Road House (1989 film)

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Road House
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRowdy Herrington
Screenplay by
Story byDavid Lee Henry
Produced byJoel Silver
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited by
Music byMichael Kamen
Distributed byUnited Artists[1]
Release date
  • May 19, 1989 (1989-05-19)
Running time
114 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$15 million[3]
Box office$61.6 million

Road House is a 1989 American action film directed by Rowdy Herrington and starring Patrick Swayze as a cooler at a newly refurbished roadside bar who protects a small town in Missouri from a corrupt businessman.[4] Sam Elliott co-stars as a bouncer, the mentor, friend, and foil of Swayze's character. The cast also includes Kelly Lynch as Swayze's love interest and Ben Gazzara as the main antagonist.


James Dalton is a professional "cooler" with a mysterious past who is enticed from his job in New York City by Frank Tilghman to take over security at his club, the Double Deuce, in Jasper, Missouri. Tilghman plans to invest substantial money into the club to enhance its image, and he needs a first-rate cooler to maintain stability. Handed control of all bar operations and hiring by Frank, Dalton fires multiple employees for theft and drug dealing.

Dalton is introduced to local business magnate Brad Wesley, who effectively controls the town. His henchmen threaten Tilghman, and during the ensuing struggle, Dalton receives a knife wound. At the hospital, he begins a friendship with Dr. Elizabeth "Doc" Clay, which develops into a romance. Dalton also reunites with his mentor, aging cooler Wade Garrett, who comes to town after receiving a disconcerting phone call from Dalton.

Wesley summons Dalton to his home and reveals knowledge of Dalton's past regarding an incident in which he killed a man in self-defense by ripping his throat out. Wesley tries to convince Dalton to work for him once he extorts the Double Deuce but Dalton declines. Wesley increases his attack on the club and begins to sabotage other businesses that disobey him. After Wesley's henchman Jimmy Reno sets Dalton's house on fire, he kills him in self-defense, shocking Elizabeth.

After Wesley has Garrett killed, Dalton snaps and storms Wesley's estate, killing most of his henchmen and ultimately incapacitating Wesley. As he tries to walk away, Wesley pulls a gun on him. Before Wesley can shoot, however, he is shot to death by the townspeople, who deny any knowledge of what had happened to the arriving police. In the end, the town celebrates its newfound freedom at the Double Deuce.




Annette Bening was originally cast as Dr. Elizabeth Clay but she was fired because she and Patrick Swayze had no chemistry, so she was replaced by Kelly Lynch.[5]


Filming started in April 1988 on location throughout California, primarily in Newhall, Valencia, and Canyon Country. The filming of much of the "New Double Deuce" used Anaheim's Cowboy bar, also later called the Bandstand among other names until it closed. The opening and monster truck scenes were filmed in Reedley, California. The Kings River runs between the two residences.[1] The monster truck used was Bigfoot #7, which was originally built for the film. The scene cost $500,000 to film.[6]


The soundtrack for Road House featured Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey, whose band was featured in the film as the house band for the Double Deuce. Cruzados were the band in the opening credits, contributing three songs to the film that never made the soundtrack. Patrick Swayze also wrote one song and sang two for the soundtrack. The film's score was composed by Michael Kamen.[7][8] A limited edition 14-track score album part of the Special Collection was issued by Intrada Records in 2012.[9] An expanded limited 31-track score was reissued for the film's 30th anniversary by La-La Land Records in 2019.[10]

Road House soundtrack album
1."Roadhouse Blues"Jim Morrison,
Robby Krieger,
John Densmore,
Ray Manzarek
The Jeff Healey Band4:51
2."Blue Monday"Dave Bartholomew, Antoine "Fats" DominoBob Seger2:22
3."I'm Tore Down"Sonny ThompsonThe Jeff Healey Band4:26
4."These Arms of Mine"Otis ReddingOtis Redding2:31
5."When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky"Bob DylanThe Jeff Healey Band4:54
6."Rad Gumbo"Bill Payne, Paul Barrere, Martin Kibbee, Sam Clayton, Kenny GradneyLittle Feat3:30
7."Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)"Willie Nile, Martin BrileyPatrick Swayze4:41
8."A Good Heart"Maria McKeeKris McKay4:59
9."(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man"Willie DixonThe Jeff Healey Band5:14
10."Cliff's Edge"Patrick Swayze, Stacy Widelitz, Bob MarlettePatrick Swayze4:01
Total length:41:34



