City Slickers

City Slickers
City Slickers.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byRon Underwood
Produced byIrby Smith
Written byLowell Ganz
Babaloo Mandel
Music byMarc Shaiman
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byO. Nicholas Brown
Castle Rock Entertainment
Nelson Entertainment
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 7, 1991 (1991-06-07)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$26 million[1]
Box office$180 million[2]

City Slickers is a 1991 American western comedy film, directed by Ron Underwood and starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, and Jack Palance, with supporting roles by Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, and Noble Willingham.

The film's screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, and it was shot in New York City; New Mexico; Durango, Colorado; and Spain. A sequel City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold was released in 1994, with the same cast, with the exception of Kirby, who was replaced by Jon Lovitz.


In New York City, Mitch Robbins, a radio advertisement executive, has turned 39 years old and is going through a midlife crisis. His best friends, Phil Berquist and Ed Furillo, experience problems of their own: Phil is trapped in a 12-year loveless marriage to his wife, Arlene; and Ed Furillo is a successful sporting goods salesman and playboy who has recently married an underwear model but is struggling with monogamy and the pressure of having children.

At Mitch's birthday party, Phil and Ed present a gift of a two-week cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado. Phil is confronted by a co-worker, Nancy, who accidentally reveals her affair with Phil, which leads to his separation from Arlene. Despite Mitch's plans to go to Florida with his wife Barbara to visit her parents, Barbara persuades him to instead go with his friends and find some purpose before he contemplates adultery or suicide. In New Mexico, Mitch, Phil and Ed meet the ranch owner, Clay Stone, and their fellow drivers. Mitch develops a rivalry with the ranch's professional cowboys, Jeff and T.R., when they proposition one of the drivers, Bonnie. The standoff is stopped by the trail boss, Curly, who inadvertently humiliates Mitch in front of his friends.

During the drive, as Mitch, Phil and Ed begin to change their outlook on life, Mitch accidentally causes a stampede which wrecks most of the camp. In retribution, Curly orders him to help gather the lost cows, but over time, the two develop a bond when Mitch learns that Curly, despite his tough exterior, is actually a very wise man. Curly advises Mitch to discover the "one thing" in his life which is the most important to him, which will solve all of his problems. Along the way, Mitch helps deliver a calf from a dying cow, which Curly kills out of mercy. Mitch adopts the calf and names him Norman.

Curly suddenly dies of a heart attack, leaving the drive under Jeff and T.R.. Trouble begins when the cook, Cookie, gets drunk and accidentally destroys their food supply, and Jeff and T.R. intoxicate themselves with Cookie's hidden stash. A fight ensues when they threaten Norman and assault Mitch, leading Phil to lash out at them and unleash a lifetime of stress on them at gunpoint. Jeff and T.R. abandon them to avoid reprisals from Clay Stone. Though the remaining drivers consider leaving the herd to seek out civilization, Phil and Ed remain behind to finish the drive alone. Mitch has a change of heart and joins them while the others continue to Colorado.

After braving a heavy storm, they finally manage to drive the herd to Colorado, but Norman gets stuck in the river. Mitch saves him but they are both swept away with the current. Phil and Ed only barely manage to save them both and finally overcome their crises while resting on the bank. They reach Clay Stone's ranch in Colorado shortly afterwards. Clay Stone offers to reimburse them for their troubles, but reveals that he is selling the herd to a meat company. Having changed their outlook on life, Mitch, Phil and Ed decide to rebuild their lives, and Mitch purchases Norman from Clay Stone to save him from slaughter.

Mitch returns to New York City with Phil and Ed a happier man, and reunites with his family while bringing Norman home for a few days until he can be placed in a petting zoo. Phil enters a relationship with Bonnie, and Ed becomes open to the idea of having children.