A young musical prodigy studying at New York City's Juiliard School becomes obsessed with the music of the Mississippi delta, the blues. Intent on discovering fame and fortune as a blues guitar player, he seeks out the leg... more »endary bluesman, Willie Brown.« less
Don D. (Donjay) from SAN DIEGO, CA Reviewed on 3/3/2017...
One of my all time favorites.
Has a stunning Jami Gertz playing a run-away.
You have to see this movie to the end to see the great Stevi Vai guitarist who plays the devils guitarist in a showdown against Ralph Macchio character.
I haven't met anyone who dislike this film, a must see!
Micheal D. from BRIDGMAN, MI Reviewed on 3/18/2011...
Cool little movie. NOT FOR KIDS
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chris B. (nanazoom) from OCEAN SPRINGS, MS Reviewed on 3/27/2010...
This movie is Great! The story is a journey. The music is amazing. The interaction and relationships of the characters is magic. The story line is complementary and engaging.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Wonderful, Atmospheric Blues Fantasy!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 09/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"CROSSROADS (Walter Hill's Blues film, NOT Britney Spears' self-indulgent 2002 fluff) is a terrific introduction to a uniquely American musical genre, with a remarkable cast and a dead-on southern 'atmosphere'. It has always astonished me that when released, critics were unable to look past Ralph Macchio's previous film work, and accept this gem on it's own merits, but it's subsequent status as a cult classic is certainly well-deserved, with films such as the Coens' O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? utilizing the Robert Johnson subplot and borrowing many of CROSSROAD's visual elements. Perhaps the film, with a magnificent Ry Cooder score, was just too far ahead of it's time, a strange criticism to apply to a Blues movie!
The tale involves young Long Island guitar prodigy Eugene 'Lightning Boy' Martone (Macchio), a rebel at the Julliard School with his passion for the Blues ("Primitive music," one professor sneers), on a quest to recover legendary guitarist Johnson's fabled "30th Song" of 1938. His research leads him to a NYC nursing home, where fabled harmonica player Willie Brown (the late actor/singer/songwriter Joe Seneca), a friend and collaborator of Johnson's, is confined. Promising to 'give' the song to the youngster if he can be "busted out" and returned to his Mississippi home, the pair are soon on a cross-country odyssey, with Martone learning about discrimination, the darker side of humanity, and love's loss (through a brief encounter with Jami Gertz, who was never lovelier), providing him with the core of sadness Brown says is essential to truly play the Blues.
The climax of the film is legendary; arriving home, Brown, who had 'sold his soul' to the Devil at the 'Crossroads' as a young man (just as his friend, Johnson, had), attempts to get 'Scratch' (skeletal Robert Judd) to tear up the contract. The Devil informs him that he will, only if Martone can defeat his Champion in a 'Guitar Duel'. If the youngster loses, his soul, as well as Brown's, will be lost, forever. Martone rashly agrees ("I don't believe any of this s*** anyway!"), and he and Brown find themselves in a broken-down church converted into a dance hall, with demons and lost souls cavorting to the rock strains of insanely talented Jack Butler (Frank Zappa guitarist/composer Steve Vai). With only his love of the Blues, Julliard training, and Brown's 'ju-ju' to aid him, the humbled Martone must play for far more than his life, in a 'Duel' (with the amazing Vai actually playing both guitar parts) that is so fabulous that it is unbelievable that it was NOT included in the soundtrack album of the film!
Walter Hill was no stranger to music-themed fantasies (he also directed another 'ahead of it's time' cult film, STREETS OF FIRE), and with CROSSROADS, he took a simple storyline, and turned it into an unforgettable musical cinematic experience.
That the film is FINALLY on DVD is a MAJOR cause for celebration...now, let's hope an expanded "Special Edition" with added bonus features, will follow!
Devil at the Crossroads
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Crossroads have long held a special significance in occult lore. They are places where there's no North or South, no East or West. They are stillpoints in the fabric of time where "things happen." Things usually associated with the darkside of the spiritual spectrum. In otherwords, places to encounter the Devil.
Just such a crossroads happens to be the ultimate destination of Eugene Martone (Ralph Macchio) a young and gifted classical guitarist attending the Julliard School of the Arts. Though classically trained, Eugene is obsessed with the music of the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. He is also quite familiar with the superstitious beliefs associated with the engimatic Johnson. Some say he sold his soul to the Devil at some unspecified Mississippi crossroads in return for musical talent. Eugene dismisses such tales as nothing more than urban legend. However one tale he doesn't dismiss is the belief that Robert Johnson had one more song that was never recorded. Eugene is determined to find that lost song.
In hopes of locating it Eugene enlists the help of Willie Brown (Joe Seneca), an old blues musician and probably the last living friend of Robert Johnson. Willie, now confined to a convalescent home in New York, promises to lead Eugene to the missing song if he helps him escape from the home and accompanies him back to Mississippi. Sneaking away at the first opportunity they spend the few dollars they have between them for tickets on a southbound bus. Thus the adventure begins.
As they walk and hitchhike their way across the rural southern landscape, Willie begins to teach Eugene the essentials that must be experienced firsthand by anyone aspiring to be a true bluesman, such as; the hardships of life on the road and the loss of first love (love interest played by Jami Gertz). However the most important lesson turns out to be one Eugene would have never suspected. It's the truth concerning the crossroads. The story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Devil at the crossroads turns out to be fact, not fiction. It also turns out to be true for poor old Willie Brown.
The real reason for Willie's desire to return to Mississippi is to attempt to win back his soul before it's too late. A feat that can only be accomplished with the help of Eugene and his guitar. Now Eugene must defeat the Devil's chosen guitarist Jack Butler (Steve Vai) in a musical challenge, or Willie and Eugene's souls will be lost forever.
This is one of those movies you can watch over and over again. Ralph Macchio gives a strong performance but the real stars are Joe Seneca and Steve Vai. The final competition between Macchio and Vai still gives me goosebumps everytime I watch it!"
Brian E. Erland | 12/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The film "Crossroads" was a major influence on me. Of course we all heard rock music based on blues music but this was my introduction to searching back and finding the roots of music. I also began to play guitar after seeing the film, it is a most inspiring movie. I disagree with the Amazon/Matlin reviews that pan the movie due to Ralph Macchio (who i feel played a fine role) or the plot (its obvious Matlin isnt even aware of the actual Robert Johnson) I anxiously await a DVD release, my VHS is so worn...."
Why is this not on DVD???
Mr. C. Wright | England, UK | 05/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A movie that covers all bases, and covers them well. The Mississippi Delta blues legends are explored against a backdrop of fantastic music and a good "road trip" narrative.The guitar duel sequence in the last ten minutes of the film is the finest moment of all movies ever.It is unbelievable that this classic (a thousand times better than "Karate Kid" and certainly far less dated today) hasn't been released as a DVD packed with special features, documentaries about the Blues and Robert Johnson etc etc. Simply a treat, especially if you play guitar yourself. You'll find yourself telling people that they "got no mileage", or that there are "no goodbyes on the road" for years after you see this."