A narcoleptic, psychologically-scarred young man who peddles his body, and his best friend, who also works the streets though he's from a wealthy political family, wander together and apart, from Seattle to as far away as Italy. A loose reworking of Shakespeare's "Henry IV," with Reeves as the prodigal son who slums in the Pacific Northwest's junkie lowlife milieu.
Gus Van Sant - American Director/Screenwriter, MILK, LAST DAYS
David Brisbin - Production Designer, Art Director, works with Gus Van Sant
Chiara Caselli - Italian actor
William Richert - Screenwriter/Director/Actor
James Russo - Actor
Eric Alan Edwards - Director of Photography (1996)
Eric Edwards - Director of Photography (1996)
Michael Parker - Actor
Rodney Harvey - Supporting Actor
Udo Kier - German actor, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
William S. Burroughs - Beat movement American author ("Naked Lunch")
River Phoenix - American actor, STAND BY ME, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Keanu Reeves - American Actor, MATRIX (1999)
Beatrix Aruna Pasztor - Costume Designer, BASIC INSTINCT 2 (2006)
Flea - Actor/Rock Musician, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Grace Zabriskie - American Character Actress
John J. Campbell - DP - "My Own Private Idaho"
Curtiss Clayton - Editor
Semi-documentary footage of Seattle street hustling mixes with highly theatrical Shakespearean speech in this very loose adaptation of "Henry IV." In Seattle, Mike, a male prostitute and narcoleptic, meets Scott, who is rebelling against his wealthy family by working the streets. The two decide to embark on a search for Mike's long-lost mother, and their journey leads them first to Mike's home in Idaho and then to Italy.
River Phoenix was given the 1991 Best Actor Award from the Venice Film Festival and the National Society of Film Critics. Film received 1991 International Critic's Award from the Toronto Festival of Festivals. Picture, director Gus Van Sant, and River Phoenix were named first runnersup in their respective categories by the 1991 New York Film Critics Circle. Film is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's play "Henry IV" and is based directly on the short story, "My Own Private Idaho," and on two scripts, "Minions of the Moon" (aka "My Own Private Idaho) and "In a Blue Funk." The role of Bob Pigeon was played by William Richert, who directed "The American Success Co.," "Winter Kills," and the River Phoenix vehicle "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon." Estimated budget $2.5 million. Filmed in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Rome, Italy. Filming began November 1, 1990; completed December 21, 1990. Color by Alpha Cine, Fotocinema. Sound in Ultra Stereo. Screened at the 1991 Deauville Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and London Film Festival. Released in USA November 8, 1991. Released on video April 22, 1992. Rated BBFC 18 by the British Board of Film Censors. Reviewed in Variety September 9, 1991 (which lists running time at 102 minutes) and in New York Times and Los Angeles Times October 18, 1991.
"...The film tantalizes us with imagery....It delivers an exhilarating and challenging ride..." - 10/17/1991 Rolling Stone, p.100
"...A giddy medley of innumerable private dreams, memories and fantasies..." - 04/01/1992 Sight and Sound, p.55-6
"...Brilliantly impudent....Van Sant boldly floats us off on a sea of visions with no visible anchor....It's a fable about the leaps in perception by which a world grows up..." - 11/01/1991 Film Comment, p.42-4
"...IDAHO is something completely different, a film that manages to confound all expectations, even the ones it sets up itself..." - 10/18/1991 Los Angeles Times, p.F1
"Creatively ambitious and handsomely shot....[Van Sant's] most successful mix so far between straight storytelling and experimental technique." - 09/01/2005 Uncut, p.148