1986 proved to be the height of the 1980s, and in this year, the movie “Crossroads” released, featuring Mississippi as both the setting and primary filming location. Starring Ralph Macchio, Joe Seneca and Steve Vai, this movie explores the history and legends of the Mississippi Delta. Although many people may not have heard of “Crossroads” when compared to some of the other movies about or filmed in Mississippi, “Crossroads” still proves itself a classic. Union residents should express pride in the fact that Mississippi serves as the home of this classic movie.
In a reflection of Mississippi’s blues heritage, “Crossroads” follows the story of a young New York guitarist’s journey to become a blues musician; played by Ralph Macchio, Eugene Martone has already proven himself a virtuoso in the style of classical guitar. However, he dreams of becoming a famous blues guitarist, and in order to accomplish this task, he decides to find Robert Johnson’s lost song. After meeting the legendary blues musician Willie Brown (played by Joe Seneca) in a nursing home, Martone becomes convinced that the old man can help. Indeed, Brown accepts this help on the condition that they both travel to the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the blues.
After riding a bus halfway to Mississippi, the pair must hitchhike the rest of the way. At the end of their journey, they finally arrive in the Delta at the infamous crossroads where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil to become the world’s best guitar player. Like Johnson in this Mississippi folktale, Brown has also sold his soul to the devil for similar reasons, but he wishes to back out of his deal. Martone agrees to help; however, this means he must defeat a man named Jack Butler in a guitar duel. Played by Whitesnake guitarist and rock guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, Butler proves a significant challenge for Eugene. This guitar duel proves itself both the climax and most iconic scene of the movie.
In addition to using the Mississippi legend of the crossroads as a premise of the movie, “Crossroads” also features Mississippi as a major filming location. The locales of Natchez, Vicksburg and Port Gibson provide the movie with historic overtones. Greenville and Murphy help to provide an accurate depiction of the Mississippi Delta region. Furthermore, as a bit of a rarity (especially in those days), this also seems supplemented by including New York and California as filming locations; Mississippi usually does not share a classic movie with these two famous names in the film industry. Therefore, all Mississippians should express pride in the fact that “Crossroads” features Mississippi as a filming location.
Although many people may not know “Crossroads” as well as other movies about and filmed in Mississippi, this movie still proves itself a classic. “Crossroads” reflects Mississippi folklore and uses the state as a primary filming location. Admittedly, though, this movie might not be to everyone’s tastes; however, for the musicians or lovers of classic movies out there, “Crossroads” will provide an enjoyable experience. Regardless of personal opinion, the movie still proves iconic, and everyone should appreciate how this classic movie calls Mississippi home.