camille Kirsten Dunst
Carlo Marx Tom Sturridge
Ed Dunkel Danny Morgan
Terry Alice Braga
Ma Paradise Marie-Ginette Gyay
Galatéa Dunkel Elisabeth Moss
Tall, thin salesman Steve Buscemi
Walter Terrence Howard
Director Walter Salles
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Other Information

Language: English, French +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Lionsgate UKGuidance: Swearing, sexual references, drug abuse, nudity.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 12 Oct 2012