7.1/10
38,678
153 user 61 critic

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R | | Drama | 20 July 1991 (Japan)
Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

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9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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William Richert ...
Rodney Harvey ...
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Carmella
Michael Parker ...
Digger
Jessie Thomas ...
Denise
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Budd
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Tom Troupe ...
Jack Favor
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Sally Curtice ...
Robert Lee Pitchlynn ...
Walt
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Storyline

Mike Waters lives on the street and befriends the somewhat older and streetwise Scott Favor who shows him what is necessary to survive. Waters suffers from narcolepsy and can fall asleep at any moment and in almost any circumstance. Favor comes from a rich family and is rebelling against his own background. They travel together extensively - Waters is driven by the need to find his biological mother - and spend time in Italy. Later in life however, Favor has joined mainstream society and has little time for his old friend. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not where you go, it's how you get there. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sensuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

20 July 1991 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A Caminho de Idaho  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$6,401,336 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Alphacine)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gus Van Sant was very thankful for the time-lapse photography Eric Alan Edwards shot. He realized in editing that the William Shakespeare language felt very out of place next to the hard reality of other scenes. Cutting in the time-lapse footage gave the film an element of surreality where the antiquated dialogue fit right in. See more »

Goofs

When Mike and Scott are biking it to Idaho, and Scott is having trouble starting the bike, the bike is steady on its stand in the front shot, when Scott is still astride it. When Scott hands the bike over to Mike, and the shot is from behind, Scott's hands are back on the handlebars, they were on the tank, and the bike is not on the stand. See more »

Quotes

Jane Lightwork: I'm the one who heard him cry out last night. He said "God, God, God..." three or four times. And when I got there I put my hand into the bed and felt his feet. And they were cold as stone. And I checked the rest of his body. And it too was as cold as stone...
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Connections

Referenced in Tarnation (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Mr. Klein
Music Composed by Tom Dokoupil
Lyrics by Udo Kier
Performed by Udo Kier and Tom Dokoupil
Courtesy of Whitehouse Music
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User Reviews

. This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world.
9 July 1999 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie isn't about being, or even about being a hustler. "My Own Private Idaho" is about finding a home. In his finest performance, River Phoenix plays Mike, a narcoleptic street hustler with false memories of a terrific childhood. Mike wants to find his mother and family, but how or why he left them is never discussed. This is a movie that shows life at the lowest rung, and is very similar to Kerouac's "On the Road" and especially John Rechy's "City of Night." (In fact the line about becoming a fairy is straight from "City of Night"). Mike and Scott (Keanu Reeves) are both male prostitutes in Oregon. Why either of them have drifted into this profession is anyone's guess. Scott is clearly not gay, but Mike might be and their relationship is what holds the movie together. The film works on many levels, but does have its flaws. It's faux-Shakespearen scenes make the film drag in the middle. Van Sant directed the movie like a dream, which is what Mike's life basically is.

This is a haunting and very sad tale about friendship and finding a home. The performances, especially Phoenix and Udo Kier and Van Sant's dream-like direction are what you remember. "My Own Private Idaho" may be a flawed film, but in my opinion, it is one of the very best of the '90's.


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