Variety - 06/04/1980
"...Winger is outstanding....[Travolta] has a strong screen magnetism..."
New York Times - 06/11/1980
"...URBAN COWBOY is the most entertaining, most perceptive commercial American movie of the year....First-rate..."
John Travolta and Debra Winger star in this cowboy version of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, in which all the action takes place at Gilley's country-western bar, a rough-and-tumble honky-tonk in the heart of Houston. Travolta plays Bud, a young country farmer who moves to the city to find work at an oil refinery and finds love with Sissy (Winger), a cowgirl of easy virtue and spirit. The two country-western singles fall in love on the dance floor of Gilley's and quickly marry only to discover that their workaday life is harder to cope with than they imagined, lightened only by hard-drinking weekends of glory at Gilley's, where they're both local heroes, line-dancin' and struttin' their stuff until dawn. In between crowd-pleasing rides on the club's mechanical bull, Bud and Sissy struggle to keep their new romance alive despite the competitive attentions of a new cowboy in town, a bull-riding ex-convict (Scott Glenn) who has his eye on Sissy. James Bridges's hard-driving drama glimmers with the intensity of the super saloon, capturing the wild and rough life of the modern cowboy. The soundtrack features musical performances from such greats as Bonnie Raitt, Mickey Gilley, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Rogers, and the Charlie Daniels Band.
Country Music |
Essential Cinema |
Love Story |
Personal Triumph |
The film was based on the 1978 magazine article by Aaron Latham "The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy: America's Search for True Grit" for Esquire magazine.
URBAN COWBOY is being reset for the stage and a possible run on Broadway by original writer Aaron Latham and director Philip Osterman.
Country music star Bonnie Raitt appears onstage as part of a Gilley's bar band.
The scene in which Wes (Scott Glenn) swallows and chews up a worm while drinking a bottle of tequila wasn't a part of the original script. It was a joke shot for dailies.
Patrick Swayze's wife and mother (Lisa Niemi and Patsy Swayze) choreographed the dance numbers.
The film marked the feature-film debut of actress Madolyn Smith.