Urban Cowboy (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

Urban Cowboy1980

Urban Cowboy (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Urban Cowboy Photos

Movie Info

"You a real cowboy?" John Travolta traded disco for a mechanical bull in this adaptation by James Bridges and Aaron Latham of Latham's article on Western nightlife. Texas country boy Bud (Travolta) moves to Houston to work on an oil rig with his Uncle Bob (Barry Corbin), and he swiftly becomes indoctrinated in the nighttime rituals of drinking, dancing, and showing off cowboy duds at Gilley's, the enormous local honkytonk. There he meets and marries the sassy Sissy (Debra Winger), but the honeymoon quickly ends when Sissy starts spending too much time learning the men-only skill of mechanical bull-riding from ex-con Wes (Scott Glenn); Bud throws her out and hooks up with slumming Pam (Madolyn Smith). Under the paternal tutelage of Uncle Bob, Bud then learns not only how to master the bull but also what it takes to be a real man rather than just an ersatz cowboy. With a story, cast, and setting that were essentially Saturday Night Fever country-style, Urban Cowboy was poised to be a summer 1980 hit. Although its box office did not live up to Fever's legacy, Urban Cowboy did spawn a soundtrack album of country-and-western hits and helped spur a Western fashion vogue; people from all regions began sporting cowboy boots, and mechanical bulls started replacing passé disco floors. The first of Travolta's many comebacks, Urban Cowboy provided the star with a more "manly" image after his Moment by Moment (1978) fiasco, but it was neophyte co-star Winger who got even better notices. With its Western milieu and retro view of relationships, Urban Cowboy stands as a sign of the nascent Reagan era, as '70s icon Travolta learned bull-riding himself and replaced his white polyester with a black Stetson. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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Barry Corbin
as Bob Davis
Brooke Alderson
as Corene Davis
Betty Murphy
as Bud's Mom
Ed Geldart
as Bud's Dad
Leah Geldart
as Bud's Sister
Charlie Daniels
as Musical Appearance
Keith Clemons
as Bud's Brother
Howard Norman
as Bud's Brother
Sheryl Briedel
as Bud's Cousin
Sean Lawler
as Bud's Cousin
David Ogle
as Killer
Bettye Fitzpatrick
as Sissy's Mom
Jim Gough
as Sissy's Dad
Johnny Lee
as Himself
Bonnie Raitt
as Himself
Tamara Matusian
as Gilley Background Vocalist
Becky Conway
as Gilley Background Vocalist
Sherwood Cryer
as Sherwood Cryer
Jerry Hall
as Sexy Sister
Cyndy Hall
as Sexy Sister
Lucky Mosley
as Plant Supervisor
Zetta Raney
as Chrystal
Steve Chambers
as Truck Driver
Ann Travolta
as Wedding Party Member
Anson Downes
as Wedding Party Member
W.P. Wright III
as Gilley's Bartender
Steve Strange
as Sam Strange
Connie Hanson
as Marshalene
Glenn Holtzman
as Plant Foreman
James N. Harrell
as Minister at Gravesite
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Critic Reviews for Urban Cowboy

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

As in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, [Travolta] plays a blustery, not-too-bright, young man with an electric personality that is fascinating to watch.

October 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Glenn's Wes is the only intriguing one. He's the only real cowboy in a film that's in no way capable of handling him.

April 27, 2018 | Full Review…

It's too diluted.

February 6, 2018 | Full Review…

There's no denying that this film ends up as a counterfeit endorsement of the so-called simpler so-called values.

October 17, 2017 | Full Review…

In short, the fact that all three central characters are fallible is unique as it makes the characters less archetypes and more human.

July 3, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Travolta is fine, but Winger and Glenn are the ones who truly add fire to the film.

June 14, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Urban Cowboy


A pleasant surprise. I'd read that this was one of the most popular movies from my birth year, so I watched it and immediately said it was one of the best movies I'd ever seen.

Jason Owens
Jason Owens

Super Reviewer


Another box office hit that has not withstood the ravages of time. What was once hip now seems dated and cliche'.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Very good John Travolta movie. I LOVED IT!!!

Cassie Hill
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Urban Cowboy Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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