Lucky (2017)

This immensely funny and endearing film lovingly plays homage to the great actor Harry Dean Stanton.

Stanton broke onto the scene in the mid 1950s and has since appeared in over 100 films. Lucky is only his second leading role; Stanton starred in Paris, Texas, the film which won Wim Wenders the Palme d’Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.

Co-written by Drago Sumonja and Stanton’s friend Logan Sparks, and helmed by first-time director John Carroll Lynch (he of Fargo and Zodiac fame), Lucky is full of wonderful anecdotes, one-liners and musings on life delivered beautifully and comically by the likes of David Lynch, Tom Skerritt, James Darren, and others.

This is not a documentary or a biography; Lucky is a work a fiction which just happens to contain many elements of Stanton’s true self, his beliefs and behaviours. Even if you have no idea who Harry Dean Stanton is, this is still a hugely satisfying film to watch. It will fill you with a warm golden glow.

Stanton died September 2017 at the ripe old age of 91. He sadly missed the premiere by a matter of weeks.

Wonderful Cinema strongly recommends you do not ruin the impact the director meticulously planned for you by watching trailers or reading spoilers. For those of you who cannot resist:

You can find more information on this American movie on WikipediaIMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Production Details

Title: Lucky

Director: John Carroll Lynch

Year, Country, Language: 2017, USA, English

Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Tom Skerritt, James Darren, Beth Grant, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr. (click here for full cast)

Screenplay: Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja

Cinematography: Tim Suhrstedt

Editing: John Carroll Lynch

Score: Elvis Kuehn



  1. Not a fan of gruesome horror films or violent death as entertainment, I usually read your posts but never see the movies. This one I WILL see. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Don! Yes, my tastes are quite varied!

      I can recommend some really lovely films I have reviewed in the past which you might enjoy: Winter Sleep, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Synecdoche – New York, Burnt by the Sun, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Werckmeister Harmonies, The Mill and the Cross, and The Intouchables.

  2. I have always loved HDS, and he is rocking some serious saggy-arsed underwear on the poster! Just his popping up in a film can turn it from good to great, so I will look forward to seeing this for sure.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. I enjoyed your review thanks, except for the description of the film as “immensely funny”. I guess it depends on your age, but I found very little to even smile at in this sensitive, introspective essay on death and dying.

    1. That’s interesting, Richard. I’ve read your wonderful review and I do see that you were affected more darkly than I was.

      I am also into the second half of my visit here on Earth but only just, hopefully. I don’t know. Lucky’s sentiments on death and the possibility of an afterlife mirror my own, but I guess you are correct – I do not personally worry about the finality of such things yet.

      I found the film wonderfully heartwarming, sad, but also very funny. The interaction between the characters in the bar, especially. There are a lot of adroitly-written lines. But Lucky’s apparent overall attitude of “fuck it” was very amusing to me until the cleverly calculated moment when he admits his true feelings.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They have given me pause for thought.

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