Filming of Americana began in 1973 when David Carradine was the star of the popular Kung Fu series and continued intermittently over the years until it was finally released in 1981.
Carradine shows up on foot in the small town of Drury, Kansas (the real citizens of that town play themselves in the film), and simply says “I need a place to crash.”
He takes odd jobs, is harassed by the locals and the sheriff, and begins the slow, difficult restoration of an abandoned merry-go-round. We eventually learn that he’s a Vietnam veteran captain who only reports for his disability payments when everything else goes
The quiet hero has troubled relationships with ex-biker/vet (Michael Greene) who sponsors cockfights in the shell of a church, and Barbara Hershey (Carradine’s common-law wife), a pretty flower-child who wanders around barefoot in a white dress.
Americana is a well-made movie that takes its time and manages to say a lot about unfortunate changes in the USA. The film was a family affair with Hershey’s father, Arnold Herzstein, playing the owner of the general store, David’s brother Bruce as the sheriff, and brother Robert worked as an assistant cameraman.
Dan (Grizzly Adams) Haggerty was also the set dresser and animal handler.
The American soldier
Mike the garageman
John Blyth Barrymore
Wrecking yard man
Grateful Dead fan
Rick Van Ness