Cocaine Cowboys (1979)

R | 87 mins | Drama | 5 October 1979

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HISTORY

       Prior to Cocaine Cowboys, writer-director Ulli Lommel was a frequent collaborator of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder as noted in an undated Village Voice news item.
       According to the 5 Oct 1979 NYT review, principal photography was conducted at artist Andy Warhol’s summer house in Montauk, NY.


      The end credits include the following acknowledgments: "Thanks to the East Hampton Airport and Police Department," "Special thanks to Fred Hughes; Vincent Freemont," "Special thanks to Victor Bockris; Catherine Guinness," and "Special thanks to The ... More Less

       Prior to Cocaine Cowboys, writer-director Ulli Lommel was a frequent collaborator of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder as noted in an undated Village Voice news item.
       According to the 5 Oct 1979 NYT review, principal photography was conducted at artist Andy Warhol’s summer house in Montauk, NY.


      The end credits include the following acknowledgments: "Thanks to the East Hampton Airport and Police Department," "Special thanks to Fred Hughes; Vincent Freemont," "Special thanks to Victor Bockris; Catherine Guinness," and "Special thanks to The Factory."
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
New York Times
5 Oct 1979.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A WS 2000 Motion Picture
a film by Ulli Lommel
A Summa CGI Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Lighting cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Still photog
2d unit cam
2d unit cam
2d unit cam
FILM EDITORS
Negative ed, Match Cut, Inc.
1st ed asst
1st ed asst
2d ed asst
2d ed asst
MUSIC
Songs prod
Mus prod
Songs wrt and comp
Songs wrt and comp
Songs mixed
Mus score comp and arr
SOUND
Sd eng
Sd mixer
2d unit sd
2d unit sd
2d unit sd
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles by
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Unit mgr
2d asst
Prod asst
Chef de cuisine
Legal adv
Legal adv
Prod driver
Chief of security
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 October 1979
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 5 October 1979
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
87
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a luxury apartment in New York City, Dustin, lead singer of a rock band, recounts to artist Andy Warhol and other friends the story of what happened in Montauk, New York one summer. Dustin and his band are living at a secluded beachfront house and rehearsing for a new album, while making money smuggling cocaine through the local airport without any interference from customs. However, Raf, the band’s manager, informs Phil, the leader of a drug ring and the group’s accomplice over the last five years, that the band wants to quit the narcotics trade and focus on their music, now that they are becoming more famous. The next shipment they deliver to Phil will be the last. Later at the Montauk airport, Raf and the band wait for a small propeller plane arriving from South America with twenty kilograms of cocaine. As the pilot is about to land, he notices police cars on the runway, and Dean, a guitarist in the band who is onboard, orders him to pull up. Low on fuel, Dean decides to drop the duffel bags of cocaine in the surf, in front of the band’s beach house, and then land at the airport. The staff at the house, which consists of the maid, Lucy, the assistant, Herman, and the chef, Jimmy Lee, watch as the plane flies low over the water. After disembarking back at the airport, Dean informs Raf that the bags should be easy to find along the beach. However, the band is unable to locate the $2 million dollars worth of cocaine after hours of searching along the shoreline, ... +


In a luxury apartment in New York City, Dustin, lead singer of a rock band, recounts to artist Andy Warhol and other friends the story of what happened in Montauk, New York one summer. Dustin and his band are living at a secluded beachfront house and rehearsing for a new album, while making money smuggling cocaine through the local airport without any interference from customs. However, Raf, the band’s manager, informs Phil, the leader of a drug ring and the group’s accomplice over the last five years, that the band wants to quit the narcotics trade and focus on their music, now that they are becoming more famous. The next shipment they deliver to Phil will be the last. Later at the Montauk airport, Raf and the band wait for a small propeller plane arriving from South America with twenty kilograms of cocaine. As the pilot is about to land, he notices police cars on the runway, and Dean, a guitarist in the band who is onboard, orders him to pull up. Low on fuel, Dean decides to drop the duffel bags of cocaine in the surf, in front of the band’s beach house, and then land at the airport. The staff at the house, which consists of the maid, Lucy, the assistant, Herman, and the chef, Jimmy Lee, watch as the plane flies low over the water. After disembarking back at the airport, Dean informs Raf that the bags should be easy to find along the beach. However, the band is unable to locate the $2 million dollars worth of cocaine after hours of searching along the shoreline, and Dustin yells at Dean for being afraid of the police who were on a routine patrol at the airport. Communicating in code, Raf telephones Phil to report that someone lost the instruments and amplifiers, but assures him that they will reschedule the concert. In addition to being agitated about the missing drugs, Raf is constantly annoyed by Herman and worries that the assistant, despite his awkwardness, knows too much about the band’s illicit business. That evening, the band continues to search while Lucy suggests to Dustin and Raf that perhaps the bags were never dropped from the plane. Dustin also questions Jimmy Lee, who says that he did not notice anything other than the plane flying close to the house. In the meantime, Phil becomes increasingly impatient about the lost shipment and sends one of his men, Terry, to keep surveillance on the house. As the hunt for the bags continues the next day, Dustin suspects that Dean might be hiding the drugs. The band members tie Dean to a rock where he is battered by crashing waves, but Raf intervenes to stop the interrogation, yelling that they have enough problems without being responsible for a dead body. Later at the house, the band attempts to conceal their anxiety when Andy Warhol and a journalist arrive to interview and photograph them for a cover story in Interview Magazine. Raf denies the rumors about the group’s involvement with drugs and says they are busy concentrating on their music. After the interview, Dustin travels to South America and buys a kilogram of cocaine. Back in the U.S., he presents Phil with the single kilogram as a gesture of trust and explains how the shipment went missing. Uninterested, Phil rejects the offering and says he will be in touch. In the meantime, the band continues to practice for their upcoming concerts while Warhol spends time with the group and takes photographs of the rehearsals with his Polaroid camera. Elsewhere in the house, Herman and Lucy have formed a secret partnership and discuss their plans for selling the twenty kilograms of cocaine, which Herman managed to grab and hide as soon as it washed ashore. At a lighthouse, Herman meets with a man who can arrange a buyer. Meanwhile, Phil suggests to his colleagues that he could talk with Raf, to whom he feels a certain loyalty, but Phil’s boss thinks they have been too lenient and dispatches a hit man to the house. The night before their getaway, Lucy and Herman frolic with each other, in anticipation of being a millionaire couple. The next morning, while everyone is still sleeping, Herman sneaks into Raf’s room and steals the keys to the Cadillac. He and Lucy then retrieve the hidden bags of cocaine from a nearby pond. However, unknown to them, Warhol is hiding among the reeds with his camera and takes Polaroid instant photographs of the couple carrying the bags and placing them in the trunk of Raf’s car. When Dustin wakes and sees the photographs, it appears to him that Herman and Lucy are colluding with Raf. Outside on the lawn, Dustin confronts Raf with a gun, but the manager laughs at the accusation that he would conspire with the irritating assistant. Meanwhile, Herman and Lucy drive to a field where they meet a plane arriving with their money. However, when Herman hands over the drugs, the plane takes off, leaving him and Lucy empty-handed. As Raf defends himself from Dustin’s attack, he is shot dead by Phil’s hit man. The police arrive and question Dustin and the others at the house. Sometime later, at the apartment in New York City, Dustin admits to Warhol that he was wrong about Raf’s betrayal and wishes their last conversation had been different. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.