Best Friends (1975)


Two young couples rent a Winnebago for a cross-country road trip, but jealousy soon turns their romantic adventure into a nightmare. Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica) and Doug Chapin play the men, both recently discharged from service in Vietnam and anxious to begin new lives. Hatch plans to marry his fiancée (Susanne Benton), but Chapin tries to talk him out of it, fearing marriage will take his best friend away from him. As they near their destination, Chapin becomes increasingly unhinged and resorts to extremes to keep Hatch all to himself.

Best Friends starts out as an escapist road trip, but it gradually turns into a chamber drama and ends as a psychological horror movie. I enjoyed the intimacy of the characters juxtaposed against the open road. All four actors are solid, with Chapin delivering the most compelling performance as a troubled man clinging to the past. Director Noel Nosseck and writer Arnold Somkin offer juicy subtext about male camaraderie, post-traumatic stress, and the desensitizing effects of war. Best Friends is admirably counter-culture, shot and performed in a compelling, casual and honest manner. With Ann Noland.

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