Cocktail (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cocktail (1988)



Critic Consensus: There are no surprises in Cocktail, a shallow, dramatically inert romance that squanders Tom Cruise's talents in what amounts to a naive barkeep's banal fantasy.

Movie Info

An aspiring New York bartender (Tom Cruise) decides to learn from the best (Bryan Brown) and then takes off for Jamaica to work while looking for a sugarmommy. Instead, he finds love with an artist (Elizabeth Shue).more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Heywood Gould
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 13, 2002
Touchstone Pictures


Tom Cruise
as Brian Flanagan
Bryan Brown
as Doug Coughlin
Elisabeth Shue
as Jordan Mooney
Lisa Banes
as Bonnie
Kelly Lynch
as Kerry Coughlin
Ron Dean
as Uncle Pat
Ellen Foley
as Eleanor
Jack Newman
as Economics Teacher
Paul Benedict
as Finance Teacher
Diane Douglass
as Mrs. Rivkin
George Sperdakos
as English Teacher
David Chant
as Chinese Porter
Larry Block
as Bar Owner
Kelly Connell
as Yuppie Poet
Luther Hansraj
as Ambulance Attendant
Kim Nelles
as Artist
Chris Owens
as Soldier
Justin Louis
as Soldier
John Graham
as Soldier
Robert Greenberg
as Job Interviewer
Harvey J. Alperin
as Job Interviewer
Sandra Will Carradin...
as Job Interviewer
Allan Wasserman
as Job Interviewer
E. Hampton Beagle
as Job Interviewer
Parker Whitman
as Job Interviewer
Paul Abbott
as Snotty Customer
Rick Livingston
as Job Interviewer
Bill Bateman
as Job Interviewer
Jean Pflieger
as Job Interviewer
Rosalyn Marshall
as Job Interviewer
Jeff Silverman
as Job Interviewer
Rich Crater
as Job Interviewer
Marykate Harris
as Job Interviewer
Lew Saunders
as Job Interviewer
Dianne Heatherington
as First Waitress
Arlene Mazerolle
as Second Waitress
Ellen Maguire
as Bar Patron
Ken McGregor
as Sculptor
Joseph Zaccone
as Bar Patron
Gerry Bamman
as Tourist
Reathel Bean
as Tourist
Peter Boyden
as Tourist
Liisa Repo-Martell
as Young Couple in Deli
Gregg Baker
as Bouncer
Adam Furfaro
as Young Couple in Deli
Richard B. Livingsto...
as Job Interviewer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Cocktail

Critic Reviews for Cocktail

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (12)

Cocktail is a bottle of rotgut in a Dom Perignon box.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The pairing of old-hand Brown and young-hand Cruise may have been meant to remind us of Cruise and Paul Newman; if so, think of this as The Color of Counterfeit Money.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

It may not be a megaton bomb, but Cocktail is definitely of the Molotov type.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Very, very stupid.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Cruise is beguiling with his smile and his swagger, but the script doesn't take us anywhere fresh when it leaves the barroom.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This vacant, misshapen film is basically an extended beer commercial that presents the world as a ludicrous place populated by sex-and-cash-and-booze-crazed zomboids. Cruise, meanwhile, comes off as a somewhat taller Spuds MacKenzie.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cocktail


What has Mr Cruise done to blokes over the years huh. He made us all wanna join the military so we could play with fighter jets and have a cool nickname, play/hustle nine-ball for a living, be a NASCAR driver...but at one point he also made all men wanna become bartenders. The image...behind a slick neon lit bar, fast money and easy sex, who would say no?.

Well the plot in this ever so 80's flick is a cocktail of drama in itself!. Kicks off as a loose dumb story about a young guy who learns to be a bartender and throws bottles around awful looking swanky yuppie/suit type bars. From there we get cheating, backstabbing and escapism to Jamaica where a soppy love story breaks out.
More backstabbing follows as we proceed to more heartbreak and the involvement with older rich women, much more fun then. Yet more breakup, death of a friend and eventual makeup leading to the obvious happy ending.

A veritable rollercoaster of a plot which is totally uninteresting and rather cringeworthy. Watching Cruise pose and strut around with his wide toothy grin and hair that can't decide to be straight or curly is somewhat painful at times. The bar scenes are really quite crap looking back, I remember how people thought this stuff was sooooo cool (laugh out loud!).

The cast is also another odd cocktail of choice. Aussie Bryan Brown who never really made much of a splash in Hollywood is a bizarre choice. Whilst Shue was never very attractive in my book and hardly sells her character, so dreadfully vanilla and dull!! geez!!. Brown is just totally uncool and annoying whilst Shue is a wet fish. Add to that the constant flow of hyped over acting and mugging by Cruise...oh god it makes you wanna vomit in your Singapore Sling!.

A film for the ladies I think as the only things that interested me was a few female arse shots and the thought of what life would be like as a sex toyboy for a rich middle aged business woman (I would of stuck it out). In places this film is very awkward to watch, bordering on embarrassing. So completely and utterly dated (in a bad way) and serves no purpose other than a history lesson on 80's social gatherings and what people thought was cool employment at the time.

A time when Cruise's ego was sky high alongside his over acting, mind you what's new.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


It's always an eye opening experience when you enjoy a film that you know you should hate. Such is the self hatred roller coaster of Cocktail, a very basic and uninspiring premise, also poorly executed, but way too much fun with its camp and cast of characters to incite the usual villagers with torches effect. Yes, the eighties were an especially grotesque time for cinema, including sex fueled debauchery, consumerism going hand in hand with Reagan economics, and some mind altering soundtracks and scores, all synth, all the time. Cocktail gravitates towards these pitfalls with great ease, but never quite makes it into awful, mostly because of the intriguing cast. The plot itself is nauseating, starting off as a great story of a bartender following his dream of wealth and power. Instead of climbing the ladder, or at least cultivating a "there's more to life than money" mentality, our protagonist becomes ever more unlikable, a lady's man so in your face it's an ugly portrayal. Somehow we bounce between New York City and Jamaica, but not in a timeline that makes any sense, including a romance with Elisabeth Shue's character. It's because Tom Cruise can pull off cocky in almost all roles, and Shue is the obliged girl next door, that this is a cult success. Even though the story, with all the rags to riches mentality, but none of the follow through, is based on Cruise's character, it just isn't juicy enough for the audience. There's so much materialistic buildup from our hero, that his subsequent behavior and that of the other characters is sickening, especially Shue's. Still, anything with Cruise in the eighties includes an eyeful of neon and that quirky grin, which is enough for any woman with an open mind.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

One of the best romantic films ever made. I'm in love with this film and Tom Cruise was exceptional.

Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

Cocktail Quotes

– Submitted by Jessica G (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Cocktail on our Movie forum!