Lost Classics! “Where The Buffalo Roam”

On paper, it probably looked like a surefire idea: condense the crazed writings of brilliant journalist/author Hunter S. Thompson and turn it into a movie.  And sign up comedian Bill Murray to play him!  And have eccentric rocker Neil Young do the soundtrack!  Surely, a coked-up Hollywood producer’s dream.

Back in 1980, Where The Buffalo Roam was the unholy product of this drug-fueled vision.  Of course the movie was bad – it was little more than Murray mugging through one bizarre episode after another.  So little of Thompson’s sensibility made it onto the film, the writer hated the movie, even though Murray was a close friend.  And of course the movie was a flop.

The soundtrack album was probably an even bigger disappointment.  Young’s “score” consisted of nothing more than him riffing on the old song “Home On The Range.”  The record also had some old songs from Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Four Tops and Creedence Clearwater Revival that also appeared in the movie.

These days, the music is even harder to find than a copy of the movie.  In fact, most VHS and DVD versions of the film have replaced all of the classic stuff because of the high cost of music licensing.  Any version of Where The Buffalo Roam you’ll see today has only Neil Young’s score and Creedence’s “Keep On Chooglin’.”  The rest are just soundalikes – a just epitaph for a truly strange project.

Thompson may or may not have had this movie in mind when he committed suicide in 2005.  He probably felt better about Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, the even-stranger movie from 1998 starring Johnny Depp.

Footnote: My only favorite moment in Where The Buffalo Roam: a drunken Thompson (Murray) encounters presidential candidate Richard Nixon in a men’s room.  Muttering about “the doomed,” Thompson is brushed off by Nixon, who says “Fuck the doomed.”

MP3: “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” performed by Bill Murray

MP3: “Home On The Range” by Neil Young

MP3: “Straight Answers” by Bill Murray

MP3: “Ode To Wild Bill No. 3 (With dialogue)” by Neil Young w/Bill Murray

4 Responses to “Lost Classics! “Where The Buffalo Roam””

  1. Ron Mexico Says:

    During filming Hunter tied Murray to a chair and threw him into a swimming pool, leaving him to nearly drown before pulling him out.


  2. Overall the movie was a bit hokie, but there were numerous funny/memorable scenes. I’ve watched it more times then I can remember.

  3. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This is one of the funniest most classic movies ever. The writing is briliant. There is hardly a line in this movie that doesn’t make me laugh. Bill Murry is dead on with Thompson which is why Thompson hated it. Peter O’boyle is an awesome co-star. I can not imagine watching this movie and not loving it.

  4. Thank you so much for the music. I have this on vinyl and have not heard it in years.

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