Follow TV Tropes


Film / Urban Cowboy

Go To
Urban Cowboy is 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 73% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing almost $47 million in the United States alone, recovering Travolta from the 1978 flop Moment By Moment.

Provides examples of:

  • Berserk Button: Discovering Wes' abuse of Sissy does not sit well with Bud, to put it lightly.
  • 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 justified.
  • 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.