True Stories (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Director David Byrne (of Talking Heads) takes an outside-looking-in glance at Texas and Texans in True Stories. Casting himself as the protagonist/narrator, Byrne adopts what he thinks is "standard" western garb and drives his red convertible into the small town of Virgil. Here he observes the town's preparations for celebrating Texas' sesquicentennial, taking time out to introduce us to several of the local oddballs. Swoosie Kurtz plays Miss Rollings, the Laziest Woman in the World; Alix Elias is The Cute Woman, who decorates her home in the most hideously "sweet" manner imaginable; John Goodman is talent-contest entrant Louis Fyne, who harbors dreams of being a C&W star; Spalding Gray is Earl Culver, a vegetable-obsessed civic leader; Jo Harvey Allen is The Lying Woman; and so it goes. The script by Southerners Byrne, Beth Henley and Steven Tobolowksy strives to avoid subtlety.
PG (adult situations/language)
Art House & International , Comedy , Cult Movies , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Pictures

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David Byrne
as Narrator / Lip-Syncher / Talking Heads singer
John Goodman
as Louis Fyne
Swoosie Kurtz
as Miss Rollings
Spalding Gray
as Earl Culver
Alix Elias
as The Cute Woman
Annie McEnroe
as Kay Culver
Pops Staples
as Mr. Tucker
John Ingle
as The Preacher
Jo Harvey Allen
as The Lying Woman
Matthew Posey
as The Computer Guy
Amy Buffington
as Linda Culver
Richard Downlearn
as Larry Culver
Capucine DeWulf
as The Little Girl on the Road
Capucine de Wulf
as The Little Girl on the Road
Chris Douridas
as Ventriloquist
L.T. Felty
as Duck Hunter
Jerry Harrison
as Lip-Syncher
Christopher Johnson
as Mr. Tucker's Son
Liz Moore
as Teenage Girl in Field
Frank Smith
as Man in Church
Rex Taylor Smith
as Member of Air Band
Scott Valentine
as Member of Air Band
Tina Weymouth
as Lip-Syncher
Andrew Barach
as Laughing Headline Reader #1
Ed Geldart
as Grandfather in Mall
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Critic Reviews for True Stories

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (1)

Quirky David Byrne-helmed musical is all-ages appropriate.

Full Review… | February 6, 2013
Common Sense Media

Byrne has made his version of Our Town for the 1980s, a glorification of commonplace--and kitch--and the resilient, inventive spirit of ordinary Americans wherever they are.

Full Review… | January 9, 2007

A very quirky but not unkind take on American life that's Byrnian through and through.

July 28, 2005
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Absolutely amazing. If there is such a thing as the perfect American movie, this certainly comes close.

July 6, 2005

good soundtrack, but smothered by a condescending attitude

March 11, 2005
Kalamazoo Gazette

If this was even half as hip and smart as it thinks, it'd be a classic.

October 31, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for True Stories

This teaming-up of David Byrne, John Goodman, and the quirks of American culture is nothing short of zany and clever.

Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown

True Stories is a heartwarming, genuine, sometimes abstract look at the change taking place in Texas (and US in general) during the mid-1980's. David Byrne plays himself (sort of) as the narrator who looks upon the fictional town of Virgil and its odd inhabitants with a sort of child-like wonder as they prepare for their "celebration of specialness" anniversary celebration. Incorporating music from their album of the same name the Talking Heads (Byrne mostly) take us on a wondrously bittersweet adventure that weaves through the extraordinarily ordinary lives of Virgil's town folk. More than just a snapshot of the particular time and place this film captures the essence of American optimism, those intangible dreams and vapid pursuits that we are so fortunate to be able to undertake.

Brett Warren
Brett Warren

Super Reviewer


A quirky, comic and insightful look at "Americana" through the eyes of one of the musical geniuses of our lifetime, Mr. David Byrne. Sountrack by Talking Heads. What more could you ask for?

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

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