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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.



3,746 ( 115)
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


Wherever, whatever, have a nice day. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





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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?


An early version of the script was set primarily in Las Vegas. 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 »


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 The Critic: The Pilot (1994) See more »


Words and Music by Madonna
Performed by Madonna
Courtesy of Sire Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
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User Reviews

You're getting sleepy...
15 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

I'm not quite sure what to make of 'My Own Private Idaho.' I am aware of it's huge cult following and that makes me want to like it more than I did, or at least give some thought as to why I didn't think as highly of it as many others did.

Gus Van Sant is a hit or miss director - Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, and Good Will Hunting were all excellent, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and his Psycho remake were horrendous - and I hate to say that I'm leaning more towards the miss column with 'My Own Private Idaho.' The best way I can put this film is that it seems like there are too many cooks making the soup and all the ingredients have been served better. Van Sant wants to make this a road movie, a comedy, a coming-of-age movie, a Shakespeare play, a surreal picture... I feel like he's taken the best elements of 'Easy Rider', 'Pixote', and 'Henry V' and mangled them.

River Phoenix is excellent though, he's the best part of the film and I give the credit solely to him. Why? Because ever other performance just isn't very good. Reeves seems uncomfortable in almost every scene whether it's quoting Shakespeare or lying shirtless in bed with Phoenix, he can't pull off what this movie wants. Neither can Richert as the leader of the band of hustlers - who comes across so over the top and theatrical that as a contrast to Phoenix's mellow/realistic hustler it just doesn't work. The problem with taking dialogue straight from Henry IV is for one it's awfully hard to top the Bard for writing. Two; you need actors who can deliver it well.

Van Sant has imagination and the visuals in the film are breathtaking. The movie starts off extremely well, but it's obvious that he had little control of the script or the actors and in the end that kills the movie.

Very surprising that Phoenix didn't pick up an Oscar nomination.

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