Crossroads - pact with the devil

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German title Crossroads - pact with the devil
Original title Crossroads
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1986
length 96 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Walter Hill
script John Fusco
production Mark Carliner
music Ry Cooder
camera John Bailey
cut Freeman A. Davis

Crossroads - Pact with the Devil is an American road movie from 1986 by Walter Hill . The leading roles are Ralph Macchio as Eugene Martone and Joe Seneca as Willie Brown.


Young white Eugene studies classical guitar at the Juilliard School Performing Arts conservatory in New York City . However, his heart belongs to the blues of the 30s and 40s. Through research he finds an old blues musician of the time, the black blues harp player Willie Brown , who is in an old people's home for prisoners. Eugene takes a job as a cleaner to get in touch with Willie. He wants him to help him find a lost song by blues legend Robert Johnson . Willie initially denies his identity and makes fun of the would-be white bluesman from Long Island. You can only learn the blues on the street and in the delta . Eventually, he admits to being Willie Blind Dog Fulton Brown and agrees on the condition that Eugene get him out of the home and take him to Mississippi . He wants to go back to the crossroads where he sold his soul to the devil as a teenager in order to learn the blues from him. This trip, partly on the Greyhound bus , partly as a hitchhiker and partly on foot, will be a journey back to the roots of the blues for both of them. On the way, Eugene buys his first electric guitar, a beige Fender Telecaster , with a small amplifier in a pawn shop and gives small street concerts with Willie and also a joint appearance in a blues pub that is only frequented by African Americans. Eugene manages to sweep the audience away with his excellent playing.

On their continued wandering, during which Willie Brown initiates his inexperienced comrade Eugene into the unwritten laws of hitchhiking life, they meet the young runaway Frances, who accompanies them part of the way and begins a love affair with Eugene. Eugene also gets the bluesy nickname Lightning Boy . On the way, they are racially humiliated and harassed by local police and robbed of their cash. After Frances separates from the two without saying goodbye, Eugene experiences the blues for the first time and begins to express his feelings with his guitar. Eugene and Willie eventually come to the crossroads where they meet a man named Legba (the name of a god from the Voodoo mythology). Willie demands that Legba undo the contract so he can save his soul. He offers him a competition: Eugene is supposed to contest a "head-cutting-duel" (a duel in which two guitarists musically compete against each other) with another guitarist. If Eugene wins, Willie's contract will expire; should he lose, he will also lose his soul to the devil. In a fascinating duel, Eugene defeats the guitarist Jack Butler, played by the American guitarist Steve Vai , with the interpretation of a classical piece ( Caprice No 5 by Niccolò Paganini ). Legba tears up the contract - Eugene saved Willie's soul. They both decide to stay together for a while and then go their own way.


Guitarist Steve Vai recorded both guitar parts of the duel for the soundtrack, only the slide guitar part was recorded by Ry Cooder . The actor Macchio is also a guitarist and played the previously recorded pieces during the filming, but his recordings were not used.

The piece with which Eugene ultimately wins the duel against the guitarist of the devil has become known as Eugene's Trick Bag . Above all, the bending into the pitch of an imaginary 29th fret of a guitar is known.


Roger Ebert awarded 3½ stars and wrote: " Crossroads reminds us of and uses so many other films that in the end one is surprised at how effective and independent the film is."

The lexicon of international films said: "The mixture of road movie, story of initiation and folk tale is staged in a straightforward and dramaturgically sovereign way, populated by refreshing characters and accompanied by excellent music."


  • 1986 Georges Delerue Prize for the best music


Individual evidence

  1. IMDb Trivia
  2. Ebert's review of Crossroads
  3. Crossroads - Pact with the Devil. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film Service , accessed April 19, 2012 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  4. ^ Mötley Crüe : The Dirt . Autobiography of the glam metal band Mötley Crüe, co-authored with Neil Strauss , from the American by Kirsten Borchardt , Hannibal Verlag , Höfen , 2nd edition, 2002. p. 212

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