Urban Cowboy

One of my favorite films of all time is Urban Cowboy. Maybe it’s the western gear, or the relationship between Bud and Sissy (Travolta and Winger), but I can’t watch it enough. I found some really interesting trivia on the film. Can you believe it was made in 1980? Where has the time gone? Do you have any memories or likes of the film?
–Patrick Swayze’s wife and mother (Lisa Niemi and Patsy Swayze) choreographed the dance sequences.
–John Travolta had a mechanical bull installed in his home two months before production began. He became so good that he was allowed to dismiss the stunt double and do the takes himself.
–The scene where Wes chews up and swallows the worm after drinking the bottle of tequila was not scripted, but a joke done for the dailies.
–At the time the film was shot, Gilley’s, used as the film’s main nightclub location was the largest nightclub in the world in terms of available space for the patrons, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
–Michelle Pfeiffer auditioned for the role of Sissy and was producer Robert Evans’ preferred choice.
–Patrick Swayze taught John Travolta how to do the two-step for the movie.
–Studio executives were against casting Debra Winger in the lead role at first. Director James Bridges threatened to quit the film unless she was cast. They eventually approved the casting.
–The script twas originally written for Dennis Quaid.
–Robert Evans sent Debra Winger back from location because he did not think she was attractive enough for the lead; it was only at the insistence of director James Bridges that she did the role.
–The soundtrack album was a major hit. It sold several million copies and featured the hit tunes “Looking for Love”, “Can I Have This Dance?” and “All Night Long”.
–The 1967 Ford Mustang that Sissy drove in this movie now resides in Evans City, PA (near Pittsburgh). It is owned by two brothers and is often seen in local car shows.
–According to Debra Winger’s book, she only got the part after Sissy Spacek, who originally was cast, had a falling out with Travolta.
–The prison rodeo scene is authentic and was shot at the Huntsville Texas state prison. The prison held a rodeo from 1931 to 1986.
–Rene Russo screentested for the female lead.
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  1. Ha, we were just discussing this movie with our neighbor a couple of days ago. She had a Mickey Gilley’s t-shirt on. She’s a bit older than I am and a Houston native. I haven’t thought about that movie in years and twice in one week it’s brought to my attention. Maybe a sign that I need to rent it. You know that the scene where Travolta is standing in the back yard at his aunt’s house? That’s in Pasadena, TX. That’s where Gilly’s is located. Was located. Gilly’s burned down nearly 20 yrs ago or more (locals say for insurance money). It’s built up over on that side of Houston. No more open fields like on the movie (huge oil refineries and freeways). Not a great part of town. Interesting post.

  2. ..the big thing I remember about this movie was that my mom ‘made’ be buy the soundtrack to it…at the time, not overtly interested in the tunes, but after years of gaining wisdom and mellowness, I have found it is a VERY good soundtrack, top-to-bottom… of course, primarily country – country/western stuff, but nothing which would be classified as ‘filler’…

    As for the movie, it’s pretty good… but at the end of the day, from what I remember, somewhat of a ‘chick flick’… not that’s there’s anything WRONG with that… (heck, most ALL of Ginger’s movies could be classified as such…) :-} But, glad y’all enjoy this one!!! No doubt Travolta was a pretty happening dude at that time…
    …And seriously, GREAT job with all the info, Kori!


  3. I love this movie Kori…I think it’s very sexy…Also, just a little bit of trivia…The scenes of a trailer park were shot in a real trailer park in Pico Rivera. It runs along the riverbed. How do I know? I grew up in Pico and it was the talk of the town back then…I have friends who got Johns autograph….so much fun!


  4. Hey girl! Sorry I haven’t been commenting, but I have definitely been reading! Can you believe I’ve never seen this one?! I really like the little bits of trivia. You should see “Searching for Debra Winger” if you haven’t already. VERY eye-opening. Later!

  5. Hi,my dear Kori!-)*

    You amazed me again with you beutiful knowlege about all films and almost all stars…
    This is really SO good!

    I am not good in those kind things,but Travolta is one of my faivs acters!-)*

    Thank you for you dropping by me and you lovely comment,my dear friend!

    With love and hugs,


  6. I loved this movie! While reading Patrick’s book I learned that his wife and mother were involved in this movie. I just watched it a few weeks ago. And I still love it!

  7. I love this movie too! Josh and I always joke and say we are going to get Bud and Sissy plates for his jeep! lol….

    I can’t imagine anybody but Winger playing Sissy now but those were some great actress that could have been.

  8. Wow Rene Russo would have been a whole different movie.

    I loved this movie too. So many great movies by Travolta about that era.

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