On the Road


Jack Kerouac's seminal pseudo-autobiography finally heads to the big screen thanks to director Walter Salles Jr. The Motorcycle Diaries and executive producer Francis Ford Coppola. The tale is semi-based on the author's trips across America, with fiction intertwining with reportedly real events and people met along the way. The starring cast includes Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, and Kirsten Dunst. José Rivera provides the adaptation.
Read More ...
See more details below
Blu-ray (Color / Wide Screen)
BN.com price
Other sellers (Blu-ray)
  • All (3) from $57.77   
  • New (3) from $57.77   


Jack Kerouac's seminal pseudo-autobiography finally heads to the big screen thanks to director Walter Salles Jr. The Motorcycle Diaries and executive producer Francis Ford Coppola. The tale is semi-based on the author's trips across America, with fiction intertwining with reportedly real events and people met along the way. The starring cast includes Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, and Kirsten Dunst. José Rivera provides the adaptation.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Today, many regard Jack Kerouac as a revolutionary -- one who liberated more conventional literary forms with a freewheeling, stream-of-consciousness authorial style that fluidly bridged poetry and prose. A trademark joy lies at the heart of Kerouac's magnum opus On the Road and its successors, such as Big Sur and The Dharma Bums, that enabled him to capture the restless spirit of the postwar generation at its peak. Yet this only represents one side of the equation: If one steps outside of Kerouac's catalogue and reads more objective material about him -- such as Ann Charters's dispassionate 1994 tome Kerouac: A Biography -- it becomes apparent that self-myth and mythmaking were central to Kerouac's life and art, and that a broad chasm opened up between the writer in his private life and the thinly veiled fictionalizations of himself and his friends on the page, such as Sal Paradise Kerouac, Dean Moriarty Neal Cassady, and Carlo Marx Allen Ginsberg. Stripped of myth, the real Kerouac and his friends lived lives of desperation -- directionless, strung out on alcohol and barbiturates, riddled with despair; in fact, Cassady and Kerouac each died before the age of 50, Kerouac from the cirrhosis brought on by years of unmoderated drinking. The oddest aspect of the movie version of On the Road is the fact that -- despite preserving events and figures from the novel itself -- it keeps its feet firmly planted in the lives of the actual Beat writers in lieu of Kerouac's inflated characterizations. Not only does it not lasso the youthful exuberance of Sal and Dean's traveling, it travels to the opposite extreme: Director Walter Salles Jr. and screenwriter José Rivera paint the whole Beat Generation as a downbeat, dead-end group of irresponsible young men, whose attempts at rebellion only succeeded in breaking a lot of hearts -- such as that of Carolyn Cassady aka "Camille" here beautifully played by Kirsten Dunst, Neal's emotionally tortured wife, whom he cruelly abandons at one point with two infant children. Salles and Rivera also make a point to depict visually though it is never stated outright the physical, emotional, and mental strain that drugs took on these wistful rebels. As a result, the picture doesn't even begin to work as an adaptation per se, and does nothing to disprove the commonly held misperception that On the Road is an unfilmable book. It neither sides with Kerouac's generation's countercultural values, nor does it find an equivalent for the jazz-like ebb and flow of Kerouac's language. Salles is a competent, gifted director, but he's too square for this material; it demands a filmmaker willing to push the envelope stylistically with his camera, with a cinematographic technique comparable to what Kerouac did on the page. Ideally, a treatment of the Beat Generation would go even one step further by juxtaposing Kerouac's "real" life with his "literary" life to explore the critical role that mythmaking played in his development as an artist. But that doesn't happen here. One can approach the picture as a straightforward biopic of Kerouac and Cassady not unlike John Byrum's 1980 Heart Beat, and it generally works on that level. Nothing in it is inept or klutzy -- created under the imprimaturs of heavyweights Salles, Rivera, Francis Ford Coppola, and Marin Karmitz, it reflects professionalism on all levels. And the performances are uniformly extraordinary: In addition to Dunst, leads Garrett Hedlund as Dean/Neal and Sam Riley as Sal/Jack perfectly evoke the authors they are depicting, and the picture features a wealth of small, eloquently realized turns -- an emotionally persuasive Kristen Stewart as a lover shared by both men, Tom Sturridge as a bonked-out and man-hungry Allen Ginsberg, and Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams in magnificent portrayals of William S. Burroughs and a grungy Joan Vollmer two evocations so brilliant and on-target that you wish Salles and co. would drop Kerouac and just focus on them. The ensemble's performances are the movie's pride and joy and make it worth seeing if not essential viewing; the only problem with reading it as an objective depiction of Kerouac's life is that we never, even for a second, get a sense of the scope or breadth of his talent from what's onscreen. The film may be adequate and moderately enjoyable, but overall, it falls short of its full potential.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/5/2013
  • EAN: 9339065008401
  • Original Release: 2012
  • Source: Ais
  • Region Code: ABC
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Color / Wide Screen
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 2:17:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 92,918

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Garrett Hedlund Dean MOriarty/Neal Cassady
Sam Riley Sal Paradise/Jack Kerouac
Kristen Stewart Marylou/LuAnne Henderson
Kirsten Dunst Camille/Carolyn Cassady
Viggo Mortensen Old Bull Lee/William S. Burroughs
Amy Adams Jane/Joan Vollmer
Tom Sturridge Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg
Alice Braga Terry/Bea Franco
Marie-Ginette Guay Ma Paradise
Elisabeth Moss Galatea Dunkel/Helen Hinkle
Danny Morgan Ed Dunkle/Al Hinkle
Technical Credits
Walter Salles Jr. Director
Arpad Busson Executive Producer
Peter Cavaney Associate Producer
Carlos Conti Production Designer
Francis Ford Coppola Executive Producer
Roman Coppola Producer
Éric Gautier Cinematographer
François Gedigier Editor
Charles Gillibert Producer
Daniel Glicker Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Hicks Casting
Myron Hoffert Asst. Director
Nathanael Karmitz Producer
Marin Karmitz Associate Producer
Jerry Leider Executive Producer
José Rivera Screenwriter
Tessa Ross Executive Producer
David Rubin Casting
Gustavo Santaolalla Score Composer
John Williams Executive Producer
Rebecca Yeldham Producer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously