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My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R | | Drama | 20 July 1991 (Japan)
2:36 | Trailer

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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.



3,116 ( 630)
9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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:

20 July 1991 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A Caminho de Idaho  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$68,542, 6 October 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the many re-writes, Gus Van Sant wrote one version as a stage play. Not with any interest in staging it, just out of boredom of writing a screenplay over and over. See more »


When Bob approaches Scott in the bar near the end of the film, two marks of black gaffer tape can be seen on the floor. See more »


Bob Pigeon: Are you not a coward? Answer that, and that goes double!
Mike Waters: You're calling me a coward? You fat duck!
Bob Pigeon: I'd give a thousand dollars to be able to run as fast as you can.
Mike Waters: It'll never happen Bob.
See more »


Referenced in Drexell's Class: My Own Private Iowa (1992) See more »


Bachu Ber
Traditional Dauphinoise Melody
Performed by Jean G. Poulot (as Jean Poulot) and Jamie Haggerty
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User Reviews

Odd, touching, River Phoenix is intensely brilliant..
10 June 2001 | by 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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