Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Certainly one of the best drug movies ever made.... Great performances make this dispassionate study a memorable experience.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant's fresh, gutsy societal underbelly film, never wallows in picturesque down-and-outism, except at the end, when Dillon's character, frightened by the death of a girl he didn't like much and spooked by his own paranoiac suspicion, checks into a seedy hotel while trying to go cold turkey and not yield to the influence of a junkie priest drolly played by William Burroughs. [27 Oct 1989]
  3. Adapted by Van Sant and Daniel Yost from an unpublished autobiographical novel by James Fogle, this 1989 feature has the kind of stylistic conviction that immediately wins one over.
  4. 100
    Drugstore Cowboy is one of the best films in the long tradition of American outlaw road movies - a tradition that includes "Bonnie and Clyde," "Easy Rider," "Midnight Cowboy" and "Badlands."
  5. 88
    A study of junkie culture from the inside (not a fashionable point of view these days), Drugstore Cowboy is funny, depressive and strangely noble, often all at once. [27 Oct 1989]
  6. Drugstore Cowboy, an electrifying movie without one misstep or one conventional moment. [11 Oct 1989]
  7. 63
    Drugstore Cowboy improves. Not much, but in provocative ways.
  8. In spite of its downbeat subjects, Drugstore Cowboy becomes a satisfying drama of redemption. [27 Oct 1989]
  9. Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant Jr.'s glum, absorbing film about a clan of heroin addicts who travel around the Pacific Northwest Looting pharmacies of their supplies the way Bonnie and Clyde cleaned out banks, gives Matt Dillon the role of his career.
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    Gus Van Sant's direction here is supremely confident, fusing witty camerawork, neat editing, and a jazz-oriented score to make Drugstore Cowboy an exhilaratingly bumpy ride.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    A daring movie in today's current climate - one likely to be remembered at year's end. [18 Oct 1989]
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    90
    No previous drug-themed film has the honesty or originality of Gus Van Sant's drama Drugstore Cowboy.
  13. Though the picture by no means endorses drugs, and paints the junkie life as almost intolerably dull as well as destructive, it is a welcome relief from the mostly heavy-handed Hollywood pictures that tackle the subject. [05 Oct 1989]
  14. 90
    Van Sant gives his material shape and an invigorating, syncopated style. It keeps coming at you in surprising, dazzling ways.
  15. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    80
    Neither federally admonishing nor irresponsibly romantic, Cowboy stays high without being highhanded.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 19, 2014
    9
    I was very pleasantly surprised by the excellent performance by Matt Dillon. Amongst Van Sant's films, I still think To Die For is a better movie--but this comes awfully close. Full Review »
  2. Mar 31, 2011
    10
    I don't think that Gus Van Sant gets the recognition that he deserves. He's one of the true artists in the movie industry. Because this is one of the greatest movies to come out in the past 25 years. I could watch this over and over again and still find some part compelling. **** brilliant. Full Review »