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Honkytonk Man (1982)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  15 December 1982 (USA)
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As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Highway Patrolman
Dr. Hines
Henry Axle
Jim Bob
Rebecca Clemons ...
Johnny Gimble ...
Bob Wills
Blues Singer


As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the missus' brother. A roguish country-western musician, he has just been invited to audition for the Grand Ole Opry, his chance of a lifetime to become a success. However, this is way back in Nashville, Red clearly drives terribly, and he's broke and sick with tuberculosis to boot. Whit, 14, seeing his own chance of a lifetime to avoid "growing up to be a cotton picker all my life," begs Ma to let him go with Uncle Red as driver and protege. Thus begins a picaresque journey both hilarious and poignant. Written by Paul Emmons <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The boy is on his way to becoming a man. The man is on his way to becoming a legend.


Comedy | Drama | Music | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Canção  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Clint Eastwood sings in this film and previously sang in the earlier Hollywood musical, Paint Your Wagon (1969) where he sang the songs "Elisa", "Gold Fever", "I Talk to the Trees", and a duet with Lee Marvin called "Best Things". According to ClintEastwood.Net, the songs "were mostly staged and sometimes simply played over the other action, almost as if they were a kind of narration". Eastwood is also heard on the soundtrack for Kelly's Heroes (1970) where he sings the songs "Burning Bridges" and its B-side, "When I Loved Her". Eastwood's voice can also be heard on such country and western recordings as Randy Travis' "Smokin' the Hive" and T.G. Sheppard's "Make My Day". See more »


Ryman Auditorium is used as the setting for the Opry. This venue was not used until the 1940s, and the movie takes place in the 1930s. See more »


Henry Axle: You don't think he should be doing this, do you?
Whit: Do you? Knowing it might kill him?
Henry Axle: Want me to level with you, pal? He's going to die anyway, and he knows it. And he knows that this is his last chance.
Whit: Last chance? For what?
Henry Axle: To be somebody. Did you ever feel like you wanted to be somebody? If he makes these recordings - who knows?
See more »


Featured in Biography: Clint Eastwood: The Man from Malpaso (1994) See more »


When I Sing About You
Performed by Clint Eastwood
See more »

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User Reviews

13 October 1999 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

The critics didn't like this film, but I beg to differ. Perhaps I'm naive and gullible, but to me it rings true in its local color and the coping of poor people in the Depression amidst the aspirations of young and old alike.

My father, a published author in a small way, once mused to me that if he were to write a novel, it would be about someone trying to come to terms with his own mediocrity. Such is the theme of this movie, and hardly typical a consideration it is in a time when the media bombard us coast to coast, for our adulation, with the glamorous images of a mere handful of individuals who happen to have landed vast fame and fortune. What does any of this have to do with most of us? On the one hand, we live day to day. On the other, a recurring dream whispers "maybe..."

Knowing that he is living on borrowed time, Red, humble and hand-to-mouth but respected more than he knows by a few somewhat more successful colleagues (and an unusually fallible and vulnerable character for Eastwood, which he plays well) is granted, in extremis, an apparent opportunity to reach for the stars. More down-to-earth, he is also fortuitously blessed/burdened with not just one but two young proteges: first his nephew, then also a girl at loose ends. Perhaps neither is particularly talented; nevertheless both have a claim on his attention which he reluctantly fulfills in his own unassuming way, while making no exalted pretenses as to their prospects. When on his deathbed he can do no more for them, he commends them to each other. "You take care of her, now" he rasps to Whit. "She's okay. Help her with her singing." While they may never reach celebrity, the texture of life can sustain them if they face it together.

As, dying and perhaps delirious, he gazes up into Marlene's face, he sees the "raw-boned Okie woman" he had loved for several years as a mistress, and whom he later had regretted leaving. She had borne a girl whom he had never met. Marlene was a fatherless waif of about the right age. Did he recognize at the last moment his long-lost daughter? It is a question which the film leaves hanging in the air. Does genealogy matter? In practical terms, that is what she became almost too late.

For my money, it's a raw-boned, American Okie "La Boheme."

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Red died of a broken heart... DirtyDeedsx4
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