Urban Cowboy

Released 1980


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Movie Summary

James Bridges
Urban Cowboy is a 1980 romance starring John Travolta and Debra Winger as temperamental Texas lovers trying to work out their differences. Bud Davis (John Travolta) moves in with his Uncle Bob (Barry Corbin) to make some money during the Houston oil boom. He soon becomes a fixture at the local bar, Gilley's, where the local workers enjoy line dancing, heavy drinking and mechanical bull riding. Sissy (Debra Winger) asks him for a dance, and the two soon begin a passionate affair. After the couple moves in together, they begin to clash. Bud expects Sissy to behave like a traditional woman, but independent Sissy has no interest in a domestic lifestyle. After the couple breaks up, Sissy begins a relationship with Wes (Scott Glenn) and Bud dates Pam (Madolyn Smith). Both Bud and Sissy spend their nights at Gilley's, which eventually leads to a life-changing confrontation. James Bridges ("The China Syndrome") directs this country music-infused romance, which includes performances from Bonnie Raitt and The Charlie Daniels Band.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    John Travolta stars as a Texas construction worker who spends his nights chasing a woman and the cowboy myth in a huge honky-tonk bar. Debra Winger is a standout as the object of T...

  • 63

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jay Scott

    At no time is Urban Cowboy especially well-directed - Bridges, director of The China Syndrome and The Paper Chase, has yet to learn where to put a camera and when to move it. But t...

  • 50

    Time Out London

    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 ma...

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Love & Romance