Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop stars James Taylor, just then beginning his musical career, and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys as hot-rod enthusiasts drifting east in a '50s Chevy, making a living by drag-racing. Along the way, they encounter a hitchhiking teenager (Laurie Bird) and Warren Oates, the owner of a new GTO who challenges the pair to a cross-country drag race, the winner of which will take possession of the loser's car.
The still photo from the movie (photo) shows what locals call the Old I-55 Bridge linking West Memphis and Memphis.
The film was made for $850,000, and was shot in sequence. Hellman took his crew caravan-style on a real cross-country trip—from Los Angeles to Needles, California, to Flagstaff, Arizona, to Santa Fe and Tucumcari, New Mexico, then to Boswell, Oklahoma, Little Rock, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, and Maryville, North Carolina.
Scenes were shot on several Arkansas highways and on a ride across the Arkansas River on Toad Suck Ferry in Faulkner County just days before ferry rides were suspended because of the opening of the new Toad Suck Bridge.
Toad Suck Park
Ark. 60 West
Old Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
I-55 from West Memphis to Memphis
This is the only time James Taylor ever acted in a movie. Singer Kris Kristofferson was the first choice for the role of “The Driver.” Actor Bruce Dern was offered the role but he declined. The role eventually went to singer/songwriter Taylor.