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Drugstore Cowboy is a crime drama written and directed by Gus Van Sant.

Matt Dillon stars in the title role, and Kelly Lynch, Heather Graham, and William S. Burroughs are also featured. Drugstore Cowboy was filmed mainly around Portlandmarker, Oregonmarker. The film's score was written by composer Elliot Goldenthal. Drugstore Cowboy was Van Sant's breakthrough picture.

Drugstore Cowboy was listed on the top ten list of both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert for films released in 1989. The film was very well-received critically.


The story follows Bob Hughes (Matt Dillon) and his "family" of drug addicts as they travel across the US Pacific Northwest in the early 1970s, supporting their habit by robbing pharmacies and hospitals. A highlight of the film is an appearance by recovering addict William S. Burroughs as Tom, a defrocked priest who lectures Bob on the dangers of temptation. After a tragedy strikes the "family", Bob decides to try to "go straight," but finds that there is more to extricating himself from the drug user's lifestyle than just giving up drugs.


Literary source

The screenplay by Van Sant and Yost is based on the novel by James Fogle. The novel was published in 1990 (ISBN 0-385-30224-X) Drugstore Cowboy, by which time Fogle was released from prison - Fogle, like the characters in his story, was a long-time drug user and dealer.

(How is it that a 1989 film was based on a 1990 novel?)


The soundtrack includes songs that are contemporaneous with the film's setting, along with original music by Elliot Goldenthal.


Drugstore Cowboy won the following awards:

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