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A youthful Martin Sheen plays a garbage collector who goes on a murder spree across the 1950s American Midwest with his naive young lover Sissy Spacek.

This cult 1970s gem, based on a true story, is hugely stylish and the performances from Sheen, striking a James Dean pose, and Spacek (in only her second film) are impressive.

One of the most auspicious directorial debuts of all time, with maverick writer-director Terrence Malick elevated straight to the A-list of Hollywood film-makers, this is still a powerful thriller and one should not underestimate the part played by George Tipton’s haunting musical score.