The film premiered in New York and Los Angeles on May 19, 1989.[11]

Home media[edit]

Between VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and Streaming service sales, 'Road House' has grossed over $203 million, including its original box office of $61 million. The film was originally released on VHS and then on DVD. In the United States Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer first released the film on DVD on February 4, 2003, with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and theatrical trailer as the sole extra feature.[12] In 2006 a Deluxe Edition DVD was released with two audio commentaries including one with the director, two featurettes titled "On the Roadhouse" and "What Would Dalton Do?".[13] Road House was first issued by MGM on Blu-ray disc on June 2, 2009. A second disc combines the same six special features ported from the Deluxe DVD.[14] After being reissued numerous times in the U.S., in 2016 Shout! Factory released a 2-disc Blu-ray collectors edition with fourteen extra features with material ported over from the previous editions. New supplements include a 'making of' documentary with new interviews by Herrington, actors Kelly Lynch, John Doe, Kevin Tighe, Julie Michaels and Red West, a separate conversation with the director and featurette for the film's music.[15] The magnet clasp boxed limited edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome was released on November 25, 2022.[16]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $30 million in the United States and Canada and $31 million internationally for a worldwide total of $61 million.[17] The film was more successful on home video.[18][19][20][21] The film also found life on cable television.[22]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Road House has a rating of 39% based on 44 reviews and has an average rating of 5.2 out of 10. The consenus states: "Whether Road House is simply bad or so bad it's good depends largely on the audience's fondness for Swayze -- and tolerance for violently cheesy action."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 212 out of 4 stars and commented, "Road House exists right on the edge between the 'good-bad movie' and the merely bad. I hesitate to recommend it, because so much depends on the ironic vision of the viewer. This is not a good movie. But viewed in the right frame of mind, it is not a boring one, either."[23]

When interviewed by Anthony Bourdain, Bill Murray lauded the film as unappreciated, with a complex plot and respect among actors in the film industry since its release.[24] Kelly Lynch told The A.V. Club, "Every time Road House is on and he [Murray] or one of his idiot brothers are watching TV – and they're always watching TV – one of them calls my husband and says (in a reasonable approximation of Carl Spackler from Caddyshack), 'Kelly's having sex with Patrick Swayze right now. They're doing it. He's throwing her against the rocks.'"[25] Murray is the best friend of Lynch's husband, Mitch Glazer, and Lynch herself considers Murray a "buddy".[26][27]


Road House was nominated for (but did not "win") five Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Patrick Swayze), Worst Supporting Actor (Ben Gazzara), Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[28]

Other media[edit]


A sequel, Road House 2, was released directly to DVD in July 2006. Set many years later and telling the story of Dalton's adult son, it featured no characters from the original cast and only a few references to Dalton (who was reportedly shot dead before the film took place). The sequel confirmed that Dalton's first name was James, which could be seen momentarily on the medical chart in the original film's hospital scene, but which had been otherwise left unsaid. At the same time Road House 2 was released, the original film was reissued in a deluxe edition featuring, among other features, separate audio commentary tracks by director Herrington, Kevin Smith, and Scott Mosier, which the duo had expressed an interest in during the introduction of the tenth anniversary Clerks DVD.[29]


In 2003, an off-Broadway musical production of Road House was staged as a campy comedy by Timothy Haskell, as seen by its full title of Road House: The Stage Version Of The Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak From The 80's Cult Classic "The Last Dragon" Wearing A Blonde Mullet Wig.[30]

Police training video[edit]

Following the death of Eric Garner, the New York City Police Department began using a scene from Road House as part of a mandatory, three-day retraining course for 22,000 officers expected to "be nice" under pressure.[31]


On September 9, 2015, it was announced that Ronda Rousey would star in a remake of Road House.[32] On October 12, 2015, Nick Cassavetes was announced to write and direct the film.[33] However, plans for the film fell through and the remake was quietly canceled in 2016.[34]

