Let’s drift back to 1989 when Sam Elliott stepped away from his signature cowboy roles to play a bouncer in Road House. Elliott portrayed Wade Garrett, Patrick Swayze’s friend and mentor. Swayze’s Dalton called in Garrett to help him keep the peace in a rowdy bar in small-town Missouri. Dalton was the “cooler.” And he had an air of mystery to him as he left his job in NYC to serve as the floor crew boss in a small town.
In an interview late last year, Elliott reflected on Road House as he was completing work on 1883. And the 77-year-old called the classic film “a mindless male fantasy film.”
The 4-1-1 on Sam Elliott and Road House
- By 1988, when Road House started filming, Elliott already was an established character actor.
- He had an impressive list of roles before Road House. And he already had dabbled outside the western genre in Lifeguard and the mini-series Murder in Texas.
- Leading up to Road House, Elliott played Cher’s moto-loving boyfriend in Mask. And he portrayed Sam Houston, Texas’ first governor, in Gone to Texas.
- Road House made $61 million at the box office. That’s equivalent to about $135 million in today’s dollars.
So basically, Road House was a movie that covered all the bases. Good looking men — check. Romance? It’s there. Lots of drinking — duh, it’s a bar. Fighting — it might as well be set in the Wild West. In fact, the fight scenes, collectively, might be the star of the show. What about good music — the movie is in a bar, of course there are fun tunes.
The plot summary for Road House isn’t complicated: “A tough bouncer is hired to tame a dirty bar.” Simple plot for that male fantasy movie, right?
Here’s the fight scene that brings Elliott to the Double Deuce to help out Swayze, aka “the skinny little runt.” Elliott definitely held his own against much bigger and heavier men. It pays to know the nuances of how to throw a punch.
When someone says “s-x-x-t, who is that guy,” Elliott’s Garrett quips “exactly right.”
There may be a remake of Road House, with actor Jake Gyllenhaal pushing project. The idea doesn’t sit too well with Elliott. He told the Hollywood Reporter: I hadn’t heard about this most recent one. A couple of years ago they were going to remake the film with Ronda Rousey in the Patrick (Swayze) part. I think remaking stuff is … it’s always a gamble, I’ll put it that way.”
He added: “I don’t think it was a great film, but it struck a chord with a lot of people. I know it was a lot of fun doing it. But I think on some levels it was some mindless male fantasy film.”
Sam Elliott’s Friendship With Patrick Swayze, and His Unforgettable Dance Scene
Swayze was a huge Hollywood star when he made Road House. After all, he was coming off the hit movie, Dirty Dancing, which was set in the early 1960s. Then after Road House, Swayze starred in another hit — Ghost. He had an amazing career, but died in 2009 at age 57 of pancreatic cancer.
“I loved Swayze,” Sam Elliott said of his fellow Road House star. “He was quite a man. He was the sweetest guy you can imagine. (And) he was an incredible gentleman. He was born in Texas and just had this Texas gentleman thing about him. And he had an incredible work ethic.”
The movie wasn’t all about Swayze, though. Elliott got to shine. We already showed you how he can throw a high punch and hit below the belt.
But have you ever seen Elliott dance? He wasn’t Swayze-level talented, but he held his own. Elliott two-stepped with co-star Kelly Lynch to George Strait’s “All My Exes Live in Texas.” And the two didn’t need a dance floor. They shuffled across a cafe floor. Lynch played the town doctor and the love interest of Swayze’s. But Elliott’s Wade wasn’t above stealing his friend’s girl.
After the dance, Elliott told Swayze: “that gal has got entirely too many brains to have an ass like that.” (This was the 1980s.) Enjoy!