Max Millan (Gene Hackman) and Francis ‘Lion’ Delbuchi (Al Pacino) are two drifters who become friends as they follow Max’s dream to open a car wash in Pittsburgh. Their friendship is formed and tested as they deal with the baggage they carry as they continue their journey together.
A tale of life and love, Scarecrow may have failed in terms of the box office but is rich in soul. Hackman had already won an Oscar for The French Connection and Pacino was in between The Godfather films that made him a star, yet both responded to this emotive and character driven drama. The opening few minutes allows an audience to feel as though they instantly know who these men are with character being presented through actions rather than exposition. A friendship unfolds on screen which is so charismatic and enjoyable to watch that the lives these characters lead don’t seem quite so bad.
Gene Hackman has described this as the favourite performance he has ever given. Scarecrow may be unknown to many but to those who have experienced it, it is carried like a closely held secret. When you watch a film like this it’s as if you have been introduced to a world that only those who have experienced it can truly share, a world which gives you the chance to be told a good story well.