The River Phoenix Pages

River Man Actor Musician Brother Press
Feedback Interviews Tributes Bios and docs Fan tributes Links

Actor : River's filmography

My Own Private Idaho Sneakers


Dogfight (1991) USA 1991 92 minutes. Directed by Nancy Savoca.

  • River Phoenix - Eddie Birdlace
  • Lili Taylor - Rose Fenny
  • Richard Panebianco - Berzin
  • Anthony Clark - Oakie
  • Mitchell Whitfield - Benjamin
  • Holly Near (I) - Rose Sr.
  • Elizabeth Daily - Marcie (as E.G. Daily)
  • Sue Morales - Ruth Two Bears
  • Christina Mastin - Linda


San Francisco, November 1963. The night before they leave for Vietnam, 4 young Marines calling themselves the 4 Bees (or B's), play again at their favorite game, the "dogfight" : the one who brings back the ugliest girl of the party wins the stake.
After an unfortunate quest, Eddie Birdlace invites a waitress who's not as bad-looking as he would have liked. On the way to the party, she reveals herself being a music fan, an idealistic girl, and Eddie starts to hesitate about playing that mean game on her.
During the night she finds out the real reason of his invitation and leaves. He goes back to her house to invite her for a real dinner in the nicest restaurant he can find. She has to smooth over his bad temper because he wants so much the night to be perfect that he gets obnoxious with other people.
They eventually have a pleasant evening, and spend the night together. When the morning comes, Rose gives Eddie her address, not really expecting he would write her from Vietnam. Eddie joins his pals, who have gotten tattooes of bees during a wilder night than his own, to celebrate their friendship. Instead of telling them the truth, he makes up a brattish lie about a night spent with an officer's wife. His best friend knows the truth but they make a deal about not telling the others that they're both liars, as the rest of the world anyway. Eddie throws away Rose's address.
Vietnam : in a couple of seconds, a quiet day turns into hell for the 4 B's.
Later : Eddie comes back to San Francisco, now full of hippies and where his uniform is not quite welcome. He has 4 bees tattooed on his arm. Rose owns the restaurant by now and they get together, both older and disillusioned.


According to director Nancy Savoca, the producers were not completely satisfied with the movie as it is when they saw it, and she was asked to change the ending scenes to make it more commercial. She refused to shoot a new version of these scenes, which wouldn't stop the producers who intended to make it filmed by someone else. But both Lili Taylor and River Phoenix refused to shoot additional scenes if they were not directed by Nancy Savoca herself, and so the movie was kept as is.


Back to the Home Page