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Goin' Down the Road

Don ShebibCanada90 minutes197014AB&WEnglish

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Don Shebib's classic of hoser cinema focuses on a pair of pals who find hardship and heartbreak when they take leave of the Maritimes for the bright lights and mean streets of Toronto.


Don Shebib's chronicle of two itinerant Maritimers trying to eke out a hardscrabble existence on the harsh streets of Toronto is regarded by many as the quintessential film of English Canadian cinema. Looking to get out of their dead-end East Coast existence, buddies Pete (Doug McGrath) and Joey (Paul Bradley) make tracks for Toronto, where their big-city dreams run up against the grim realities of scarce employment, unpaid bills and overdue rent. As desperation sets in, the boys turn their eyes to the road once more, and to the hope of a better life at the end of it. "Goin' Down the Road was a significant and totally unexpected achievement [in its] independence, its fresh interplay of staged scenes and improvisation, its melancholy inflected by an absurd optimism ... And with one small but crucial decision — Shebib's changing of the title from the prosaic The Maritimers to the lyrical yet cautionary Goin' Down the Road — the film suggested for the first time that there actually was a road to go down in Canada" (Laurence Kardish).

CanadaRoad MovieUrban LifeCanada on Screen