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Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

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A pharmacy-robbing dope fiend and his crew pop pills and evade the law.

Director:

Gus Van Sant (as Gus Van Sant Jr.)

Writers:

James Fogle (novel), Gus Van Sant (screenplay) (as Gus Van Sant Jr.) | 1 more credit »
12 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Dillon ... Bob
Kelly Lynch ... Dianne
James Le Gros ... Rick
Heather Graham ... Nadine
Eric Hull Eric Hull ... Druggist
Max Perlich ... David
James Remar ... Gentry
John Kelly John Kelly ... Cop
Grace Zabriskie ... Bob's Mother
George Catalano ... Trousinski
Janet Baumhover Janet Baumhover ... Neighbor Lady
Ted D'Arms Ted D'Arms ... Neighbor Man
Neal Thomas Neal Thomas ... Halamer
Stephen Rutledge Stephen Rutledge ... Motel Manager
Beah Richards ... Drug Counselor
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Storyline

A group of drug users in the 1970's help finance their habit by robbing drug stores. Matt Dillon's character is very superstitious and eventually his luck runs out. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A gyógyszertári cowboy See more »

Filming Locations:

Beacon Rock, Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,805, 9 October 1989

Gross USA:

$4,729,352

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,729,352
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Avenue Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Drugstore Cowboy (1989) was #3 on Gene Siskel 's list of the "Best Films of 1989." See more »

Goofs

HBO sign visible outside the hotel. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bob: I was once a shameless full-time dope fiend.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Home-video-style footage of the characters plays during almost the entire end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

I Am
Music & Lyrics by Roky Erickson
Produced by Craig Luckin & Karl Derfler
Performed by Roky Erickson & Jack Johnson
Courtesy of Restless/Pink Dust Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A poignant but realistic look at the drug subculture
18 May 2002 | by csm23See all my reviews

If you're one of the so-called `art-film' aficionados who was disappointed, as I was, by Requiem for a Dream (and even if you weren't), you'll love Drugstore Cowboy. Directed by the man who gave us such classics as To Die For and Good Will Hunting, Drugstore Cowboy is, without doubt, Van Sant's greatest work. It's a magnificent time capsule from the early seventies, having no reference to the Vietnam War, Kent State, or any other icon of the period. It's purely about the drug subculture.

Set along the affluent north Atlantic seaboard, where pharmacies and drugstores litter the urban landscape, the drama revolves around four friends who support their drug habits by robbing the official dispensaries of addictive substances. An interesting and compelling setup all by itself, in lesser hands, the script and action would be enough to produce a decent flick; but, it goes way beyond that. Matt Dillon gives what I think is his best performance ever, a perfectly charming substance abuser who has created a little cocoon of a world all to himself. Like little moons revolving around his dreamy and sometimes terrifying little world, the drugstores he stalks all promise a one-way trip to a different place. As viewers, we're all sucked in by the gravity of his world, such that we even begin to understand and believe his peculiar little superstitious rituals. In this special existence, they make sense. To transgress against the rules is to court disaster. And like Adam in the garden, he eventually breaks his own rules, and pays the price.

But it's a fortunate fall from grace. Drugstore Cowboy is completely realistic in its portrayal of the full-blown addict's hitting rock bottom, an experience that is foundational in the wisdom of AA. The recovery scenes are moving in their sincerity and simplicity, none of which is sugarcoated or saccharine. And yet, the recovery scenes are both joyous and heartbreakingly poignant. God, what a great movie.


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