Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Dennis Weaver, Eddie Firestone, Jacqueline Scott, Lou Frizzell
Genres: Action, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Question: Where was David Mann actually going? And where from? As in, which states? He seemed to be travelling for hours even before he met the truck and seemed to have a long way to go yet.
Chosen answer: The movie opens with him in downtown Los Angeles, California, so he's probably from there or somewhere in Southern California. He's heading to Bakersfield, California, which is north, about 2 hours away. In the short story, he's heading to a client in San Francisco. However, in the film he gets off the main freeway running from LA to Bakersfield (IH-5) and takes Highway 14 towards Canyon Country.
Question: I know it's never answered in the film but is it explained in the book just why the truck driver takes such a dislike to David Mann - he behaves this way after just a couple of overtakes?
Chosen answer: That is never answered for the film, and not knowing adds to the mystery and intrigue. No mentally stable person would target someone just because they overtook their vehicle on the road. It appears that Mann happened to cross paths with a psychopath. Steven Spielberg has commented that the multiple out-of-state license plates attached to the truck's front bumper may be "trophies" that indicate that the trucker is a serial killer who has run down other drivers. This could be a deadly game to the truck driver.
I just wonder why the driver door on the big rig was open while it took a dive over the mountain.
Perhaps a hint that the truck driver escaped. You notice that the truck doesn't explode on impact, although the studio insisted it must; Spielberg fought the studio over the inclusion of a cliched fiery finale, as he wanted the crash to convey an ambiguous ending, suggesting that the driver might not have died. Spielberg even explained that the red liquid seen in the truck cab was not blood, but was some sort of automotive fluid. This all lent to the mystery of what actually happened to the driver, whose body we never see.
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David Mann: That truck driver's crazy, he's been trying to kill me, I mean it.Bus Driver: Well, mister, if I was to vote on who's crazy around here, it'd be you.
When David's car gets stuck on the bus bumper, the next shot is of the bus' black bumper and the side of the car. At the top of the black bumper there are two people seen in the reflection. The person on the left turns and takes a step to the right.
Steven Spielberg "interviewed" over 100 trucks before finding the forboding, evil looking one for the movie.