After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

Although River Phoenix has distinguished himself as an actor ever since his second film, Stand By Me, nothing he has ever done before prepares you for his performance in Private Idaho as the motherless, homeless, loveless piece of human driftwood.

Audacious, controversial, directional, important and totally unique, you'll either love it or hate it. But see it!

A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »

A group of newcomers to the country music business seek love and stardom.

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Van Sant proves again that he is masterful at charting the hearts and minds of young people adrift.

My Own Private Idaho is a 1991 American independent adventure drama film written and directed by Gus Van Sant, loosely based on Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V, and starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. The story follows two friends, Mike and Scott, as they embark on a journey of personal discovery that takes them to Mike's hometown in Idaho and then to Italy in search of Mike's mother.

In 2015 The Criterion Collection released the film in Blu-ray, based on a restored 4K digital transfer.[40]

As part of the launch of the new French streaming video service La Cinetek—which was founded by the filmmakers Pascale Ferran (Bird People), Cédric Klapisch (Chinese Puzzle), and Laurent Cantet . . . Read more »

It’s been only four years since the last film in his Death Trilogy, but Gus Van Sant is already journeying back to the land of the dead. Variety reports that the director will be teaming up with . . . Read more »

Discuss My Own Private Idaho on our Movie forum!

“Easily in my top ten editions. Exactly the type of film the Collection was created for. ”

The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.

Over on Film Comment’s site, Margaret Barton-Fumo explores the sonic pleasures of the work of the beloved Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. “He has continuously crossed genres and pushed the . . . Read more »

Cracked and beautiful, stranger than strange, yet in some assuring way so pulsing with life that it embraces you as warmly as Father Knows Best.

The film was released theatrically on September 27, 1991 in 98 theaters. It grossed USD$6.4 million in North America, above its estimated budget of $2.5 million.[22]

My Own Private Idaho received the Showtime International Critics Award at the 1991 Toronto Film Festival.[35] River Phoenix received the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 1991 Venice Film Festival.[36] The actor said, in regards to winning, "I don't want more awards. Venice is the most progressive festival. Anything else would be a token".[37] Phoenix then went on to receive Best Male Lead from the Independent Spirit Awards and Best Actor from the National Society of Film Critics.[38]

In 1963, the night before the 18 years old "Birdlace" Eddie and his friends are shipped to Vietnam. They play a dirty game called 'Dogfight': all of them seek a woman for a party, and who ... See full summary »

This week, as part of the series “Not of an age, but for all time”: Shakespeare on Film, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, will screen Gus Van Sant’s 1991 road movie My Own . . . Read more »

Just before the premiere of their new film, author Laura Albert and director Jeff Feuerzeig stopped by Criterion for lunch and a visit to our film closet. Read more »

Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent.

This is a very rich, very sympathetic piece of work.

Holding all these elements together is Van Sant's sensibility, such an elusive thing it instinctively squirms away from any attempt to pigeonhole it.

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

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Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% rating based on 54 reviews.[33] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 77% based on 18 reviews.[34]

A pharmacy-robbing dope fiend and his crew pop pills and evade the law.

My Own Private Idaho was first shown at the 1991 Venice Film Festival[19] and received a gala screening at 16th Toronto Film Festival[20] and was also screened at the 29th New York Film Festival.[21]

Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert on a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit,he waits for the... See full summary »

Joey owns a pizza parlor, and is married to Rosalee, and is a major womanizer. Rosalee goes to extremes when she finds he has been cheating.

Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.

[Van Sant] disdain[s] narrative. He got away with Drugstore Cowboy because its band of drugged-out dodoes were engaged in a petty crime spree that almost passed for a plot. But My Own Private Idaho is a different story. Or rather nonstory.

“Shakespeare, Welles, and Van Sant. Shouldn't work on paper, but brilliant in execution. Seriously, how did he get a good performance out of Keanu? ”

“Henry the IV and hustling. Only in a Van Sant film! A better than usual Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix is perfect in this role. One strange trip.”

Suzanne Stone is an aspiring TV personality who will do anything to be in the spotlight, including enlisting three teenagers to kill her husband.

Gus Van Sant ascended to new heights of cinematic lyricism with his anarchic yet heartfelt portrait of a narcoleptic looking for love. Read more »

For the past thirty years, the British Film Institute has been honoring the best in contemporary and classic LGBT cinema from around the world, with its annual BFI Flare: London LGBT Film . . . Read more »

"My Own Private Idaho" is both a love story and a tragedy. It remains the high point in Gus Van Sant's career.

An eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America to build a utopia in the middle of the jungle. Conflicts with his family, a local preacher and ... See full summary »

An FBI agent works to uncover an All-American family as Soviet sleeper agents and gets caught up in friendship with their unaware son.