“Risky Business!” The Classic Turns 30! Chicago’s Best Movies!

“It’s What Every White Boy Off The Lake Wants…”

risky-business classic film

The “lake” is, of course, Lake Michigan, and what every “white boy” wants is dissected with precision in one of the greatest “coming of age” movies ever! Rebecca De Mornay stars with a very young Tom Cruise in one of Chicago’s greatest films!

risky_business tom cruise movie

“Risky Business” made Tom Cruise a star, and it ushered in a decade of “coming of age” films like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”…but this is the classic, and it’s turning thirty years old!

Risky Business sun glasses

The plot in a nutshell: Joel had all the normal teenage fantasies…cars, girls, money. Then his parents left for a week, and all his fantasies came true.

Check out the classic trailer:


Wow. 30 years on, this is still one of the greatest “coming of age” films EVER – plus one of the great “star making” vehicles – for a young actor named Tom Cruise.

Cue The Iconic Dance Scene!


The dance scene where Cruise dances to “Old Time Rock N’ Roll” was completely improvised. In the script Tom Cruise was simply instructed to “dance to rock music”. It has become one of the most copied moments in film history…

Here is that iconic scene from the film!

great movie moments

Look at how the outfit from that scene has become iconic – pics are everywhere online of people posing in the outfit – and the glasses!

The Iconic “Risky Business” Sunglasses!

Risky Business sun glasses

This look also became iconic – and another much copied film look. The sunglasses Joel wears are the Ray-Ban Wayfarer model. Annual sales of Wayfarers were languishing as of 1983 but skyrocketed 2000% after the movie’s release.


Joel Goodson: Don’t steal anything. If I come back here and anything’s missing, I’m going straight to the police. I mean it.

Lana: Go to school, Joel. Learn something.

There is a terrific camaraderie between Cruise and De Mornay in the film, especially when she brings her other “Working girls” into the house to make extra cash, which leads to this funny exchange:


Joel Goodson: Some of the girls are wearing my mother’s clothing.

Lana: What’s wrong with that?

Joel Goodson: I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life in analysis.


“Risky Business” was sold as a comedy, but it’s a very dark movie with a classic film noir look to it, even though the iconic dance sequence was used to sell it as a comedy.

There Was An Alternative Ending!


Writer/Director Paul Brickman had a completely different ending for the film with a rather pessimistic tone, with Joel being denied admission to Princeton and he and Lana sitting on the roof of a building overlooking the city pondering his future and hers, and for once Lana lets her guard down.

Tom Cruise Risky Business

The studio however, wanted a “feel good” ending, because this was the popular theme of teen movies at the time, so both versions were shot and shown to a test audience and it was agreed that their preference would be the ending for the film.

Curtis Armstrong Plays Joel’s Caustic Buddy Miles!

Curtis Armstrong Risky Business

The terrific character Actor Curtis Armstrong – perhaps best known as “Booger” in “Revenge Of The Nerds” – plays Joel’s buddy Miles, who goads him into many of his problems, and always has a wisecrack…

Miles: I don’t believe this! I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the killer pimp.

risky_business tom cruise movie

“Risky Business” is one of the best teen films ever, and one of Chicago’s many treasures as well – happy 30th!

Categories: Academy Awards, Awards, Books / Media, Film Noir, Great Films, Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

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