July 29, 2018, marks the 30-year anniversary of a classic Tom Cruise flick — "Cocktail." Yep, the '80s romance debuted three decades ago this month, with Tom playing business student-turned-flashy bartender Brian Flanagan opposite Elisabeth Shue as artist-waitress Jordan Mooney. In honor of the film's milestone anniversary, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at more of our favorite movies that involve the bar scene. Keep reading to check them out…
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2000 gave us a rom-com-musical hybrid set in a super-fun bar! "Coyote Ugly" starred Piper Perabo as Violet, an aspiring songwriter who gets a gig at the titular trendy watering hole where beautiful bartenders dance on the bar. Other Coyote Ugly employees included Tyra Banks as Zoe, Bridget Moynahan as Rachel and Izabella Miko as Cammie. Maria Bello portrayed bar owner Lil and LeAnn Rimes performed the memorable theme song, "Can't Fight the Moonlight." The film was a big box-office success but wasn't exactly adored by critics.
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One of the stars of the movie "St. Elmo's Fire" happened to be St. Elmo's Bar. The 1985 film also starred all of the usual '80s Brat Pack suspects — Emilio Estevez as Kirbo, Rob Lowe as Billy, Andrew McCarthy as Kevin, Demi Moore as Jules, Judd Nelson as Alec and Ally Sheedy as Leslie. The actors all played recent Georgetown graduates who are trying to adjust to their new adult lives and often meet up at their old college hangout, St. Elmo's Bar. The film had a cult following but was panned by critics, with Rob even picking up a Razzie Award for worst supporting actor.
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Guess where the 1987 film "Barfly" is set? We bet you got that one right! The Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway film is a semi-autobiographical retelling of the period that writer Charles Bukowski spent drinking heavily in Los Angeles bars. Mickey portrays Henry, Charles' alter ego, with Faye as Wanda, a fellow alcoholic who gets involved with him. The '80s flick (the screenplay was written by the famed author) delivered positive reviews and even earned Faye a best actress Golden Globe nomination.
The little-known 2000 flick "In the Weeds" featured a cast of familiar faces and set itself in a familiar place — a trendy bar and restaurant — but that unfortunately didn't translate to good reviews. Molly Ringwald starred as veteran waitress Chloe alongside a pre-"Grey's Anatomy" Ellen Pompeo, who played Martha. One reviewer called it "the worst of the restaurant movies I've seen over the last decade," and Rotten Tomatoes currently has the flick at a 53 percent fresh rating.
Steve Buscemi set his film "Trees Lounge" in a bar. The 1996 flick, which Steve wrote, directed and starred in, centers around his character, Tommy, an alcoholic and regular at his local bar, Trees Lounge. The indie film received decent reviews and even picked up best first screenplay and best first feature nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Patrick Swayze working as a bouncer at a roadside bar? That's the premise of the 1989 film "Road House," in which the hunky actor took on the role of James, a man who moves from New York City to work the door at the Double Deuce bar in Jasper, Missouri. The film didn't do too well at the box office — it also picked up five nominations at the infamous Razzie Awards — but it eventually established a cult following.
Also heavily set in a bar with a cult following? Quentin Tarantino's 1996 flick "From Dusk till Dawn." The film, which technically features an establishment that's more of a strip club than a typical bar, stars George Clooney as Seth Gecko and Quentin as Richie Gecko, two bank robbers who run off to Mexico and find solace at a strip club where the bar employees (like Salma Hayek) are actually vampires. Not weird at all! The film nabbed George an MTV Movie Award for best breakthrough performance that year while Quentin got a Razzie nomination for worst supporting actor.
1996 also gave us "The Birdcage," the hilarious and star-studded film set in the world of a South Beach, Florida, drag club of the same name. Robin Williams starred as club owner Armand while Nathan Lane portrayed his flamboyant partner, Albert, the star performer at The Birdcage. Armand's son from a one-night stand (with Christine Baranski's Katherine), Val (played by Dan Futterman), shows up to announce he's getting married. Gene Hackman played the ultraconservative Republican Senator Kevin Keeley, the father of Val's future wife, Barbara (played by Calista Flockhart), who visits with wife Louise (played by Dianne Wiest). The film was No. 1 at the box office for three weeks running and ended up making $185 million worldwide.
The late James Gandolfini's final film, "The Drop," was a 2014 drama that centered heavily around a neighborhood bar serving as a "drop" for illegal dealings. Tom Hardy starred as Bob, the bartender, who worked closely with James' character, Marvin, to help facilitate the criminal activity going down at the Brooklyn watering hole. Though it had a relatively limited release, it did well at the box office and earned rave reviews.
