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My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R  |   |  Drama  |  29 September 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 34,975 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 151 user | 57 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

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 overview, first billed only:
William Richert ...
Rodney Harvey ...
Michael Parker ...
Jessie Thomas ...
Tom Troupe ...
Jack Favor
Sally Curtice ...
Robert Lee Pitchlynn ...


Surreal character study focusing on the friendship between two male hustlers, Mike and Scott, in Portland, Oregon. They live on the streets, do drugs, and sell themselves to men and women. Mike is quiet, gay and suffers from narcolepsy. Abandoned as a child, he is obsessed with finding his long-lost mother. Scott is the rebellious son of a high-ranking family, who lives this life mostly to embarrass his father. Mike is in love with Scott, who still maintains he is straight and insists that his wild lifestyle on the streets is only temporary. Together, they embark on a quest to find Mike's mother, traveling from Portland to Idaho to Italy, with Scott picking up a beautiful girl along the way. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


whatever it takes to have a nice day See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 September 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Caminho de Idaho  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)


$6,401,336 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The abandoned building where the hustlers squat was shot at several locations that were edited to appear contiguous. The actors would be filmed walking into a doorway at one location, then finish going through the door at another. River Phoenix challenged himself by walking through doorways while doing an unscripted action (coughing, spinning, tripping) that he would be forced to finish days later at the second location. See more »


At the campfire scene, whenever the camera shows Scott, Mike's hands are hanged to each other, but whenever the camera shows Mike, he is playing with piece of wood. See more »


Scott Favor: Getting away from everything feels good.
Mike Waters: Yeah, it does.
Scott Favor: When I left home, the maid asked me where I was off to. I said "Wherever. Whatever. Have a nice day."
Mike Waters: You had a maid. If I had a normal family, and a good up-bringing, then I would have been a well-adjusted person.
Scott Favor: It depends on what you call normal.
Mike Waters: Yeah, it does. Well, you know. Normal. Like a mom and a dad and a dog, and shit like that. Normal. Normal.
Scott Favor: So, you didn't have a normal dog?
Mike Waters: No, I didn't have a dog.
Scott Favor: Didn't... or... didn't ...
See more »


Referenced in The Critic: The Pilot (1994) See more »


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

Odd, touching, River Phoenix is intensely brilliant..
10 June 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This is the movie that I sincerely hope River Phoenix will long be remembered for. His performance as the narcoleptic and confused street-hustler Mike is so perfect and touching and realistic that it makes me cry every time. Gus Van Sant's films often have a strange aura about them (see Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For) and never has it been more evident than in this oddly affecting road movie/drama. The camera shots of long horizon-spanning roads and skylines, fast-motion clouds, surreal and symbolic shots of houses and rushing rivers provide the film with a strange almost other-worldly charm. Interspersed with the gritty realism of life on the streets of Portland Oregon in the early 90's, and (stranger still) Shakespeare. Some of the plot (Bob and Scott mainly) is based on the Shakespeare play Henry IV (with Keanu Reeves playing the Prince Hal character of Scott, and William Richert playing the Falstaff-like role of "King-Of-The-Streets" Bob.) It's a fascinating, touching and very successful blend of styles overall. The big themes (the search for love and belonging) are conveyed in a very interesting and genuinely moving manner. I particularly enjoyed the symbolism and pathos the film flittingly suggests. The performances are uniformly excellent, and this movie remains one of my all-time favourites. One of the greatest (and most unique) indie movies of the 1990's.

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