- City Slickers
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Underwood Produced by Billy Crystal
Written by Lowell Ganz
Starring Billy Crystal
Music by Marc Shaiman Cinematography Dean Semler Editing by O. Nicholas Brown Studio Castle Rock Entertainment Distributed by Columbia Pictures Release date(s) June 7, 1991 Running time 112 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $26 million Box office $179,033,791
City Slickers is a 1991 American comedy film directed by Ron Underwood and starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Helen Slater and Jack Palance. Palance won an Academy Award for his performance.
The film is #73 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" and number 86 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs; it is notable for frequently interrupting its story with humorous musings on various contemporary topics. The film's plot — inexperienced cowboys battling villains as they press on with their cattle drive after the death of their leader — is similar to John Wayne's The Cowboys.
City Slickers was followed by a sequel, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, in 1994.
New Yorker Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) has just turned 39 years old, and is thick in the middle of a midlife crisis. His best friends are also having crises of their own.
Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern) is stuck managing his father-in-law's grocery store, while trapped in a sexless marriage with an overbearing wife (who leaves him after it is revealed Phil is having an affair).
Ed Furillo (Bruno Kirby) is a successful businessman and playboy, having recently married an underwear model, but is struggling with the idea of monogamous marriage and the pressure to have kids. Ed often invites his two best friends on his various adventures, which are not always appreciated by Mitch, as one year earlier he suffered a mortifying injury during a vacation to Pamplona, Spain during the running of the bulls.
At Mitch's birthday party, Phil and Ed present their joint gift: a two-week Southwestern cattle drive for all three men. After his wife insists he go, Mitch and friends travel to New Mexico, where they meet ranch owner Clay Stone (Noble Willingham) and several other participants of the cattle drive.
As they "learn the ropes" of moving a herd, the trio enter a tense encounter with the ranch's two professional cowboys, Jeff and T.R. (Kyle Secor and Dean Hallo), when they drunkenly proposition another participant, Bonnie Rayburn (Helen Slater). The standoff is abruptly halted when Curly Washburn (Jack Palance), the seasoned, tough-as-nails trail boss, lassos Jeff into a chokehold, and chastises both for being intoxicated on the job.
Curly, Jeff, T.R., and the ranch's guests begin the long drive to Colorado. Curly overhears Mitch insult him and later humiliates Mitch. After a destructive stampede is Mitch's fault, as punishment Curly chooses a fearful Mitch to ride with him in the canyons to find some stray cows. They spend the night alone and slowly begin to bond. Mitch discovers that despite Curly's tough exterior, he is a very wise man. Curly advises him how to face his problems: by concentrating on the "one thing" that is most important in his life.
The next morning, Curly and Mitch are forced to deliver a pregnant cow's calf, which Mitch names "Norman." After Curly is forced to euthanize its ailing mother by delivering a coup de grace, Mitch informally adopts the newborn.
The drive runs into trouble when Curly unexpectedly suffers a fatal heart attack. As they proceed without him, Cookie the cook (Tracey Walter) gets drunk and breaks both his legs, requiring him to be taken to a hospital. Without Curly's presence, Jeff and T.R. become freely intoxicated, goading Mitch into challenging them. Ed intervenes and Phil soon disarms both.
Fearing reprisals from Clay Stone, Jeff and T.R. abandon the group in the wilderness, leaving them with no trail boss, food or map. The remaining participants decide to abandon the herd and seek civilization, except for Ed and Phil, who despite Mitch's pleas insist on driving the herd to Colorado. The others ride on ahead, but Mitch unexpectedly returns (wearing Curly's black hat) to rejoin his fellow "city slickers."
The final test of the drive involves crossing a dangerous river. Despite a violent storm, the men successfully drive most of the herd across the river, except for Norman, who is caught up in the river's rapid current. Mitch impulsively chases after him, successfully lassoing the calf, but in turn gets caught in the rapids; seeing this, Phil and Ed race down the bank themselves and, working together, just barely save Mitch.
