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Urban Cowboy (1980)

Bud is a young man from the country who learns about life and love in a Houston bar.

Director:

James Bridges

Writers:

Aaron Latham (story "The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy"), James Bridges (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,057 ( 1,631)

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ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Bud
Debra Winger ... Sissy
Scott Glenn ... Wes
Madolyn Smith Osborne ... Pam (as Madolyn Smith)
Barry Corbin ... Uncle Bob
Brooke Alderson Brooke Alderson ... Aunt Corene
Cooper Huckabee ... Marshall
James Gammon ... Steve Strange
Mickey Gilley ... Mickey Gilley
Johnny Lee Johnny Lee ... Johnny Lee
Bonnie Raitt ... Bonnie Raitt
The Charlie Daniels Band The Charlie Daniels Band ... The Charlie Daniels Band
Betty Murphy ... Bud's Mom
Ed Geldart Ed Geldart ... Bud's Dad
Leah Geldart Leah Geldart ... Bud's Sister
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Storyline

Bud Davis is a country boy who moves to the city to visit his uncle and his family. He starts hanging out at Gilley's, the popular nightclub owned by Mickey Gilley himself. He takes a job at the oil refinery where his uncle works, hoping to save enough money to buy some land. He also meets a cowgirl named Sissy, they dance together, fall in love and suddenly get married. And then their marriage is shattered when Bud sees Sissy allegedly seeing con man Wes, who teaches her how to ride the mechanical bull... and plans to rob Gilley's. When a bull-riding contest at Gilley's is announced, Bud decides to sign up. Can he win the contest and save his marriage to Sissy? Written by watzdabigdeal <watzdabigdeal@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hard hat days and honky-tonk nights.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 June 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Urban Cowboy See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$53,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Evans sent Debra Winger back from location because he did not think she was attractive enough for the lead; it was only at the insistence of Director James Bridges that she did the role. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film Bud is headed east on Memorial Drive towards downtown Houston. Practically speaking he would not be on this road when driving from Spur to Pasadena, Tx as Spur is North of Houston and Pasadena is far east of downtown. If he happened to be coming from the west he would be traveling on Interstate 10. Memorial drive would be out of his way. See more »

Quotes

Bud: All cowboys ain't dumb. Some of 'em got smarts real good, like me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version that NBC ran in 1983 had about 12 minutes of out-take put back, to expand the film for a three-hour time slot. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crap Shoot: The Documentary (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Moon Just Turned Blue
Written by JD Souther
Performed by JD Souther
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Days In The Oil Fields, Nights At Gilley's
9 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

For Urban Cowboy John Travolta plays one of the stronger alpha males ever portrayed on the big screen. He's a decent enough young kid who leaves his parent's homestead and strikes out for the big city of Dallas where his uncle Barry Corbin has promised to find him work in the petrochemical industry. In 1980 that was beginning to boom and Texas was definitely a growing place in the USA.

Travolta does a good job in making we the audience care about his character who when you come right down to it is a sexist pig. He meets and marries Debra Winger who's from the same background, but she's got some ideas that women should not be shadows of their men. And when she beats him at Gilley's mechanical bull, a man's game, that's it for him.

Scott Glenn who's an ex-convict is working at Gilley's and this film was his breakout role. He's a real snake in Urban Cowboy, he gets Travolta's goat with a mere look and he moves in on Winger. Travolta in turn takes up with rich girl, Madolyn Smith Osborne who's slumming at Gilley's.

Despite the characters, Urban Cowboy was really one gigantic commercial for the self-styled biggest honky tonk in the world. Gilley's is no longer there in the suburban Texas community of Pasadena, but the memories do live on. And the best thing about Urban Cowboy is the wonderful score of country/western songs that were featured in the film. I'm not sure if some of the songs were not written specifically for Urban Cowboy, but it's the only reason I can think of why the Motion Picture Academy ignored the musical aspects of this film. I especially liked Johnny Lee's Looking For Love, if it was specifically written for this film, it's a disgrace that it wasn't nominated for Best Song.

I liked Debra Winger's character best in this film. She doesn't lose a trace of femininity, but she stands up to Travolta and does it in style. And this review is dedicated to that yet as unknown woman who will one day be the first woman bull-rider in the Professional Bull Riders.


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