Hank Williams Movie “The Last Ride” Readies 2011 Release

January 28, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  60 Comments

A feature film named “The Last Ride” about the final days of Hank Williams has been completed and should be released later this year. The movie stars Henry Thomas, the main kid from ET that’s yells “Penis Breath!’ and was shot mostly in Benton, Arkansas with other parts shot at a gas station in Sherwood, AR. It is directed by Harry Thomason, an Arkansas native. In February, 2010, downtown Benton was transformed into a scene from 1952, with vintage car owners donating their rides and the marquee for Benton’s Royal Theatre displaying the feature as “Monkey Business” starring Cary Grant & Ginger Rogers.

The film only deals with the last 72 hours of Hank’s life, most of which was spent in a 1951 powder blue Cadillac convertible.

On January 1st 1953, Williams was scheduled to perform in Canton, OH. Because of bad weather, he couldn’t fly as planned, and hired a college student Charles Carr to drive him. Hank suffered from chronic back problems, and had injected himself with morphine during the trip from Knoxville, TN and also was drinking alcohol. Hank Williams died of heart failure sometime that night with varying accounts of exactly where and when, though a gas station in Oak Hill, WV is given credit as Hank’s final destination. Hank was 29.

In an interview with Vintage Vinyl News, Hank’s daughter Jett, who along with Hank Jr. had approval over the movie, let out some pretty in-dept details of what people can expect from “The Last Ride.”

I’ve been given a preview of it, my husband and I.  In the movie, they never mention the name Hank Williams, he never sings and he never strums the guitar.  That sounds just as strange as it can be but, what it is, the guy who is playing my Dad is traveling under an assumed name and so you know who it is.  It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in I can’t remember when.

The young man who plays my Dad is Henry Thomas, the guy who played in E.T. If you go look at him, he sort of looks like my Dad.  I think it will catch on.

For example, they’re doing this one scene…they’re in the Cadillac, trying to get to the shows and they’re trying to move everything along. They end up getting behind a truck of pigs on a back road.  So, here’s the Cadillac and you’re looking at the rear end of the pigs.  They’re honking and the guy playing my Dad’s having a fit and the driver’s trying to get around them and they’re playing On the Sunny Side of Life. Just cracks me up.  It’s all these little double entendres that are working through the movie that are just so clever.  You see a real personal side of my Dad.

A few pictures from the film can be seen here.

No release date just yet for this film, but they have released a quick clip from the movie:

60 Comments to “Hank Williams Movie “The Last Ride” Readies 2011 Release”

  • This will be interesting to watch. I just can’t see a movie about Hank Williams without him singing a lick. I know that he died due to drugs and alcohol in his system but I hope they don’t portray only the bad portions of his life.

    • I don’t know, I think the approach of this movie is very intriguing. I really don’t need to see Elliot from ET or anyone else get up there and try to ape Hank Williams singing, and by zooming in on one very small aspect of his life, I think it allows them much more creative freedom to really delve deep into the character of Hank Williams without having to spend time telling a bunch of back story. Yeah, I think this will probably help reinforce the negative aspects of his personality, but I don’t get a sense this movie is for the wide masses. Hank Williams is a tragic character, and that is why his story is so intriguing.

      • You’re probably right. I don’t really wanna see some actor butcher his music either. I do see this as being a direct to DVD film too. We’ll see what happens.

        • Thanks for posting the trailer, Benjy. Caught the movie at the premier in Montgomery…PHENOMENAL! Any serious lover of country music history should see this film. Rodney’s production, and your music magic made this a truly memorable event.

    • This movie is gonna be just like the Dylan biopic “Im Not There”

      Why the hell don’t people just make a biopic about musicians insted of trying to entertwine all this crap about the “real” them in it, and make it to where i”this is a biopic but not really” whats wrong with a Ray, Walk The Line, Great Balls Of Fire, Coal Miners Daughter? Nothin…if it aint broke dont fix it

      • Um… whats wrong with those movies? How bout the fact that they try to cram 30+ years of vibrant, extraordinary living into 120 minutes? The narrative of a traditional biopic might be simple (and, thus, easily understandable), but its not nearly as enriching as a movie like “I’m Not There”.

        Hank Williams was a complex dude when he was alive, and the mythology currently surrounding his life and his music have only served to compound that complexity. Why try to get to know Hank Williams Sr.? It was impossible when he was walking this land and its just as impossible today.

        Thank God for art.

