Goin' Down the Road

Gerald Pratley Tribute Screening

Part of Canada Film Days. “Hailed as a landmark film upon its release, Don Shebib’s first feature film is widely recognized as marking the beginning of the film industry in English Canada. An unflinchingly realist and unsentimental portrait of two Maritimers trying and failing to make it in the big city, it won three Canadian Film Awards — Best Original Screenplay, Best Feature Film and Best Lead Actor (shared by Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley) — and is consistently regarded as one of the best Canadian films of all time.

“Goin' Down the Road follows the amusing yet poignant exploits of Pete and Joey, two unemployed Maritimers on their way to Toronto to seek their fortune. When the prestigious jobs they expected do not materialize, they are forced to work in menial, low-paying jobs. Joey gets a waitress pregnant, marries her and moves into an apartment with furniture bought on credit. When their seasonal jobs disappear, they are forced to move in together. Desperate, they decide to rob a store at Christmas. After botching this job too, they decide in desperation to head west.

“Critically acclaimed in both Canada and the US, the film drew comparisons to Easy Rider and Midnight Cowboy, and was praised for its authentic sense of documentary realism. Canadian critics everywhere welcomed it as the first great Canadian movie. Calling it “the best movie to hit town in a long time,” Roger Ebert wrote that “the film's special accomplishment is its treatment of the characters and the city itself with an absolutely unsentimental level-headedness.” - The Canadian Encyclopedia

Gerald Pratley was the CBC's first film reviewer and also was the founder of the Ontario Film Institute (which is now the TIFF Cinematheque.) He was “an indefatigable champion of Canadian films and filmmakers, a voice for a nascent industry before it found its own voice.” Goin’ Down the Road​ will be the first of many yearly tributes we will make to honour the memory of a great friend of Canadian film --and the Princess-- Gerald Pratley.


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