The Last Ride 2004 Movie

“The Last Ride” movie premiered on June 2, 2004, on the USA Network and, at the time of its release, was primarily used by General Motors to market the new Pontiac GTO. During late 2004 and early 2005, it was also released in several countries outside the United States, mostly as a straight-to-DVD movie.

This movie is mainly a publicity piece to feature the return of an American classic muscle car, the Pontiac GTO. The story was written by Rob Cohen, who was also the director of the movie “The Fast and the Furious” released in 2001. The movie is directed by Guy Norman Bee who is a television director most known for his work on “Third Watch”. 

The movie stars Dennis Hopper (the headliner), Will Patton, Chris Carmack, Nadine Velazquez, and Fred Ward.

In 1970, robber Ronnie Purnell is arrested after a robbery and jailed for more than 30 years. Since Purnell’s wife was killed during the chase with the police, California Highway Patrol Officer Darryl Kurtz took care of their son Aaron. When Ronnie is released from jail, he decides to take vengeance on Darryl. Aaron has also become a cop and doesn’t want to hear about his father anymore, but Aaron’s son Matthew is fascinated by his grandfather’s past and decides to help him to find his old car, a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge, in which he stashed a key for a safe containing evidence against Darryl.


The Last Ride

USA Network, Wednesday. June 2, 2004 at 8 p.m.

  • Production: Filmed in San Diego by Stu Segall Prods. Executive producers, Rob Cohen, Angela Mancuso, Bruce Mellon, Oscar Luis Costo; co-producer, Michele Greco; director, Guy Norman Bee; writer, Guy McGee, from a story by Cohen, McGee;
  • Crew: Camera, Karl Herrmann; editor, Sean Albertson, Jonathan Del Gatto; music, Frankie Blue Sposato; production designer, James Allen; casting, Mary Jo Slater, Steve Brooksbank. 120 MIN.
  • Cast: Ronnie Purnell played by Dennis Hopper, Aaron Purnell played by Will Patton, Matt Purnell played by Chris Carmack, Darryl Kurtz played by Fred Ward, J.J. Cruz played by Nadine Velazquez. Burt Walling played by Peter Onorati

Variety Magazine was not kind to a movie featuring our favorite car. The day before the movie even aired on television, they had already written an article on how much of a marketing and publicity piece this was by General Motors.

“The big fear about “product integration” has been that programmers will put the cart before the horse — or in this case, the Pontiac GTO before the movie. Allegedly an “action-packed” drama, this sponsored presentation by Pontiac and General Motors is really little more than a two-hour infomercial designed to sell muscle cars.”

You can read the article here.

Luckily much time has passed since this article was published, and now the movie is more of a “cult classic” among car enthusiasts and the reviews are much different. It’s a fun popcorn movie. Yes, we know it is a publicity stunt by General Motors to promote the 2004 Pontiac GTO. Yes, we know the movie is not a big box office hit, nor did the movie have a billion-dollar budget like some of today’s movies. But it is still fun to watch our favorite car tear down the streets. Many of the present-day 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO owners and enthusiasts have added this movie to their DVD collection, myself included.

Unfortunately, this movie is not readily available to watch on any of today’s streaming channels and subscriptions. Really the only way to watch this movie is to purchase the DVD. I have found the movie available for purchase on both Amazon and eBay. New copies of the film are hard to come by, but there are plenty of used copies floating around for purchase. The movie is a “Universal Pictures” film company movie. Maybe one day they will bring it to BluRay. (wishful thinking)

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