Honkytonk Man is a 1982 American musical 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 novel of the same name. This was Marty Robbins' last appearance before he died. The story of Eastwood's character, Red Stovall, is loosely based on the life of Jimmie Rodgers.

Honkytonk Man
Honkytonk man.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byClint Eastwood
Produced byClint Eastwood
Written byClancy Carlile
Music bySteve Dorff
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited by
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
December 15, 1982
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[1]
Box office$4,484,991[2]


Itinerant western singer Red Stovall suffers from tuberculosis but has been given an opportunity to make it big at the Grand Ole Opry. He is accompanied by his young nephew Whit to Nashville, Tennessee. After a series of adventures which include the nephew's first sexual encounter in a brothel, he and Red finally arrive at Nashville. A fit of coughing in the middle of his audition at the Grand Ole Opry ruins his chance and his dream. But 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] The film grossed $4.5 million at the United States box office.[6] The film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Original Song for No Sweeter Cheater than You.[7]


  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. ^ Hughes, p.137
  7. ^ 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.

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