Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (film)

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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
The poster features Uma Thurman squatting along a highway with her thumb out hitch-hiking
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Produced by Gus Van Sant
Laurie Parker
Eric McLeod
Screenplay by Gus Van Sant
Based on Even Cowgirls Get the Blues 
by Tom Robbins
Starring Uma Thurman
Lorraine Bracco
Angie Dickinson
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita
Keanu Reeves
John Hurt
Rain Phoenix
Narrated by Tom Robbins
Music by k.d. lang
Ben Mink
Cinematography John J. Campbell
Eric Alan Edwards
Edited by Curtiss Clayton
Gus Van Sant
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release dates
  • September 13, 1993 (1993-09-13) (TIFF)
  • May 20, 1994 (1994-05-20)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $1,708,873[2]

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a 1993 American comedy-drama-romance film based on Tom Robbins' 1976 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant (credited as Gus Van Sant, Jr.) and starred an ensemble cast led by Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Angie Dickinson, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, Keanu Reeves, John Hurt, and Rain Phoenix. Robbins himself was the narrator. The soundtrack was sung entirely by k.d. lang. The film was dedicated to the late River Phoenix.


The film tells the story of Sissy Hankshaw, a woman born with a mutation (she would not call it a defect) giving her enormously large thumbs. The film is a transgressive romp, covering topics from homosexuality and free love to drug use and political rebellion to animal rights and body odor and religions. Sissy makes the most of her thumbs by becoming a hitchhiker. Her travels take her to New York, where she becomes a model for a transvestite feminine hygiene products mogul who introduces her to the man whom she will marry, a staid Mohawk named Julian Gitche. In her later travels, she encounters, among many others, a sexually open cowgirl named Bonanza Jellybean and an itinerant escapee from the Japanese internment camps happily mislabeled "The Chink".



Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was shot throughout Oregon: Portland, Terrebonne, Sisters, and Bend.


The film was a critical and commercial failure. After its world premiere in September 1993 at the 1993 Toronto International Film Festival, the film was set to open, but due to the negative response, it was delayed for more editing. The film opened in wide release on May 20, 1994 and grossed a mere $1,708,873[2] on an estimated $8 million budget. It currently holds a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Home media[edit]

The film was released on Region 1 DVD on November 2, 2004, containing its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It received a second DVD release in the United States from UCA on April 6, 2010, now in a new cropped 1.78:1 widescreen version.

In 2007, the film received its first DVD release in the UK from Universal Home Entertainment in a 1.33:1 full frame version.


Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Soundtrack album by k.d. lang
Released November 2, 1993 (1993-11-02)
Genre Country
Label Rhino
k.d. lang chronology
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
All you Can Eat
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B[4]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[5]
NME (8/10)[6]
Q 4/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau (neither)[7]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[8]

The soundtrack was released on November 2, 1993 by Rhino Records. k.d. lang performed the music. The album was composed by k.d. lang and Ben Mink.[9] The soundtrack went top 10 in Australia and top 5 in New Zealand (#10 and #4, respectively), and also peaked at #82 on the Billboard 200 in the United States.[10]

  1. "Just Keep Me Moving" (3:56)
  2. "Much Finer Place" (0:51)
  3. "Or Was I" (3:07)
  4. "Hush Sweet Lover" (4:05)
  5. "Myth" (4:08)
  6. "Apogee" (0:37)
  7. "Virtual Vortex" (0:44)
  8. "Lifted by Love" (3:02)
  9. "Overture" (2:03)
  10. "Kundalini Yoga Waltz" (1:07)
  11. "In Perfect Dreams" (3:07)
  12. "Curious Soul Astray" (3:40)
  13. "Ride of Bonanza Jellybean" (1:47)
  14. "Don't Be a Lemming Polka" (2:17)
  15. "Sweet Little Cherokee" (2:48)
  16. "Cowgirl Pride" (1:47)

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Albums 6
Canadian RPM Top Albums 47
U.S. Billboard 200 82

See also[edit]


External links[edit]