As the men collapse on the river bank, they all have a long laugh, having at last overcome their respective crises. From there the three easily lead the herd back to the Colorado ranch, where they are warmly received by the other participants. Clay Stone, overwhelmed, rewards the entire group, and the trio in particular, for overcoming such adversity by fully refunding their fees. To their dismay, Stone has decided to sell the cows to a meat company.
Mitch returns to New York a happier man, having realized that his "one thing" is his family. Ed returns home to tell his newlywed wife he is fine with having children, and Phil starts a new relationship with Bonnie. Mitch has spared Norman from the slaughter by purchasing him and bringing the calf home as a pet, at least until he can find a "nice petting zoo."
- Billy Crystal as Mitch Robbins
- Daniel Stern as Phil Berquist
- Bruno Kirby as Ed Furillo
- Patricia Wettig as Barbara Robbins
- Helen Slater as Bonnie Rayburn
- Jack Palance as Curly Washburn
- Noble Willingham as Clay Stone
- Tracey Walter as Cookie
- Josh Mostel as Barry Shalowitz
- David Paymer as Ira Shalowitz
- Bill Henderson as Dr. Ben Jessup
- Jeffrey Tambor as Lou
- Phill Lewis as Dr. Steven Jessup
- Kyle Secor as Jeff
- Dean Hallo as T.R.
- Karla Tamburrelli as Arlene Berquist
- Yeardley Smith as Nancy (the checkout girl who reveals her affair with Phil)
- Robert Costanzo as Sal Morelli (the rude father in Danny's class show-and-tell)
- Walker Brandt as Kim Furillo
- Molly McClure as Millie Stone
- Jane Alden as Mrs. Green
- Lindsay Crystal as Holly Robbins (Mitch's daughter; Lindsay Crystal is Billy Crystal's real life daughter)
- Jake Gyllenhaal as Danny Robbins (Mitch's son; this was Jake Gyllenhaal's film debut at age 10)
- Danielle Harris as Classroom student
- Eddie Palmer as Classroom student
- Howard Honig as Skycap
- Fred Maio as Doctor
- Jayne Meadows as the voice of Mitch's mother
- Alan Charof as the voice of Mitch's father
- Frank Welker as Norman the calf (voice)
The film received mostly positive reviews with a "Fresh" score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Jack Palance, for his role as Curly, took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the only Oscar nomination the film received. His acceptance speech for the award is best remembered for his demonstration of one-armed push-ups, which he claimed convinced studio insurance agents that he was healthy enough to work on the film.
Awards and honors
American Film Institute recognition
- 2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs #86
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Jack Palance at the 1992 Academy Awards Won
- Best Supporting Actor for Jack Palance at the 49th Golden Globe Awards Won
- Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical/Comedy for Billy Crystal at the 46th Golden Globe Awards Nomination
- Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical at the 46th Golden Globe Awards Nomination
In popular culture
- The Billy Crystal episode of Muppets Tonight featured a parody entitled "City Schtickers," with Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear in Kirby and Stern's roles.
- ^ DVD & film details giving "an estimated budget of $26 million". Tower.com. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
- ^ "City Slicker (1991)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=cityslickers.htm. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- ^ The Cowboys - Similar Movies at MovieFone. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- ^ City Slickers at Rotten Tomatoes and was also a box office success. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGxL5AFzzMY
- City Slickers at the Internet Movie Database
- City Slickers at Box Office Mojo
- City Slickers at Rotten Tomatoes
Films directed by Ron Underwood 1990sTremors (1990) · City Slickers (1991) · Heart and Souls (1993) · Speechless (1994) · Mighty Joe Young (1998) 2000sThe Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) · Stealing Sinatra (2003) · Back When We Were Grownups (2004) · In the Mix (2005) · Santa Baby (2006) · The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006) · Holiday in Handcuffs (2007) · Santa Baby 2 (2009)Categories:
- 1991 films
- American films
- English-language films
- 1990s comedy films
- 1990s Western films
- American comedy-drama films
- Buddy films
- Castle Rock Entertainment films
- Columbia Pictures films
- Films featuring a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winning performance
- Films set in Colorado
- Films set in New Mexico
- Films set in New York City
- Films set in Spain
- Films shot in New Mexico
- Western (genre) comedy films
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