Paris, Texas (1984)

paris texas poster 1984 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking, great acting, attainable arthouse movie


Movie Info

Movie Name:   Paris, Texas

Studio:   Road Pictures

Genre(s):   Drama

Release Date(s):   May 19, 1984 (Cannes Film Festival)/November 2, 1984 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

paris texas travis walt harry dean stanton dean stockwell

Hey, Travis…want your kid back?

Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) has been missing for years. When he suddenly shows up in Texas, his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell), Walt’s wife Anne (Aurore Clément), and Hunter (Hunter Carson) take him in Los Angeles. Travis finds himself trying to forge a bond with Hunter who has been raised by Walt and Anne after Travis’s disappearance, and Hunter doesn’t remember him or the life he lived before. When Travis decides to track down his missing wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski), he and Travis hit the road to try to restore what was broken.

Directed by Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas is a drama written by L.M. Kit Carson and Sam Shepard. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palme d’Or and became a critic favorite. The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #501).

paris texas travis truck harry dean stanton hunter carson

Let’s go on an adventure!

Paris, Texas is one of those legendary arthouse films. The movie is almost a cliché in “have you seen” when a person’s artistical integrity is tested. That being said, I didn’t watch Paris, Texas…I saw lots of other arthouse classics, but Paris, Texas always seemed to slip by the wayside. It is everything that everyone said about it.

The movie is arthouse, but it is one of those attainable arthouse movies. The plot is rather slim (at least on the surface), but the film is loaded with real emotion and struggles. The characters are almost bluntly obvious and speak their emotion except when it comes to Travis and Jane’s past. The revelation of what came between them shows the breakup of a seemly perfect life because of too much love. It manages to be both tragic but inspiring by Travis’s actions to right his wrongs.

paris texas hunter carson hotel review

Everyone abandons me…everywhere

Harry Dean Stanton always was a great supporting character, but in this film, he takes the leads (and holds it). His character is great…broken and trying to repair himself. Despite reconnecting with his son, he realizes that the bond between his son and Jane is more important and sacrifices the bond again for the better of them. Hunter Carson gives a great performance as Hunter. Carson is the son of Karen Black and the screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson doesn’t manage to overplay his role while still feeling like a kid (faced with big problems). I feel sorry for both Dean Stockwell and Aurora Clement who essentially lose their son and really have no say in the matter. Stockwell is matter-of-fact (like he knew Travis would return someday while Aurora is now the broken character. The scenes between Nastassja Kinski and Stanton at the peep show are worth watching alone since both characters are separated but together.

paris texas jane sex line travis story nastassja kinski harry dean stanton

Let me tell you a story…about a man named Jed. He was a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed

The movie also is shot in a traditional style that captures the vastness of story. The movie is considered “road picture” in many ways though not much time is spent on the road, but the spiritual nature of a road picture is true (the characters are on a journey). The movie really captures this in its visuals.

Paris, Texas is a great film and it deserves the acclaim it receives. The movie is considered influential by many musicians including Kurt Cobain, U2, and Travis (which took its name from the main character) and directors like David Robet Mitchell and Wes Anderson. Paris, Texas is a great, timeless trip and a journey worth taking.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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