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Film / Urban Cowboy

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Urban Cowboy a 1980 American western romantic drama film directed by James Bridges that captures the late 1970s and early 1980s popularity of country music with John Travolta starring in the leading role of Buford ‘Bud’ Ian Davis after Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

Bud Davis is a country boy moving to the city, visiting his uncle where he takes a job at refinery where his uncle works. Bud soon meets cowgirl Sissy (Debra Winger) and they fall in love, suddenly getting married. However, their marriage is shattered when Bud sees Sissy allegedly seeing con man Wes (Scott Glenn), who teaches her how to ride the mechanical bull and plans to rob Gilly’s. When a bull-riding contest is announced, Bud decides to sign up. Can he win the contest and save his marriage to Sissy?

The film receiving positive reviews from critics, earning a 77% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing almost $47 million in the United States alone, recovering Travolta from the 1978 flop Moment By Moment.


  • Anti-Hero: Bud himself.
  • Berserk Button: Discovering Wes' abuse of Sissy does not sit well with Bud, to put it lightly.
  • Big Bad: Wes.
  • Big Fun: Uncle Bob.
  • Due to the Dead: Bud can't begrudge Sissy for giving this to Uncle Bob when she attends his funeral, despite being on bad terms with her.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Bud and Sissy, and though they try for a divorce not long afterward, the entire film proves that for once, this is a Justified Trope.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Pam at the end of the film, realizing Bud and Sissy really do love each other, while she and Bud do not. She only assures him if he ever wants to make his wife jealous, she'll be there.
  • "I Want" Song: Mickey Gilley's cover of "Stand By Me" could be seen as a non-singing example for Bud and Sissy; both want the other to stand by them, but they're both so angry at each other, they go off with Pam and Wes to make each other jealous.
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  • Jerkass: Bud and Wes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bud.
  • Killed Off for Real: Uncle Bob.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bud and Wes, again.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Uncle Bob gets killed in an explosion after the plant is struck by lightning, his last words being giving advice to Bud.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Bud would've killed Wes without a second thought at the film's ending after discovering his abuse of Sissy.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Saturday Night Fever. Doubles as a Spiritual Antithesis, as both are films about popular genres of music that star John Travolta, but whereas Fever was about disco, a glamorous and decadent genre with roots in the nightclubs of New York City and Philadelphia, this film is about Country Music, a genre with a strong emphasis on tradition and Middle American conservatism. It is also a Lighter and Softer film than Fever, where Tony's involvement in the disco scene is presented as an escape from his real problems that ultimately doesn't work out for him, while Bud gets a happier ending.
  • Thicker Than Water: It's clear Uncle Bob and Aunt Corene don't really approve of Bud running off with Pam after more or less dumping Pam, but they still love him no matter what.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bud gets really good on the mechanical bull by the end.


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