Heathers (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Heathers (1988)



Critic Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.

Movie Info

A deliciously nasty black comedy, Heathers is set at a cliquish high school in Ohio. The most exclusive of those cliques is the Heathers, comprised of the prettiest and most popular girls in town. The group's leader is the manipulative Kim Walker, who orchestrates the humiliation of anyone who fails to meet her standards. Eventually, Heathers member Winona Ryder begins to exhibit a conscience; together with her hardcase boyfriend Christian Slater, Ryder plots to avenge all the unfortunate victims of the group. Before long, Heather (Kim Walker) ends up dead along with Kurt and Ram, with poignant suicide notes posted near their bodies. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: Daniel Waters
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 30, 1999
New World Video


Winona Ryder
as Veronica Sawyer
Kim Walker
as Heather Chandler
Penelope Milford
as Pauline Fleming
Glenn Shadix
as Fr. Ripper
Lance Fenton
as Kurt Kelly
Jeremy Applegate
as Peter Dawson
Carrie Lynn
as Martha `Dumptruck' D...
Shannen Doherty
as Heather Duke
Lisanne Falk
as Heather McNamara
Ursula Martin
as Featured
Renee Estevez
as Betty Finn
John Zarchen
as Country Club Keith
Sherrie Wills
as Country Club Courtne...
Andy David
as Fat Cynic
Kevin Hardesty
as 1st Heavy Metaller i...
Josh Richman
as 2nd Heavy Metaller i...
Bess Meyer
as Female Stoner
Jennifer Rhodes
as Veronica's Mom
Bill Cort
as Veronica's Dad
Larry Cox
as David
John Ingle
as Principal Gowan
Stuart Mabray
as Counselor Paul Hyde
Aaron Mendelson
as Nerd in Pauline's Cl...
Kirk Scott
as Big Bud Dean
Mark Bringelson
as Officer McCord
Chuck La Font
as Officer Milner
Mark Carlton
as Kurt's Dad
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Heathers

Critic Reviews for Heathers

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (12)

Heathers locates the emotional totalitarianism lurking in a prom queen's heart.

Full Review… | August 31, 2010
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A super-smart black comedy about high school politics and teenage suicide that showcases a host of promising young talents.

Full Review… | August 31, 2010
Top Critic

Two decades later, Heathers is so on the money, with its vague but unmistakable parallels to several school shootings, that it could never be made today.

Full Review… | July 15, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A super-smart black comedy about high school politics and teenage suicide that showcases a host of promising young talents.

Full Review… | July 18, 2007
Top Critic

Its inanities and glib pretensions are so thick that it mainly comes across as tacky and contrived.

Full Review… | July 18, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The film uses an intimate knowledge of teen-movie clichés to subvert their debased values from the inside.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Heathers

Best friends, social trends and occasional murder.

Good 80's movie! From the iconic opening sequence to the explosive ending, every scene is darkly comic and dripping with irony. It almost looks over-rehearsed as nearly every actor's performance is flawless. Ryder in particular shines with her angst-ridden 'Dear Diary' entries, and Slater I don't believe has ever again encapsulated such a perfect role in his career to date. The humour is dark and the plot unbelievable at times, but this only adds to the surreal atmosphere and unforgettable lines. A sexy cast, a great script and director Michael Lehmann's vision makes this a must-see film.

A regular girl, Veronica, tries to survive the social jungle of high school by sticking with the three most popular girls at school who are all called Heather. As she meets a sociopath named JD, her life spirals into a continuous cycle of hate, unintentional murder and indifference, as she exacts revenge on her enemies, also known as her best friends.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

It's dark, but well made. I couldn't take my eyes off of Winona Ryder who gives a bravura performance. The film has its charm, despite its violence.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A grotesque and very dark comedy, Heathers is a sadistically sweet encounter that pushes the envelope for what a conventional high school film can accomplish. Besides being caustically dark, it's actually quite charming and eccentric in places. The film is clearly a reckoning on the role of popular crowds in high schools and the how abysmal the rest of the student population's lives truly are. Playing up the concept of mass suicides, pop music, and adult's view of Generation X in the late days of the eighties, Heathers is a comedy as well as commentary on life as a teenager. Before all else I have to point out how cheery and saccharine most of this looks. Its' sets and costuming are all multi-colored and bright as those of The Wizard of Oz. The Heathers are each in high fashion outfits most of the time, or else celebrating their school spirit with aplomb. Our leads are two sensationally talented people in Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Though much of the film is unbelievable in its acceptance of such horrifying events such as gay love affairs gone suicide pact etc., it has a happiness and consideration for the audience's intelligence that it is so daringly different. Ryder and Slater have some intense, and yet juvenile, chemistry between them. Slater certainly gives the best and most potent performance as a marginalized youth hinting at the snake-like charm right under the surface. While it's quite funny, the tone shifts about half-way through the film. It keeps its stylization of lacing queer images, music, and dialogue with dark humor, but delves darker and deeper as Slater's character's motivation becomes clear. The love story of course suffers; it becomes much more about social privilege and the problems with how social structures in high school are set up, leading to a film revolving around a serial killer. Truly, it's a pleasant film, and a nearly iconic one at that, but the decision to add depth was such a surprise that it was off-putting. It becomes much more disturbing, but lacks the eccentric charm it starts off with. For that I find fault, but otherwise it was interesting and fresh.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Heathers Quotes

– Submitted by Bobby O (5 months ago)
– Submitted by L T (11 months ago)
– Submitted by Joey S (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Michael B (2 years ago)

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