  • nice. over the years, I have seen all the movies, been to the plays & I cant wait to see this!

  • I have a link to the trailer (1:50 long) at my site.

    John W

    • i couldn’t find the link… could you please post it…

  • Hey John,

    The trailer seems to have been removed due to violation of use.

  • I found this trailer on some chinese website.


    • thanks louie i checked it out… fuckin’ chinese got everything ain’t they…

      • Haha..yeah they own the U.S. anyways. Before long we’ll have to start talking Chinese and change our names to Wong Dong or some shit..lol!

        love me some orange chicken and fried rice though..haha!

    • Invariably parts of movies get leaked, and invariably the creators do what they can to keep everything under wraps until they’re ready for the public to see it. And invariably, the Chinese don’t give two shits about intellectual property.

      Love how that video starts with dictators standing like Gods while fighter planes fly overhead. And Americans are blamed for being too bellicose.

  • This could go either way with me. I’m fine with the approach they took with the film, there probably isn’t a way to smear his legacy any so using the last few days of his life isn’t a bother to me. Where it could go wrong with me is a simple matter of how the film goes – whoever it’s about and whatever tale it’s telling, it’s pretty much about a couple of people riding in a car. I’m not the world’s biggest movie fan, so I might find this entertaining or I might find it like being in a car for two hours. We’ll just have to see.

  • Who is singing “So Lonesome I Could Cry” wow, that fits the trailer nicely.

    • The man singing “I’m so lonesome I could cry” is Michael English…lead singer of the Gaiter Vocal Band and a man who has quite a life he has led and shares to help others. VERY talented man!!!

      • thank you! love the version.

        • Michael English is an amazingly talented man, sings from his soul and never disappoints!!! I love this too!!

  • Sorry about that. It was up on Veevr for about a week. The same thing happened in early Dec when it was up for about 12 hours only on Trailer Addict.. They must be having copyright problems, perhaps with the music. The trailer has someone other than Hank singing ‘I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry’ over the pictures.

  • […] And here’s the link to the Saving Country Music article. […]

  • This is somewhat encouraging… between Crazy Heart, and Country Strong (which didn’t exactly depict a Taylor Swift image of pop-country) and this movie, Hollywood seems to be seeing country music for what it actually is/was.

    It might be a small sign of somethings turning for the better in country music.

    The soundtrack to this movie could be really something? Will it be old originals, or new artists versions of Hank songs? If done like “I’m So Lonesome…” in the trailer, it could be a smashing album!

  • I just don’t know. Like other’s, I will hold complete judgement until I see the film.

    I hope it’s about a good man who came to a tragic end, instead of a man who was near the end.

    There is a difference.

    Any word about what III thinks about this project?

    • I was fortunate to be the projectionist at a screening of the unfinished film – you will love this film. Heck, I am a New York gal and I loved i!. Wish I could buy the track right now!

  • I know this has nothing to do with this Hank Sr. post but Hell man I’m still waiting to see some other great movies that haven’t been released yet. “Provinces of Night” with Hank III, Kris Kristofferson, and Val Kilmer.


    Another movie that was supposed to be released but has never came out yet is “Get Low” with Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, and Robert Duvall.


    • Hell I still need to see Country Strong. Just been too busy.

      There’s a lot of excellent movies being made, but they all seem to be taking a long time to find distribution, if they find distribution at all.

    • Where exactly is HankIII in Provinces of Night?

      • Looks like he plays the postman..

        • I will give you $100 if that postman is Shelton.

          Again, where exactly is he in this movie?

          • I haven’t seen the movie but I know he’s playing Trigger Lipscomb. In the trailer you can hear Hank III yelling for Bloodworth to come out.

      • playing ther part of Trigger Lipscomb

      • Also.. I believe there is a good chance that there will be a Wayward Drifters song on the soundtrack for this show too..

        • Hit me up, man. I got unreleased shit too. -JB

    • Looks like “Get Low” comes out on DVD 2/22, according to netflix.

      • Thanks man! I wondered when that was coming out. It was supposed to be in theaters but never showed up.

    • I think they have changed the name of the movie to “Bloodworth” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1421048/fullcredits#cast

  • I’m intrigued. I like the idea of focusing in on the end days. Besides his recording sessions that was the part of Escott’s book I found most interesting. And I like that they never actually say his name. Sounds different, and these days different is often good.

    • And man, Elliott sure does look like Hank these days!

