7.1/10
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My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R | | Drama | 20 July 1991 (Japan)
Trailer
2:16 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Gus Van Sant

Writer:

Gus Van Sant (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,262 ( 1,114)
9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
River Phoenix ... Mike Waters
Keanu Reeves ... Scott Favor
James Russo ... Richard Waters
William Richert ... Bob Pigeon
Rodney Harvey ... Gary
Chiara Caselli ... Carmella
Michael Parker Michael Parker ... Digger
Jessie Thomas Jessie Thomas ... Denise
Flea ... Budd
Grace Zabriskie ... Alena
Tom Troupe ... Jack Favor
Udo Kier ... Hans
Sally Curtice Sally Curtice ... Jane Lightwork
Robert Lee Pitchlynn Robert Lee Pitchlynn ... Walt
Mickey Cottrell ... Daddy Carroll
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | German

Release Date:

20 July 1991 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

My Own Private Idaho See more »

Filming Locations:

Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,401,336

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,401,336
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo | Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Alphacine)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song, to which Udo Kier sings along, was part of Kier's cabaret act. Usually, he would sing along to the tape, while using a flashlight as a microphone. Gus Van Sant changed it, to avoid comparisons to Blue Velvet (1986). See more »

Goofs

In Scott and Bob's final scene together, Bob says Scottie's wearing a three-piece suit, but we see him wearing a two-piece suit. See more »

Quotes

Mike Waters: [First lines, mumbled to self, counting seconds, looking at pocket watch] 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10...
[Coughs]
Mike Waters: I always know where I am by the way that the road looks. Like I just know that I've been here before. I just know that I've been stuck here, like this one f**king time before, you know that? Yeah. There's not another road anywhere that looks like this road - I mean, exactly like this road. It's one kind of place. One of a kind... like someone's face...
[cracks neck]
Mike Waters: like a f**ked up face.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Autopsy: The Last Hours of: River Phoenix (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Deep Night
Words and Music by Charles Henderson
Performed by Rudy Vallee
Courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. and the RCA Records label of BMG Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
My Own Private Idaho
5 December 2007 | by jazzpiano-See all my reviews

Mike (River Phoenix) has narcolepsy, and whenever he feels super-stressed he suffers what I interpret to be attacks of cataplexy, that is, sleep triggered by heightened emotions. His friend, would-be lover and fellow male prostitute, Scott (Keanu Reeves), has a rich dad who's going to leave him a hefty sum when he turns 21. These two characters are the main focus of "My Own Private Idaho" which deals with common and uncommon themes, such as home, sexual identity and love. Van Sant throws in some Shakespearean language plagiarised straight from Henry IV and a non-linear narrative and you've got one very cute surrealist indie film.

The credits to this film are it's director and star, River Phoenix, whose understated and moving performance lifts this film above the trash it easily could've been in another director or actor's hands. Van Sant uses symbols to represent emotional states and his use of special effects is limited and effective. There is some really heartfelt dialogue in this movie, especially the much-mentioned camp-fire scene.

This film can be irritating; sometimes the Shakespearean dialogue doesn't work (and it's okay to admit that a near-perfect film like this has flaws) and Reeves is sometimes a little stiff. The film is mostly redeemed by its bitter-sweet ending and fun opening titles.

I'm not going to tackle any issues in this film because I just don't have the energy. Just appreciate the film for what it is and have a nice day. :)


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