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True Stories (1986)

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A small but growing Texas town, filled with strange and musical characters, celebrates its sesquicentennial and converge on a local parade and talent show.


David Byrne
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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David Byrne and the Talking Heads perform the song "Once in a Lifetime" before a live audience at the Pantages Theater theater in Hollywood.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Talking Heads


Cast overview, first billed only:
David Byrne ... Narrator / Lip-Syncher / Talking Heads singer
John Goodman ... Louis Fyne
Annie McEnroe ... Kay Culver
Jo Harvey Allen ... The Lying Woman
Spalding Gray ... Earl Culver
Alix Elias ... The Cute Woman
Roebuck 'Pops' Staples Roebuck 'Pops' Staples ... Mr. Tucker
Tito Larriva ... Ramon (as Humberto 'Tito' Larriva)
John Ingle ... The Preacher
Matthew Posey ... The Computer Guy
Swoosie Kurtz ... Miss Rollings
Freeman Beatty Freeman Beatty ... Lip-Syncher
Evelyn Box Evelyn Box ... Hey Now Kid
Kevin Box Kevin Box ... Hey Now Kid
Amy Buffington Amy Buffington ... Linda Culver


David Byrne of Talking Heads fame visits a typical (and fictional) Texas town, on the eve of the town's celebration of the state's sesquicentennial. He meets various colorful local characters, most notably Lewis Fyne, a big-hearted bachelor in search of matrimony. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"It's a completely cool, multi-purpose movie." See more »


Musical | Comedy


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

10 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alithines istories See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


David Byrne's band Talking Heads was unable to perform at Live Aid (1985) due to Byrne's commitment to this film. See more »


The movie supposedly takes place in the town of Virgil, Texas. However, in one scene where little children in 4-H shirts are dancing in a field, a water tower is briefly visible in the background that clearly says "RED OAK". See more »


Earl Culver: Welcome to our talent show under the stars. Before we begin, I want to just tell you a little story that I heard about Texas recently in a local tavern. It seems though God was working around the earth here, trying to make it beautiful just like the rest of the world. He had to knock off because it was nighttime. And He said, "I'll come back tomorrow and make it just as pretty as the rest of the world,with lakes and streams and mountains and trees." And He got back the next day, and saw that ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

1. Two columns of rolling credits run at different speeds. Left faster than right, then right faster than left. See more »

Alternate Versions

Extended/re-edited versions of the Wild Wild Life and Love for Sale musical numbers were released as music videos. See more »


Featured in re:View: True Stories (2017) See more »


Buster's Theme
Written by Carl Finch, David Byrne and Brian Eno
Produced by David Byrne
Performed by Carl Finch
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User Reviews

"THAT was the weirdest thing I've EVER seen."
17 July 2006 | by blackmareSee all my reviews

That's what he told me, at the end of the movie. The sophisticated New Yorker, the witty Kubrick fan with his degree in film, sat there stunned on the floor; I could almost see the smoke coming out of his ears.

To try and describe it is something like attempting to nail Jell-O to the wall. There's no plot, really; but there are a lot of things going on, threads of peoples' lives, loosely connected. The film describes itself as being "about a bunch of people in Virgil, Texas" and it is, but actually it's about the wonderful absurdity, lunacy even, of "normal" American life. David Byrne's Narrator character isn't condescending or snide. He's innocent, wondering, matter-of-fact. He looks at the cookie-cutter tract houses and asks, "Who can say it isn't beautiful?"

This is a very unique little movie, and people either seem to get it, or not. I can never predict who will or won't catch the humor. But, if you're not smiling by the end of the intro sequence, this probably isn't the movie for you. Personally, I was laughing my butt off by then. I can't say that this movie made me a better person, but it did add something to my world and gave me a great appreciation for the mind of David Byrne.

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