Retrospective

A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION

  • Description
  • Bios
  • Robert Altman ended his astonishing career of 39 features with this wistful comedy based on the characters of Garrison Keillor’s eponymous radio show. Referencing classic backstage musicals, and set on the evening of the show’s final bow, the plot follows a group of performers trying to save their program (including Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep), who are visited first by an angel (Virginia Madsen), and then an “Axeman” (Tommy Lee Jones), who represents the ruthless new station-owners poised for takeover. Shooting with four cameras, Altman captured the behind-the-scenes vitality of radio and theater, and thrilled his fans one last time. – Gillian Horvat

  • Celebrated American filmmaker Robert Altman (1925-2006) began his career in television in the early 1950s before achieving success in film with 1970's M*A*S*H. He landed another major triumph with 1975's panoramic American satire NASHVILLE and continued directing until 2006, when his last film, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, was released just months before his death at the age of 81.

© 2017 American Film Institute. All rights reserved.