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Empire Records (1995)



Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 16

Despite a terrific soundtrack and a strong early performance from Renee Zellweger, Empire Records is mostly a silly and predictable teen dramedy.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 3

Despite a terrific soundtrack and a strong early performance from Renee Zellweger, Empire Records is mostly a silly and predictable teen dramedy.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 180,885

My Rating

Movie Info

A funky little record shop provides the setting for this youthful comedy that centers on the workers there as they try to help poor Joe Anthony LaPaglia), the manager who really wants to buy the place, recoup his losses after his well-meaning, but dim-bulbed employee Lucas (Rory Cochrane ) steals his savings and loses it all in Atlantic City while trying to increase it twofold at the gaming tables. If they cannot come up with the loot, the mega-chain Music City will buy it. ~ Sandra Brennan,


Drama, Comedy

Carol Heikkinen

Apr 3, 2001

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now


Latest News on Empire Records

May 31, 2011:
Colin Hanks Turns to Kickstarter for Tower Records Documentary
Budding filmmaker seeks funds for a look at the rise and fall of a legendary music retailer.
August 26, 2007:
RT-UK's What to Watch at the Edinburgh Film Festival
Rotten Tomatoes UK heads up north to take in the sights and sounds of the Edinburgh Film Festival....


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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (16) | DVD (20)

A soundtrack in search of a movie, Empire Records is one teen-music effort that never finds a groove.

August 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lovably sloppy.

August 14, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Overall, fatally ersatz but good natured at heart.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If the movie is a lost cause, it may at least showcase actors who have better things ahead of them.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Insubstantial, predictable and often dull.

August 11, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One of the hippest and most enjoyable movies of the 90s. This ROCKS!

April 19, 2008

...things just move quickly from one person's conflicts to another, with little momentum or feeling of satisfaction.

July 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Leaves you with the sensation of having chewed a piece of bubblegum until well after its flavour ran dry.

June 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

[Leaves the] impression of artificiality.

April 3, 2003 Full Review

The Empire Strikes Out . . . lame Gen-X "comedy" that falls completely flat . . . Go rent CLERKS

March 20, 2003 Full Review Source:

Empire Records is little more than a poor man's Clerks, but an entertaining one.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

It has a good soundtrack, lots of free-for-all dance scenes, and derision toward aging singers and capitalists. And you just can't get enough of that.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Empire Records

Empire Records is a great comedy. The story is quite simple, yet kit works. This film is fun from start to finish. This is a comedy that stands out, and is still a film worth seeing again and again. The cast do a great joke, and their characters are likeable. Empire Records is one of the best Teen comedies that I've seen. There are some very good comedic elements that make this comedy stand out among others in the genre. I felt that this film was underrated, and it didn't deserve all the negative reviews it has received. This is a classic film, one that remains relevant over a decade after its release. The cast is wonderful, and though flawed Empire Records works well enough and is much better than most teen comedy flicks of today. This is a fun film to watch, one that is well crafted and with a cast of talented actors, it really makes this one a stand out film. I thought that this film was very entertaining from start to finish. Empire Records deserves much more praise than it received. This film proves once again that mainstream critics are too quick to judge. This film is good, with gags, a good story and really stands out. If you love a smart teen comedy, Empire Records is the one. There's some stand out moments in this film, though far from the teen comedies of the 80's, Empire Records is still a film worth seeing. Very enjoyable and original, this film is much better than most of teen comedies of today. A much underrated gem, Empire Records is great entertainment despite its flaws.
May 11, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

"Damn the Man! Save the Empire!"

The employees of an independent music store learn about each other as they try anything to stop the store being absorbed by a large chain.

The theme of Empire Records is the struggle of man against the greed of the corporate machine. Empire Records is an independent music store that is very lax with its employees, offers many different genres of music, and in general offers a very artistic environment for its customers. The owners of Empire wish to sell out and make Empire into a chain store. Joe, played by Anthony Lapaglia, is the store manager who takes an employee named Lucas, played by Rory Cochrane, under his wing. Together with the other misfits that work at Empire, they try to figure out a plan to save Empire from turning into a dreaded Music Town while dealing with their own personal problems on one very eventful day at the store.

Other important issues that are addressed in this film include depression, Debra (played by Robin Tunney) cuts all of her hair off and tries to slit her wrist, drug addiction, Corey (played by Liv Tyler) is the perfect student who occasionally takes speed to help her stay awake to study, and risky sexual behavior, Gina (played by Renee Zellweger) thinks she will feel better about herself and find love by sleeping around.

Two techniques used in this movie to demonstrate the theme were sound and lighting. The soundtrack of the film is very diverse and alternative which can be compared to the environment of Empire Records. Empire is not your typical music store and the music they play there is not always the most well known. The lighting of Empire can be considered dim and a little hazy at times, which compared to the harsh fluorescent lighting found at a chain store, gives Empire Records an even more unique feel.
December 8, 2011
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

I kinda liked it. It's nothing more than a guilty pleasure.
May 23, 2011
Japes .

Super Reviewer

with the recent release of the special edition dvd of this film, i'd suggest you go watch it. yeah, this movie is a light, fluffy gen-x teen movie with its music video moments. however, what was years ago just a normal teen movie has gained some resemblance of social relevance -- compared to today's teen movies, this film can be seen as some sort of masterpiece.

for one thing, you never see films anymore where teens are actually fighting for something except for a date to the prom. the characters in empire records, yes, are submerged in their overdramatic romantic escapades, but their main prerogative in the film is to prevent a large corporation from buying out their independent record store. are there films that spark that kind of activist spirit in middle- and high- schoolers today? no. we're going backwards.

also, the humor in this film offers up some absurdist wit, which you never find in teen movies now. a kid glues some quarters to the floor so he can laugh at the poor saps who later try desperately to pick them up. a shoplifting teenager gives the fake name of 'warren beatty'. do kids today even know who warren beatty is? i doubt it.

this film was made in 1995, right before many of the laws allowing corporations to buy and control multiple media outlets were passed. the years since '96 have shown us a homogenization of music and movies, especially in the teen sphere, and it is turning today's teens into a bunch of celebrity-obsessed idiots.
April 13, 2010
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

    1. Mark: [Answers the Phone] Empire Records, open 'til midnight, this is Mark. [pauses Midnight.
    – Submitted by Ben H (3 years ago)
    1. Warren: Who glued these quarters down?
    2. A.J.: I did.
    3. Warren: What the hell for, man?
    4. A.J.: I don't feel that I need to explain my art to you, Warren.
    – Submitted by Japes . (3 years ago)
    1. Joe: Who knows where thoughts come from. They just appear.
    – Submitted by Japes . (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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