Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman’s 1971 independent masterpiece and cult favorite, is a kind of visual poem, full of wide-open vistas and the roar of engines. It belongs to that niche of films peculiar to the ’70s that float along with a kind of existential understatement.

All tone and little dialogue or plot. Naturalistic in the banality of it all, the simple moments of life that it captures. Like Five Easy Pieces, the film captures a time and a place and takes you there.

The film stars singer-songwriter James Taylor as the driver and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys as his mechanic, as they drag race Warren Oates across the United States in a souped-up ’55 Chevy They run street races for cash and stop in sleepy southern towns for parts or a burger. Hitchhikers come and go. And that’s about it for plot points.

But along the way they pick up a girl, and it’s through the three men’s interaction (or lack thereof) with her that they are revealed. The film perfectly captures the end of the ’60s and the aimless search on the open road for whatever’s out there.

Extras: commentaries by Hellman, filmmaker Allison Anders, screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer and author David Meyer, interviews with James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson and producer Michael Laughlin, a book containing the screenplay and appreciations by Richard Linklater and Tom Waits, as well as a 1970 Rolling Stone article about the film.

Grade: A

Two-Lane Blacktop is currently available.