Urban Cowboy

  • Film
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In Hollywood parlance, Urban Cowboy is just like Saturday Night Fever but completely different. It began life as a factual article in Esquire about the weekend cowboys of Houston, who live a split existence between their factories and the fantasy world of the honky-tonk bars. Bridges builds this material into a well acted, eye-catching romance about the aspirations and romances of a new kid in town (Travolta). But the stream of incidents and pick-ups around the mechanical rodeo bull in the ballroom cannot disguise the fact that the film badly lacks a central narrative hook. It is too obviously a starring vehicle, and - unlike Saturday Night Fever, which did present some insights into a subculture - its major events are crudely imposed on the setting. In fact, the film's virtues derive not from Travolta at all, but from Bridges' obvious enjoyment of the country milieu, and the fine performances he wins from Travolta's co-stars. Debra Winger, as his wife, lends her part far more spirit and sympathy than the writing deserves; but the trump card is Scott Glenn as the villain, looking uncannily like a new Eastwood.

Release details

Duration: 135 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James Bridges
Screenwriter: James Bridges, Aaron Latham
Cast: John Travolta
Debra Winger
Scott Glenn
Madolyn Smith
Barry Corbin
Brooke Alderson
Cooper Huckabee
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