Technically, "Waiting" takes place in the restaurant Shenaniganz, but the eatery's bar plays a major role in this 2005 comedy. The funny flick shows what life is like for the employees at a chain restaurant with Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Justin Long and Kaitlin Doubleday playing disgruntled waiters Monty, Serena, Dean and Amy. Then-newcomer John Francis Daley played Mitch, a new hire Monty is in charge of training, and Emmanuelle Chriqui kept the drinks flowing as bartender Tyla. The film was a surprising smash at the box office, making double its budget on its opening weekend.
The legendary Old Hollywood film "Casablanca" saw Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine working as a nightclub owner in the titular city. His bar, "Rick's Cafe Americain," sees his former love Ilsa Lund (famously played by Ingrid Bergman) pass through during World War II alongside her new husband, Victor Laszlo (played by Paul Henreid). The film is largely heralded as one of the best of all time, with Time magazine listing it among the 100 greatest of the last 80 years and Empire ranking it at No. 28 on its 100 Greatest Movies of All Time list.
The world met Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in 1997's "Good Will Hunting" after the then-unknowns wrote and starred in the Academy Award-winning film. It centered around Will Hunting (played by Matt), a genius working as a janitor at MIT who often lets loose by drinking with pal Chuckie (played by Ben) at a particular Harvard bar. It's also at that bar where Will meets love interest Skylar, played by Minnie Driver, and scores her number. How ya like them apples?!
"54," which is set in the famous New York City nightclub Studio 54, had some of the biggest names of the late '90s attached. Ryan Phillippe played Studio 54 bartender Shane O'Shea, who's seduced by the glamorous world of partying with the rich and famous. Salma Hayek played up-and-coming singer Anita, Neve Campbell portrayed soap-opera star Julie and Mike Myers rounded out the big names as Steve Rubell, Shane's boss. The film received dismal reviews and Ryan even got a Razzie Award nomination for worst actor. But strangely, the film has recently experienced a resurgence — a director's cut of the flick was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 and the movie gained a cult following, particularly in the gay community.
Cameron Diaz made her feature-film debut as Tina in the next movie on our list, 1994's "The Mask." Jim Carrey's character, Stanley, transforms into the Mask while trying to enter the nightclub Coco Bongo to see Tina dance. The film became the second-highest grossing superhero flick of the era, coming in behind "Batman," after blowing up the box office and receiving rave reviews.
Sofia Coppola set an important scene in her film "Lost in Translation" in a very specific bar — the New York Bar in Tokyo. The key scene in the 2003 film sees Bill Murray's Bob and Scarlett Johansson's Charlotte meeting in the scenic bar and establishing a friendship that fuels the plot for the rest of the film. The movie was a massive hit that earned four Academy Award nominations plus BAFTA Awards for both Bill and Scarlett for best actor and best actress.
Bar fight! Quentin Tarantino likes to feature bars in his films, including "Inglourious Basterds." The 2009 war movie starring Brad Pitt as First Lieutenant Aldo "The Apache" Raine, Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark and Christoph Waltz as Colonel Hans Landa includes a memorable encounter at a bar where an undercover British spy (played by Michael Fassbender) is outed simply by giving his drink order. Yep, by gesturing that he'd like three whiskeys with three fingers, which is different than what a native German would do (he should have used a thumb and two fingers), the Gestapo major he's talking to confirms the ruse and an epic and bloody bar fight ensues.
Though "The Shining" centers around the Overlook Hotel, the hotel bar plays a prominent part in the film. The 1980 Stanley Kubrick horror movie sees Jack Torrance (famously played by Jack Nicholson) working as the off-season caretaker of a spooky hotel and bringing his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), along for the winter. At one point, Jack heads to the bar, only to be served a glass of whiskey by a ghost. Though the successful film had many iconic scenes, this bar scene is one we've yet to forget.
While "A Clockwork Orange" doesn't consistently feature a bar, the 1971 movie does have one iconic scene that takes place in a very unconventional one! The Korova Milk Bar plays a prominent role in the Stanley Kubrick crime film, as it serves milk laced with drugs, as explained by protagonist Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell). The establishment opts to serve milk instead of alcohol because that way, minors can be served, which delights Alex, who imbibes and then goes on violent rampages with his gang. The film, which picked up a best picture Oscar nomination, was critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
2001's "Moulin Rouge!" was set in the titular French cabaret. In this Baz Luhrmann musical, Ewan McGregor's Christian falls in love with the star of the show, Satine, played by Nicole Kidman. The film was a huge success that picked up eight Academy Award nominations.