      • Well, he does in that photo above. Maybe not so much in the trailer. Movie looks good to me, but then that’s a trailer’s job. To make a movie look good, even if it’s crap. We’ll see…

  • Now isn’t there another movie in the works because in september I read they were still looking for somebody to play hank and were considering Justin Townes Earle.

    But another bit of news is sometime this year Steve Earle is going to release a fictional story about the Doctor who gave Hank the final dose of morphine that killed Him and He is haunted by Hank’s ghost

    • I heard that rumor about JTE – don’t know how serious it was.

      Steve’s book comes out May 12, and is called “I’ll Never Get Out of this Word Alive.” It will be interesting to see if he can pull off a novel. He is releasing an album by the same title April 26, produced by T-Bone. Folks here might be interested to know that he is describing it as more country than his other work.

      • Thank you kindly for the recommendation. :)

  • I’ll look forward to seeing this. I’m interested in the direction as well. If it’s done in the right way, so as not to exploit but to enlighten, then I’m sure it will be good.

  • Sounds good, tHANKS!

  • I’m glad to see Hank Sr. is getting more of the respect he deserves.

  • ha ha ha the kid from E.T awsome… i would have never have guessed it if wasnt for you

  • I am so stunned by the speculation. I caught this film at the Nashville filmfest (awesome by the way). Watching the folks in the queue was interesting enough. Old-timers and gen Y’ers. All were great fans of his life/music/story. IT was crowded forsure with a wait line for both showings.
    The movie was spectacular. the sets/interiors/exteriors filmed were amazing. The rebuilt cars were gorgeous. The acting was terrific. H Thomas looks like pictures I have seen of Hank 1. He played the character with so much restraint. There was no exploitation of Hank. The story was treated with respect and irony and left the audience with a sense of reverence for the man and his demise. In addition, his family approved.. see the movie before you make blanket observations. It is not much of a reach to guess You weren’t there at the time reflected in this film so it is all the more humorous to read your commentary and speculation.

  • I had a chance to see an advance screening of the movie, and I was blown away. The movie gives us a glimpse into the beginning of one life and the end of another. The movie does a wonderful job of taking the last days and hours of a musical legend’s life that has been shroud in mystery for almost 60 years and made it real and accessible. If you are a fan of the man and his music, The Last Ride will allow you to see the man as more than a legend, but as a man trying one last time to kill his demons.

  • you know i kinda confused.shreveport la.where i live and where the la hayride was is a mecca of movie making now.to me its a shame the movie was not made here.hank jr was born at the tri-state hospital here in shreveport.la.its now willis-knighton hosp.im not going to see it because it cant be realistic.with a fake name,place and other things they are ommiting.

  • […]  Read More About the Making of The Last Ride […]

  • Wonder when their going to send my grandpa the repair money for when he had to pay for somthing that they did to his car thats in the movie!

  • This will be a cool movie in its own way, im sure, but still i’d like to hear him try a few of hanks songs, just cause i love hanks music. there is only one hank sr. and no one can fill his shoes, i do hope hank 3 will do a movie about him and star as hank with music, because he is the closest to hank, thats how i see it.

  • When can I find it on DVD and in theater

    • The film is ready to be released this June (2012), starting off with some historic theaters. The website is here: http://www.thelastridefilm.com/, and there is a list of historic theaters on the front page. Our community theater here in Washington state is the first one showing the film. I think it looks like a good film from what I’ve seen so far.

  • Saw a trailer for this on ITunes, looks like it is going to be pretty good, not sure about the release date or dvd availibility.

  • Can’t wait to see this movie , and the soundtrack is brilliant . One quality artist is Michael English singing “I’m so lonesome I could cry”, the stand- out track!! …He’s an extremely gifted and talented artist. I’m glad the rest of the cast on this album gave it their best .

  • I’ve posted a little article on some of the recent reviews of the movie which had a screening in New York City in late June.
    A pretty famous New York movie critic Rex Reed really liked it, but most have been luke warm.

  • First of all people like to comment on the actors. But did anyone think about those beautiful cars? I think that the people that let movie companys use their rides are also a great part of the movie business! I really liked the 1940 Ford Tudor Sedan following the Cadillac through town. OK, maybe it’s that I have worked on that car and it belongs to a great & dear friend of mine. Yes I build those Hot Rod cars that make those movies come to life. The only time I complain is when the car was not made yet and it is in the movie!!! Enjoy and eat lots of Popcorn…

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