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Directed by Richard C. Sarafian

United States 1971 99 mins.

Barry Newman plays the vaguely disillusioned antihero Kowalski, a solitary driver for a cross-country car delivery service. He picks up a roaring 1970 Dodge Challenger in Colorado and takes a bet to deliver it in San Francisco in less than 15 hours. With a handful of uppers, the pedal to the metal, and a blind DJ named Soul (Cleavon Little) rooting him on over the airways, Kowalski screams down the highways, encountering a snake handler, gay hitchhikers, a naked woman riding a motorcycle, and plenty of cops. Lean on dialogue and heavy on squealing tires, this cult classic evokes a specific time and cultural mood—as DJ Soul says, Kowalski is the “last American hero because he is the last free soul on the planet.”



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.