Honkytonk Man

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Honkytonk Man
Theatrical release poster
Directed byClint Eastwood
Screenplay byClancy Carlile
Based onHonkytonk Man
by Clancy Carlile
Produced byClint Eastwood
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited by
Music bySteve Dorff
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 15, 1982 (1982-12-15)
Running time
123 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[1]
Box office$4.4 million[2]

Honkytonk Man is a 1982 American musical western comedy-drama film set in the Great Depression. Clint Eastwood, who produced and directed, stars with his son, Kyle Eastwood. Clancy Carlile's screenplay is based on his 1980 novel of the same name. This was Marty Robbins' last appearance before he died. The story of Clint's character, Red Stovall, is loosely based on the life of Jimmie Rodgers.


Itinerant western singer Red Stovall suffers from tuberculosis but has been given an opportunity to make it big at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. He is accompanied by his young nephew Whit. After a series of adventures which include the nephew's first sexual encounter in a brothel, they finally arrive.

While a fit of coughing in his audition ruins his chances, talent scouts for a record company are impressed enough to arrange a recording session, realizing that he has only days to live. The tuberculosis reaches a critical stage in the middle of this session, where Red's lines are filled in by Smokey, a side guitarist (country singer Marty Robbins in his last film role). Red eventually succumbs while Whit vows to tell his uncle's story. Red's vintage Lincoln Model K touring car, prevalent throughout the movie, finally 'dies' at the cemetery where Red is laid to rest.


Filming took place over five weeks on location.[3] The first part of the movie was filmed in Bird's Landing, California.[3] However, the majority of this feature was filmed in and around Calaveras County, east of Stockton, California. Exterior scenes include Main Street, Mountain Ranch; Main Street, Sheepranch; and the Pioneer Hotel in Sheepranch. The famous jail break scene was filmed in Dayton, Nevada at the corner of Pike Street (the Lincoln Highway) and W Main Street. The vintage brick building the movie-built jail was attached to is the Odeon Hall, where Marilyn Monroe's paddle ball and bar interior scenes were shot in The Misfits (1961). Extras were locally hired and many of the towns residents are seen in the movie.



Honkytonk Man received critical acclaim, and has a score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.[4] The New York Post wrote, "The pace is slow, very country, but it rises to touching moments...not all perfect by any means, but ultimately a story of occasional awkward truths."[5] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four writing "This is a sweet, whimsical, low-key movie, a movie that makes you feel good without pressing you too hard."[6]

The film opened Wednesday, December 15, 1982 in Los Angeles before expanding to 677 screens for the weekend, but only grossed $667,727, the worst opening for an Eastwood film.[7][8] The film went on to gross $4.5 million at the United States and Canada box office,[9] Eastwood's lowest grosser for more than a decade.[10] The film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Original Song for No Sweeter Cheater than You.[11]


  1. ^ Thompson, p.82
  2. ^ "Honky Tonk Man (1982) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Hughes, p.136
  4. ^ "Honkytonk Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  5. ^ Hughes, p.138
  6. ^ "Honkytonk Man". rogerebert.com. 17 December 1982.
  7. ^ Ginsberg, Steven (December 21, 1982). "'Tootsie,' 'Toy' And 'Dark Crystal' Win Big At National Box-Office". Daily Variety. p. 1.
  8. ^ Honkytonk Man at the American Film Institute Catalog
  9. ^ Hughes, p.137
  10. ^ "Clint Eastwood". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  11. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.


  • Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-902-7.
  • Thompson, David (1999). "Cop on a Hot Tightrope". In Robert E., Kapsis; Coblentz, Kathie (ed.). Clint Eastwood: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 81–95. ISBN 1-57806-070-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)

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