Don't Come Knocking

Director: Wim Wenders
Screenwriters: Sam Shepard

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Howard Spence's fame has enabled him to become the man he is today—a spoiled movie star, known for his rugged good looks and a checkered past of drinking and carousing. One day, on a mean drunk, he disappears from a film shoot in the Utah hills. A crazy road trip takes him as far as Butte, Montana, the last place he remembers being happy. Here he finds the scattered remains of a family life that could have been. At last our cowboy hero has reached the crossroads; he must embrace his past or keep on running.

With his usual rare insight, Wim Wenders again delves into family dysfunction and absence, and rekindles his affection for the American West. He uses the expansive western sky to light Spence's exterior journey, but the interior one is illuminated by the writing and performance of Sam Shepard. In Don't Come Knocking, Wenders and Shepard continue their iconoclastic partnership of examining repression in the modern male.

Not to be ignored is Jessica Lange as the gal Spence left behind. In no uncertain terms, she has her say and reminds us that life is all about choices—to have them is a luxury, not making them is just plain chicken, but it is living with them that makes you a real man . . .or woman.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]