R | | Drama
At a time of chronic civil unrest in the USA at Zabriskie Point, in Death Valley, CA, two perfect strangers meet; a young revolutionary and an anthropology student who start an unrestrained romance, making love on the dusty terrain.
The lead actor Mark Frechette had a different idea about this film than the director Antonioni. Mark wanted it to be a film about the 1968 student revolt against the system while Antonioni insisted on making an art film, so they constantly disagreed.
Female White Radical Student #2:
I think we understand. A lot of us have understood what makes Black people revolutionary. But, what's going to make white people revolutionaries?
Kathleen: The same God damn thing that makes Black people revolutionaries.
Female White Radical Student #2: But, it's not happening the same way.
When Mark is stealing the airplane in L.A., the shadow of the camera equipment mounted atop the engine compartment can be seen briefly as he makes a turn while taxiing.
MGM president Louis F. Polk was so worried about the controversy surrounding the film, particularly the threat of an X rating, that he invoked the studio's right to the final cut and ordered Antonioni to eliminate anything that might be potentially controversial. Thus, the riots, the love-ins, and numerous other scenes and fragments of scenes were removed, leaving only seventy minutes. The film was deemed unreleasable and written off as a loss but was saved when Polk was replaced by James T. Aubrey, who thought highly of the film and restored (nearly) all of the cut scenes.