7.1/10
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156 user 62 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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Rodney Harvey ...
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Michael Parker ...
Jessie Thomas ...
Denise
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Tom Troupe ...
Jack Favor
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Sally Curtice ...
Robert Lee Pitchlynn ...
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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:

This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$68,542, 6 October 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,401,336
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Alphacine)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The time-lapse footage is meant to represent the dreams and flashbacks of River Phoenix' character during his narcoleptic episodes. The old super-8 footage was written into the script, but the time-lapse footage of nature was not. Cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards shot it himself using unused film left over from the day's shooting. Gus Van Sant didn't learn about it, until production was nearly complete. 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

Scott Favor: When you wake up, wipe the slugs off your face. Be ready for a new day!
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Connections

Featured in Author: The JT LeRoy Story (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Many Colors
Words and Music by Aleka's Attic
Performed by Aleka's Attic
Courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

. This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world.
9 July 1999 | by 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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