40th Anniversary Edition review by Bobby Blakey
Few actors have had a dual career of sorts like John Travolta. Through the 70s and 80s he was a big star and then had a resurgence in the 90s once again becoming a massive bankable star. During his first successful run in 1980 he starred in the flick Urban Cowboy costarring Debra Winger, Scott Glenn, and Barry Corbin alongside appearances with some of the biggest country music stars of the time. Now Paramount is bringing the classic flick to Blu-ray for the first time with a new 40th Anniversary Edition.
Urban Cowboy follows Bud Davis, a country boy who moves to the city to visit his uncle and his family. He starts hanging out at Gilley's, the popular nightclub owned by Mickey Gilley himself. He takes a job at the oil refinery where his uncle works, hoping to save enough money to buy some land and meets a cowgirl named Sissy and falls in love. Their marriage is shattered when Bud sees Sissy allegedly seeing con man Wes, who teaches her how to ride the mechanical bull... and plans to rob Gilley's. When a bull-riding contest at Gilley's is announced, Bud decides to sign up in hopes to win the contest and save his marriage to Sissy.
This might surprise most, but for whatever reason this movie was on heavy rotation for me as a kid. Not sure why but I have always loved it, but haven’t revisited it in years. Sitting down to watch this new version release brought back all those feelings and nostalgia and I found I like the movie even more now. Maybe it’s being older and understanding more of all the deeper meanings here and there are a lot. The story while feeling like a country western version of Saturday Night Fever, is dealing with so many things. There is of course the journey of Budd trying to find his way in life and love, Sissy trying to hold her marriage together while feeling held back and often times abused and Wes who has his own agenda through it all.
These add more depth to the film than you might think both good and bad. There is sadly a lot of mental and physical relationship abuse which is a big catalyst to a lot of growth and destruction to the direction of the characters.
This is all held together through the back drop of the famed Gilley’s country western bar that was legendary in its own right. This set the stage for dancing, bull riding, drinking, fighting and varying performances from Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Daniels and Mickey Gilley himself to name a few. I am far from a country music fan, but have always love “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” and upon revisiting this film and pretty sure this is where I was introduced to it and stuck with me ever since.
This is a great film full of everything you could want in a drama and while it is very 80s held up better than I expected. Whether you haven’t seen it or just revisiting it grab your copy of Urban Cowboy 40th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray for the first time ever available now from Paramount Home Entertainment.