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The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

A town's Sheriff and regular patron of a historical whorehouse fights to keep it running when a television reporter targets it as the Devil's playhouse.

Director:

Colin Higgins

Writers:

Larry L. King (play), Peter Masterson (play) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
1,749 ( 2,497)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd
Dolly Parton ... Mona Stangley
Dom DeLuise ... Melvin
Charles Durning ... Governor
Jim Nabors ... Deputy Fred
Robert Mandan ... Senator Wingwood
Lois Nettleton ... Dulcie Mae
Theresa Merritt ... Jewel
Noah Beery Jr. ... Edsel (as Noah Beery)
Raleigh Bond Raleigh Bond ... Mayor
Barry Corbin ... C.J.
Ken Magee Ken Magee ... Mansel
Mary Jo Catlett ... Rita
Mary Louise Wilson ... Modene
Howard K. Smith ... Howard K. Smith
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Storyline

Founded in 1910 just outside of the city limits of Gilbert located in Lanville County, Texas, the Chicken Ranch has for generations been known as the best little whorehouse in Texas for its wholesome fun, strict moral code, and cleanliness, all perpetuated by its original owner, Miss Wulla Jean. Seven years ago, Miss Wulla Jean died, leaving the Chicken Ranch to her favorite working girl, Miss Mona Stangley, who wants to keep the same traditions of Miss Wulla Jean. The Chicken Ranch has always had the unofficial blessing of the local authorities, who see the ranch providing an important community service, one which most in local authority have used at one time or another in their lives. In fact, Miss Mona and Lanville County Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd have been in a relationship for years, Ed Earl, who is Miss Mona's protector, albeit one with a hot temper and good ol' boy attitude that doesn't exactly match the needs of his law upholding position. That blessing may change when television ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

With Burt and Dolly this much fun just couldn't be legal!

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La mejor casita de placer See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,874,268, 25 July 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$69,701,637
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton negotiated their contracts as a team, demanding a six million dollar salary between them, and each refused to star in the film without the other. See more »

Goofs

During the song "Little Bitty Pissant Country Place", Dolly welcomes some gentleman callers. She says "well howdy boys" and walks towards them smiling. Her mouth is clearly visible and she is not speaking but we hear her saying. "It's good to see you. Nice to meet you." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Deputy Fred: It was the nicest little whorehouse you ever saw!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The use of the word "Whorehouse" in the title caused controversy. In Canada, TV ads for the film bleeped the word, and in some locales the name of the film was changed to Best Little Cathouse in Texas. Network and non-cable TV versions use a differently edited opening credits sequence to remove nudity and sex. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Venture Bros.: Victor. Echo. November. (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

I Will Always Love You
Written and Performed by Dolly Parton
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Texas Institution
13 December 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Texas county where Burt Reynolds is sheriff has only one thing that makes it stand out from all the other counties in the state. And I'm not referring to Dolly Parton's 40Ds. It's rather the old and established institution of the Chicken Ranch, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Or maybe west of the Mississippi truth be told, if everyone left there as happy as they seem.

This film is a real gem, a timely and historical film as well as a fun country musical. The story is a true one, the names changed to protect the innocent as that other American institution used to say. Although few people but Dom DeLuise seem to have their innocence intact in this film.

In this county west of Houston for over 100 years servicing the veterans of five wars was the Chicken Ranch, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. It's existence was the most open secret in the state and everyone seemed happy with the arrangement. In fact the current owner, Dolly Parton, is a valued member of the community, paying her taxes and giving of money and time to community endeavors. She runs a disease free establishment and insists that of her customers.

But this was the time the Moral Majority was flexing it's muscles in the person of Dom DeLuise. He's really quite the scream as the crusading reporter going to close this den of vice and corruption. He stirs up quite the hornet's nest in the state.

Best scene of the film is the annual party for the winner of the Texas A&M, University of Texas football game. Those Aggies play hard and plow hard. And that's the night when DeLuise and his television crew decide to pull their own raid. The party is hosted by State Senator Robert Mandan playing the part in his best sanctimonious tradition.

Of course he pales beside Charles Durning as the governor of Texas. Durning was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and his political credo of never saying anything is embodied in that wonderful Sidestep number he has. Durning looks like he's having a great old time.

Carol Hall wrote the rollicking score for The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and Dolly Parton also had the good sense to get a couple of her songs interpolated in the film, one of them her beloved I Will Always Love You. For all her good works Dolly is still the Madame of a bordello and that fact prevents her from being taken too seriously by Burt Reynolds as marriage material.

I'm sure the film was not a favorite of the late Jerry Falwell, DeLuise lampoons him so viciously. It is an entertaining reminder of times that sad to say haven't gone altogether away.


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