The universe [occupied by the characters in Two-Lane Blacktop] is one that’s familiar in recent American films like Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. It consists of the miscellaneous establishments thrown up along the sides of the road to support life: motels, gas stations, hamburger stands. The road itself has a real identity in Two-Lane Blacktop, as if it were a place to live and not just a way to move. There may be homes and gardens hidden behind those interstate terraces, but for the four people in this movie — the road, as the saying goes, is home.
— Roger Ebert, in his 1971 review of Monte Hellman’s classic