The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas1982

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this filmization of the hit Broadway musical, a popular brothel is threatened with a shutdown by Texas authorities. Burt Reynolds plays the Sheriff, while Dolly Parton portrays the Chicken Ranch madam. While this film has its moments, it never reaches the entertainment heights of its stage predecessor. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

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Dolly Parton
as Mona Stangley
Jim Nabors
as Deputy Fred
Robert Mandan
as Sen. Wingwood
Lois Nettleton
as Dulcie Mae
Ken Magee
as Mansel
Paula Shaw
as Wulla Jean
Lee Ritchie
as Governor's Aide
Alice Drummond
as Governor's Secretary
Lily Mariye
as Chicken Ranch Girl
Terri Robinson
as Chicken Ranch Girl
Karyn Harrison
as Chicken Girl
Randy Bennet
as Privates Boy
Terri Treas
as Chicken Ranch Girl
Melanie Winter
as Chicken Ranch Girl
Joe Hart
as Aggie
John Walter Davis
as Melvin's Crew
Gregory Itzin
as Melvin's Crew
Tim Stack
as Melvin's Crew
Larry B. Williams
as Melvin's Crew
Bobby Fite
as Dulcie Mae's Son
Kenneth White
as Sheriff Jack Roy
Ted Gehring
as Sheriff Chapman
Wayne Heffley
as TV Station Manager
Lee Ritchey
as Governor's Aide
Randy Bennett
as Privates Boy
John Edson
as Male Reporter
Robert Ginnaven
as Male Reporter
Suzi McLaughlin
as Female Reporter
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Critic Reviews for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (1)

Dolly and Burt and Whorehouse never get beyond the concept stage in this movie.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The music and the dancing are poor at best, and an embalmed kind of perfectionist's poor at that. Then there's director Collin Higgins. This guy's inability to create rhythm, in scenes as well as between them, could leach the life out of any script.

November 10, 2021 | Full Review…

...neither Parton nor Reynolds seem comfortable with the enforced intimacy...

May 16, 2021 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

This isn't a very engaging idea. Neither outrageous enough to be funny nor apt enough to be clever, it's a rickety hook to hang a movie on.

September 21, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A bawdy good time. All but stolen by Charles Durning as the sidestepping governor and Dom DeLuise as the leader of the decency police.

February 19, 2006 | Rating: 7/10

Not really the best.

October 24, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas


This musical might not have the best songs in the world, and doesn't show it's subject matter in a believable or realistic light, but it sure is fun and entertaining. Reynolds and Parton are a fantastic couple onscreen, as surprising as it sounds. The rest of the cast is made up of funny people and great dancers. The ending was the best part for me, it was the most realistic part of the movie and very emotional.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

First off, this film is in no way perfect. It's actually quite mind boggling if you watch it, because you sincerely wonder what the thought process was behind making this film. It isn't a bad concept or even a less than entertaining one, but it's just so haphazard and deliberately strange that to put it on the big screen doesn't make any sense, to me at least. This film pulled in the most money at the box office for a musical in the eighties, and led to an Oscar nomination for Charles Durning as the Texan Governor. It features the incomparable voice of Dolly Parton, who wrote several songs herself, including her already highly lauded "I Will Always Love You," later to be covered by Whitney Houston in The Body Guard. The songs are pretty catchy and it's very enjoyable to see some down home Southern stereotypes milked to showcase the same airy performances we've seen a thousand times already. What isn't enjoyable is the casting for some of these parts. Burt Reynolds singing alongside a Madame while only wearing a blanket as a bottom? Bandit, you're better than that. And Dom DeLuise what in tarnation were you thinking? Wearing a bowl cut wig, and cha-chaing around in the most obscene outfits while singing about promiscuity? You belong in a Mel Brooks film, sticking out your tush and cha-chaing there! The only person perfectly suited seems to be Jim Nabors as a cloddish sheriff's deputy reminiscent of Barney Fife. Durning gives a very off color and yet highly entertaining turn as the governor but didn't deserve an Oscar nomination for his less than ten minutes screen time. I think the Academy was just surprised to see the negotiator from Dog Day Afternoon sing about corruption and dance a little side step. What is truly strange is the use of sex as a vehicle to move the plot along, though it's pretty tame when it comes to the music and showing the town of simple Southern folk in contrast. There could have been a lot subtler and less errant ways of showing promiscuity and prostitution than throwing in several shots of the women's bits as it were. Even more troubling is that though they do go the distance with the nudity it ends in a morality tale, which is so bedrift of sense that it ends remotely anticlimactic. It's not the worst musical ever, but it's a pain to sit through; Sodom and Gomorrah it is not.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Despite being around 7 years old when I first watched this film (and not completely understanding all of it's contents) I watched this film over and over and fell in love with the costumes (how naive? ha ha). Country music isn't particular my thing, but this film is fun and I still remember pretty much every word throughout the film (yes, I was an even worse film addict as a kid). I have to rate this film fairly high, the nostalgia's sake.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

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