There’S 1 Major Reason Why Sam Elliott Is So Hard To Recognize In Road House


Sam Elliott played Wade Garrett in the original Road House, but many viewers may not have recognized him due to one big change in his appearance. Wade Garrett was Dalton’s best friend and mentor in Road House, and he played a hugely important role in the movie. By the end of Road House, Elliott had become one of the most memorable parts of the entire movie, and a big reason for its lasting legacy. Though Elliott was incredibly important to Road House, he was also oddly hard to recognize in the movie.

Elliott has some impressive movies in his filmography, but he’s mostly known for his Western films like Tombstone and Gettysburg and shows like 1883. While Road House was a Western, its modern setting was different from many of Elliott’s most famous projects. Looking back, Road House doesn’t seem like the type of role Elliott would take nowadays, and the fact that he’s so hard to recognize makes that feeling even stronger. It turns out there’s a fairly simple explanation for why Elliott is so hard to recognize in Road House.

Sam Elliott Doesn’t Have His Signature Mustache & Haircut In Road House 1989
Elliott’s longer hair and stubble in Road House made him look wildly different

The main reason Sam Elliott is so hard to recognize in Road House is because he wasn’t sporting two of his most identifying features in the movie. In most of the films Elliott has appeared in, he had short, white or gray hair with a matching bushy mustache that served as his only facial hair. But in Road House, Elliott had long, flowing, salt-and-pepper hair and stubble across his entire face. That, coupled with how old Sam Elliott was in Road House, made him almost unrecognizable. He was only 43 when the movie was filmed, so he looked considerably younger than some of his more famous appearances.

One of the few ways Elliott was really identifiable in Road House was by his voice. Throughout his career, Elliott has had a truly unique, and gravelly voice that set him apart from other actors. He also had his signature deep voice in Road House, though viewers had to really pay attention to connect Wade’s voice with Elliott. While Wade’s longer hair and stubble established him as an easy-going, laid back cooler, Elliott’s voice helped show how dangerous he could be in a fight, and it helped audiences recognize the famous actor.

Sam Elliott Is Great In Road House (Despite Its Bad Reviews)
His performance helped turn Road House into a cult classic

Road House was not a very well-received movie, as it only earned 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is often considered a “good-bad” movie. Much of Road House’s criticism focused on the movie’s over-the-top action scenes and cheesy dialogue that were used to provide cheap entertainment. While those aspects were, admittedly, drawbacks, Road House managed to have an enduring legacy and find a dedicated cult following, largely thanks to Elliott. Wade had a palpable presence on-screen every time he fought thanks to Elliott’s physicality in the role, and his delivery turned some of his most clunky lines into iconic and cool parts of the film.

Road House’s climax would have been nothing more than a bloody brawl if Elliott hadn’t been able to give viewers an emotional connection to Wade.

Elliott also shined in the role in a much more traditional way. Wade Garrett served as the emotional heart of Road House, as his murder was Dalton’s motivation to stay in Jasper and fight back against Brad Wesley. Wade’s death wouldn’t have had nearly as much emotional impact if Sam Elliott wasn’t so effective at portraying an endearing and likable friend. Because of Elliott’s performance, Dalton’s rampage felt justified, and his anger at Wesley and his men was very easy to empathize with. Road House’s climax would have been nothing more than a bloody brawl if Elliott hadn’t been able to give viewers an emotional connection to Wade.


How Sam Elliott Is Replaced In The Road House Remake
Charlie takes on Wade’s emotional and moral duties in the remake

Wade Garrett didn’t appear in the remake, but because of how important he was to the film, Road House still had to replace Sam Elliott’s character. In the remake, Hannah Lanier’s Charlie took on many of the roles Elliott had in the original. When Charlie’s bookstore was burned down, it acted as the film’s emotional impact and impetus for Dalton’s rampage in the remake, just like Wade’s murder did in the original. While she wasn’t a perfect replacement for Wade, as she wasn’t able to help Dalton in fights due to her young age, Charlie did help keep the movie’s emotional core intact.

Charlie also took responsibility for Wade’s roles earlier in the film as well. Throughout the original Road House, Wade gave Dalton advice and guidance on a number of issues. While some of Wade’s advice was geared towards fighting, he also gave Dalton moral support. Charlie did the same in the remake, as both she and Wade showed Dalton that despite his past sins, he wasn’t the villain he thought he was. In the original, Wade helped Dalton realize his previous killing really was self-defense, whereas in the remake, Charlie helped him see how much good he had done for Glass Key.

Sam Elliott Would Be The Perfect Original Actor Cameo For A Road House 2024 Sequel
He didn’t make it into the first remake, but a potential sequel could feature Elliott

Sam Elliott was one of the main actors from the original Road House that audiences hoped would make an appearance in the remake. He was one of the most iconic parts of the original film, and Wade was extremely likable, so Elliott seemed like a natural choice for a cameo, even though his character died in the original. The Road House remake had several references to the original movie, but it didn’t feature any cameos from the original cast. Luckily, Elliott could still have a chance to be part of Road House’s revival in a potential sequel to Jake Gyllenhaal’s film.

Thanks to the Road House remake’s post-credits scene, a sequel to the remake seems extremely likely. Elliott would be the perfect choice to appear in the sequel, as he’s easily the most recognizable living member of the original cast after Patrick Swayze’s tragic death in 2009. There aren’t currently any official plans for a Road House sequel, but Elliott could easily fit into the potential movie. A sequel to Road House would likely pit Dalton against a new bar he has to clean up, and with that several new characters would have to be added, so Sam Elliott could realistically play any of them.