The Straight Story

The Straight Story is a 1999 biographical road drama film directed by David Lynch. It was edited and produced by Mary Sweeney, Lynch's longtime partner and collaborator, who also co-wrote the script with John E. Roach. It is based on the true story of Alvin Straight's 1994 journey across Iowa and Wisconsin on a lawn mower. Alvin is an elderly World War II veteran who lives with his kind intellectually disabled daughter. When he hears that his estranged brother has suffered a stroke, Alvin makes up his mind to visit him and hopefully make amends before he dies. Because Alvin's legs and eyes are too impaired for him to receive a driver's license, he hitches a trailer to his recently purchased thirty-year-old John Deere 110 Lawn Tractor, having a maximum speed of about , and sets off on the 240-mile (390 km) journey from Laurens, Iowa, to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.


In Laurens, Iowa, Alvin Straight fails to show up to his regular bar meeting with friends and is eventually found lying on his kitchen floor. His daughter, Rose, takes her reluctant father to see a doctor, who sternly admonishes Alvin to give up tobacco and use a walking frame. Alvin refuses and instead opts to use two canes. Shortly after, Alvin learns that his brother, Lyle, has suffered a stroke. Longing to visit him, but unable to drive, Alvin develops a plan to travel 240 miles to Mount Zion, Wisconsin on his riding lawnmower, towing a small homemade travel-trailer along the way. This stirs doubt and worry in the minds of his family, friends, and neighbors.