American Playhouse: Season 3, Episode 3

True West (31 Jan. 1984)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 399 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

A videotaped stage performance of Sam Shepard's play



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Episode credited cast:
Sam Schacht ...
Margaret Thomson ...


Austin, a Hollywood screenwriter living comfortably in suburban Arizona, is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of his prodigal brother Lee, whose menacing demeanor and pugilistic attitude draws Austin further and further into conflict until he must finally engage his brother in an intense psychological battle for his ideals, and perhaps even his life. Written by Maria Nicholas <>

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Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

31 January 1984 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The teleplay was produced for Broadway and opened at the Circle in the Square Theater in New York on March 2, 2000, ran for 154 performances and Sam Shepard's script was nominated for the 2000 Tony Award for the Best Play. See more »


Lee: Do you think... there is enough... Goddamn gas... in your car?
Austin: Sure!
[He falls backward into the sink]
See more »


Version of True West (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Truly entertaining based on acting alone!
8 September 1999 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

This film is a great example of how entertaining a movie can be relying on acting alone. Both Sinise & Malkovich take their roles to the limit in physicality & emotion, not to mention some excellent comic timing. I thought Malkovich was very funny and parts of his highly physical performance reminded me of Jim Carrey or Chris Farley (only in a more dramatic sense) - this movie being released in 1983. The technical quality doesn't look much better than a current high-end camcorder, but the acting makes you forget this within a few minutes.

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