Urban Cowboy Movie Behind The Scenes

Making Urban Cowboy



Go behind the scenes on the 1980 Drama movie starring John Travolta, Debra Winger, Scott Glenn More Cast

We believe the following info is all legit. If it's bogus or you have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Angela
John Travolta was supposed to originally have a stunt double to do the riding on the mechnical bull for him, but two months before the movie began production, Travolta had a mechanical bull installed in his home and every afternoon he worked with a trainer to master the bull riding skills and he became so good at it that they scrapped the plans for Travolta having a stunt double.. he ended up doing all his own stunts!
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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.
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Patrick Swayze's wife and mother (Lisa Niemi and Patsy Swayze) cheoreographed the dance sequences.
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Extras were paid $30 a day to "sit around and do nothing".
Thanks to Scott
The original script called for Sherwood (co-owner of Gilley's) to be the one robbed at the end of the movie in Gilley's back office. Sherwood said he wasn't about to be the one shown being robbed, claiming that when the movie was released, every cowboy in Houston would be trying his hand at robbing the place. Instead, he insisted the movie company have his real life wife be the one robbed in the scene... And thats how they did it!
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At the time, the trailer that "Sissy" and "Wes" stayed in was actually a back stage dressing room. Performers such as George Strait used it when performing at Gilley's.
Thanks to John Ruth
When John Travolta came to Houston to film Urban Cowboy he didn't know how to "Kicker Dance". Quentin Wilson a local guy who hung out at Gilley's regularly was hired to teach Travolta to dance. In the dance contest scene, Quentin is shown dancing.
Thanks to Angela
Also, Travolta hung out at Gilley's quite a bit before the filming began to get his "Texas drawl" that he used in the movie... he had to get rid of his original New York/Brooklyn accent to sound more realistic. He also went there to learn how a cowboy moves so it would help him with his mannerisms as well.
During filming, Paramount rented a big house for John Travolta in the ritzy Hunters Creek Village area of Houston. A good 45 minutes away from Pasadena. They set up a mechanical bull and some mattresses for him to practice on in the back yard. A friend of mine lived next door and we used to look over the fence and watch him practice. In the mornings John would jog through the neighborhood. He'd always wave to us kids as we waited for the school bus. We only knew him as Vinny Babarino at the time. But all the moms in the neighborhood knew him from Saturday Night Fever. As you can imagine, a lot of mothers took up jogging during his stay.
Cast/Crew Jodi C.
I was an extra in Urban Cowboy for a week when I was in middle school. My mother was an extra for the entire filming at Gilley's. I have many interesting memories from that time. The wrap party was at a farm house. It was an all day/all night affair. I remember everyone dancing and having a crazy good time in the backyard....and Debra dancing with a chicken and John Travolta playing cards in the kitchen with Johnny Lee. I had a lot of fun. Unfortunately I broke my arm the next day...but when I went to the doctor was the one who put the cast on John's arm for the movie...what a coincidence! They were all very nice to the extras. They really seemed to enjoy their time in Houston.
Thanks to Jim BOBO Richardson
I was recruited by Patsy Swayze (Mother of Patrick) & James Bridges Director, to help with coordination of the mechanical bull riding scenes including the student clowns. I was a "Gilley Regular" and knew Norman Tucker, David "Killer" Olge, "Gator," "Tanker," "Big Pam," Marsha Lee, Joe Ladd w/KIKK & Arch Yancey w/KNUZ, Pam Ivey/KIKK & Hal McClain & "Buffalo Bill" Bailey both w/ KENR. Richard Wolf w/ American Hats then downtown on Louisiana Street furnished 75 of the hats that were worn in the movie, and Don Murphy aka Dons' Western Wear porvided many of the wardrobes for local movie extras. Gilley's truly was the place to be during that time and any given night, scheduled or not there would be an entertainer appear and join stage with, Kenny Dale, Johnny Lee, Mickey Gilley and/or the Bayou City Beats. There wasn't a car that ever left the parking lot of Gilleys that didn't have a bumper sticker on it! Back in those days, DWI's were not a issue, people took care of each other and the Pasadena Police truly displayed "To Protect & Serve". John T was a down to earth friendly personal guy & Debra Winger was truly everyone's "Little Sister". Yes it was a real era in time: Country began Urban and Urban went Country and we were all: "Looking for Love, in all the wrong places. Smiles across the miles & May God Bless. Yours truly Jim BOBO Richardson, 1981 Champion Rodeo Clown
Thanks to Keith Clemons
I played Travolta's little brother in the film. During the funeral scene of "Uncle Bob" Barry Corbin actually was there watching his own character's funeral. During one take, Travolta started a drum beat on top of the casket and started singing "When I Die, I May Not Go to Heaven". Then all the funeral guest joined in.
Thanks to Dana Mixx
My Uncle Mike played drums for Gilley in the Red Rose Express and Urban Cowboy Band. My mother Charolette was a regular at Gilleys and one day we went during the day and Crystal Gail was rehearsing "Don't it make my brown eyes blue". I stood in awe watching her. I sure do miss those days... :(

Next Section: Deleted Scenes

Deleted Scenes

There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.

The following missing scenes from Urban Cowboy are believed legit. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to r frausto
Before they got married, Bud was at a boot store trying to find a pair to wear before he met her parents at a church.
Thanks to r frausto
There was a scene at Milby Park where Bud was teaching her some rope tricks.
Thanks to r frausto
One deleted scene involved Bud working at a drive-in beverage mart located off of Shaver.
Thanks to Anonymous
In the tv edited version there is a scene when Sissy comes back from riding the mechanical bull & bud is soaking in the tub from his accident at work and she is looking at the bruises on her inner thighs...
Thanks to Keith Clemons
I played Travolta's little brother in the film. About a week before the shoot at the house in Deerpark, my grandfather had died. James Bridges (the director) approached me and asked how I was. I mentioned the "wake" and how everyone brought food and beer to celebrate his life. When I showed up on set, there was an entire "wake" scene added with food and beer... It was shot but never made the film.
Thanks to Lisa Stills
There was a scene where Debra Winger argued with Bud about going to Gilleys.
Thanks to Michele
I saw the version only once or twice where Bud is working after he broke his arm.

I thought he was taking money for PUMP YOUR OWN GAS and I know the logo is on his shirt he wears when Pam comes to see him the 1st time. You can see the logo when Bud is on the phone with Uncle Bob making arrangements to "come for desert".

Was it a drive up beverage mart or gas station?

Next Section: Alternate Versions

Alternate Versions

Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie on Blu-ray or DVD.

Aw, man.. We don't know of any alternate versions of "Urban Cowboy". If you know better, please add one for others to enjoy. It's quick & easy
Jump To: Filming Locations
1980 Paramount Pictures
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