In November 2021, it was reported that Jake Gyllenhaal was in talks to star in a remake of Road House by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with Doug Liman directing.[35] In August 2022, a full cast was announced including Conor McGregor, Billy Magnussen, Gbemisola Ikumelo and Daniela Melchior and would debut on Amazon Prime Video.[36][37] The film is rumored to have a similar plot with a modern twist. Gyllenhaal's character is to be a former UFC fighter who is now retired and working at a roadhouse in the Florida Keys. Production for the movie will begin in August 2022 and is planned to be released worldwide on Amazon Prime.[38]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Road House (1989)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "ROAD HOUSE (18)". British Board of Film Classification. June 5, 1989. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "MOVIES SEXY SWAYZE on the Set of His First Film Since 'Dirty Dancing'". Los Angeles Times. July 24, 1988. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Benson, Sheila (May 28, 1989). "Losing Sight of the Reasons for Success Film makers sometimes have blind spots when they seek to capitalize on an earlier movie". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  5. ^ "Kelly Lynch on Magic City, John Hughes, and playing a drag king". The A.V. Club.
  6. ^ "BIGFOOT #7 " Bigfoot 4×4, Inc. – Monster Truck Racing Team". Archived from the original on February 12, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  7. ^ "Road House [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] – Michael Kamen – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 14, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  8. ^ "Road House Soundtrack". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Road House Soundtrack limited edition". January 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  10. ^ "Road House Original Score - Expanded Limited Edition of 2,000 Copies". November 8, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  11. ^ "Road House (1989)". American Film Institute. May 23, 1989. Archived from the original on May 26, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "Road House DVD". February 4, 2003. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  13. ^ "Road House Deluxe Edition DVD". July 18, 2006. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  14. ^ "Road House". June 2009. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "Road House - Shout! Factory". June 2009. Archived from the original on August 12, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Vinegar Syndrome [@VinegarSyndrome] (September 23, 2022). "We're pleased to at last announce our fourth VSU; a film truly worthy of the branding; featuring huge stars, even even bigger thrills, and a whole lot of ass kicking: Rowdy Herrington's ROAD HOUSE! Flash Pre-Order is up now:" (Tweet). Retrieved December 2, 2022 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "UIP's $25M-Plus Club". Variety. September 11, 1995. p. 92.
  18. ^ Easton, Nina J. (May 23, 1989). "Swayze Flexes Box-Office Muscle". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  19. ^ Atkinson, Terry (December 15, 1989). "VIDEO . . . WHAT'S NEW A Weekend Designed for Crystal Gazing THIS WEEK'S MOVIES". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  20. ^ Hunt, Dennis (January 18, 1990). "Road House' Looks Like a Hit". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  21. ^ King, Susan (July 18, 2006). "Where nothing is as it seems". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 12, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  22. ^ Marr, Merissa; Peers, Martin (July 7, 2004). "MGM's Library of Old Movies Puts It in Spotlight". The Wall Street Journal.
  23. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 19, 1989). "Road House:: Reviews". Retrieved December 25, 2022.
  24. ^ "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown | Netflix". Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  25. ^ Harris, Will. "Kelly Lynch on Magic City, John Hughes, and playing a drag king". Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  26. ^ "Kelly Lynch on Magic City, John Hughes, and playing a drag king". Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "Eight brilliant true stories about Bill Murray". Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  28. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-69334-9.
  29. ^ "Road House: Deluxe Edition". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.
  30. ^ "Road House". Archived from the original on November 22, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  31. ^ Celona, Larry; Golding, Bruce (February 24, 2015). "NYPD using 'Road House' movie to teach cops how to 'be nice'". New York Post. Archived from the original on October 14, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  32. ^ Brandon Davis (September 9, 2015). "Ronda Rousey To Star in Road House Reboot". Archived from the original on September 11, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  33. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 12, 2015). "Nick Cassavetes to Write, Direct Ronda Rousey's Road House". Variety.
  34. ^ Leon Miller (December 15, 2017). "9 Canceled Remakes That Would've Been Terrible (And 6 That Would've Been Amazing)". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on February 2, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  35. ^ Murphy, J. Kim (November 10, 2021). "MGM Courting Jake Gyllenhaal, Doug Liman for 'Road House' Remake". Variety.
  36. ^ David, Jamil. "'Road House' Remake With Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Gbemisola Ikumelo And More Set At Prime Video". Shadow and Act. Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  37. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 2, 2022). "Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Road House' Movie A Go At Prime Video As Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen Among Those Joining Cast". Deadline. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  38. ^ Blaine Henry (August 3, 2022). "Conor McGregor cast in "Road House" remake alongside Jake Gyllenhaal".

External links[edit]