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Honeysuckle Rose (1980)

PG | | Music, Romance, Drama | 18 July 1980 (USA)
Willie Nelson is a country singer on the road caught in a romantic triangle with Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving, the daughter of one of his longtime musical sidekick.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Garland Ramsey
Joey Floyd ...
Jamie Bonham
Charles Levin ...
Brag--Cotton's Manager
Rosella Ramsey
Emmylou Harris
Rex Ludwick ...
Mickey Raphael ...
Bee Spears ...


Buck Bonham is a county singer, with a good family, struggling to find national fame. He juggles his music career with his obligations to his long-suffering wife and their son. He has everything going his way until his longtime guitarist retires from the band. His plucky young daughter eagerly accepts the position meant to last several weeks. The road leads to temptation as the young woman admits a longtime crush on him, which leads to his downfall. The only question is will his family and friends stand by him before things come crashing down? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For 20 years he's been singing to the country. But he never figured he'd be living his own love songs.


Music | Romance | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

On the Road Again  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,189,966, 18 July 1980, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the consecutive film with an adultery theme for director Jerry Schatzberg who had just examined the same thematic territory in his previous picture The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979). See more »


[Lily is on her first tour with Buck's band]
Bo: Anybody on this bus got a college education?
Lily Ramsey: I do; just graduated in June.
Bo: Good. Then you can get up and get us a beer.
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Working Man Blues
Written by Merle Haggard
Performed by Jody Payne
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User Reviews

Nelson fans will love it.
7 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

The rest of us, on the other hand.... we might think it's okay. Perhaps if I hadn't seen Tender Mercies so recently, then Honeysuckle Rose might have seemed better. Where as Mercies had a real actor trying to play a country singer, this one has a real country singer trying to act. The results just aren't as good, but Willie is the last person I'd blame. This is more of a showcase for Nelson's music than it is a regular film with a well-developed story line. Nelson's acting is really pretty good, when they let him act.

The plot centers around a successful, yet not quite hugely popular country singer going out on the road and having an affair with a young member of his band. Nelson is perfectly suited for the role of Buck Bonham who needs a fill-in guitar player after his long time ax player (Slim Pickens) retires from the band. As luck would have it, his plucky young daughter (Amy Irving) can also play a mean guitar and eagerly accepts the position meant to only last a few weeks. But of course this leads to all kinds of hurt feelings and conflict as the young woman admits a long time crush on the old crooner and the two quickly begin sleeping together. Bonham's band mates can only do their best to look in the other direction as it is an awkward situation for them, too. They are close with the girls father of course, and also quite friendly with Bonham's long suffering wife played very well by Dyan Cannon. Obviously, it is only a matter of time before those left at home find out, and things will most certainly come crashing down.

The film runs for quite a long time considering how little plotting there is. Much of the film takes place on stage with Willie and the band belting out a lot of slow, emotional country songs to a doting fan base. The director of this film, who I've never heard of, seems to struggle with the material when scenes are taking place off stage. He seems to put the camera too far away from the actors, taking some of the edge off their more dramatic scenes. The film is also under-lit, even for a film taking place mostly on a gloomy tour bus and darkened venues. Exterior shots of the bus traveling down the road look pretty good, though. The acting by all is quite good. Cannon has the most memorable lines, most of which coming when she announces their divorce in front of a packed house after catching Nelson and Irving slobbering over each other during a duet. Pickens is as watchable as ever, and likely didn't make many more films after this. Irving is quite good, as well. So is the fellow who plays Nelson's manager.

Only fans of Willie Nelson are bound to get a real kick from this film, and I'm sure many of them did. He has such a wonderful and distinct style that he deserves a feature film of this type. As a film buff I just wanted more focus on the story and to learn more about these characters. Again I would recommend the film Tender Mercies which basically takes the Buck Bonham kind of character a few years later into his life. To a place where he has finally hit rock bottom and lost most of those around him who ever cared about him. It's highly likely that Buck Bonham would have eventually landed on the same motel room floor somewhere and not have a clue how he got there. 6 of 10 stars.

The Hound.

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