Cocktail (1988)

Cocktail (1988) - Tom Cruise

Taglines: They thought he was good, they were wrong… he was the best

After leaving the Army, Brian Flanagan tries to get a marketing job in New York City. But without a college degree, this was not possible. He then decides to start studying for a business degree at the local City College and gets a part time job as a bartender. He realizes that its not that easy, but his new boss Douglas Coughlin teaches him the secrets of the bar trade and they become the most famous bartenders in town.

Both Brian and Doug Coughlin want their own top class cocktail bars someday and Brian’s Cocktail Bar is to be called ‘Cocktails & Dreams’. Inorder to get the necessary money to open it, Brian travels to Jamaica to work as a bartender at a resort Tiki Bar, and the pay is good. There he meets Jordan Mooney, a young and pretty, up and coming American artist on vacation with her girlfriend from New York City, staying at the Island resort. Jordan and Brian spend some quality time together and fall in love.

Cocktail is a 1988 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Roger Donaldson and written by Heywood Gould, whose screenplay was based on his book of the same name. The film tells the story of a young New York City business student, Brian Flanagan, who takes up bartending in order to make ends meet. The film stars Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, and Elisabeth Shue. Released by Touchstone Pictures, the film features an original music score composed by J. Peter Robinson.

Cocktail (1988)

About the Story

After leaving the United States Army and moving back home to New York City, Brian Flanagan gets a part-time job as a bartender at City Tavern by night while studying for a business degree by day. Over time, he learns the tricks of the trade, including flairing, from his boss/mentor Doug Coughlin. Brian and Doug soon become very close; Doug readily assumes a mentor role over the young and naive Brian, and rains advice and opinions down upon him. His advice takes a familiar structure, as he usually begins most of them with “Coughlin’s Law”.

While Brian has high personal aspirations, Doug is leery of the notion of starting their own bar together. Doug intends to call his bar “Cocktails & Dreams”. Eventually, Brian and Doug’s bartending act becomes popular and they end up working at a trendy nightclub catering to New York’s wealthy and elite. As their popularity rises, Brian becomes the focus of attention from a sultry brunette named Coral. Quickly, their friendship becomes sexual.

Doug is alarmed that Coral is coming between their work partnership and bets him Coral will leave him by week’s end, essentially doubting there is anything special about the seemingly perfect relationship shared between the two. Unknown to Brian, Doug lies to Coral about secrets being shared by Brian about her, tricking her into sleeping with him. He secures his bet by sharing a passionate kiss with Coral while at work in the bar in front of Brian. Coral then tells Brian he should never have discussed their love life with Doug and so he is dumped. Brian is very upset and fights with Doug at work, essentially ending his informal partnership with Doug.

Cocktail (1988)

The film fast-forwards three years. Brian decides to follow through with his plan and takes a job in Jamaica as a bartender to raise money for his own place. He finds a romantic partner in Jordan Mooney, an aspiring artist and waitress in New York. She and Brian spend romantic times together, playing in the water, before making passionate love on the beach by a campfire. Prior to this, however, Doug has shown up in Jamaica, now married to Kerry, a wealthy woman who openly flirts with other men and wears skimpy bikinis.

Doug quickly asserts himself and bets Brian to show how he can ‘pick up’ a new customer named Bonnie, a wealthy older woman. Brian accepts the challenge and wins Bonnie over. Just as they leave to go back to Bonnie’s room, Jordan sees them together. Devastated, Jordan takes an overnight plane back home to New York.

The next morning, Brian seems to regret sleeping with Bonnie. He goes to find Jordan but learns that she’s gone. Doug teases Brian about the situation but Brian decides to upstage Doug by returning to New York with the cougar-esque Bonnie under the auspices that he will be placed high up in her company due to their romantic attachment. Brian becomes impatient, as the pay-off is too slow.

He reluctantly assumes a role of kept-boy more than romantic partner and grows annoyed by her controlling yet boring lifestyle. She pushes him to do everyday mundane things for her, such as fetching her morning carrot juice and vitamins or escorting her to social functions where it is clear he is only there as a trophy boyfriend. They have a blow-up during an art exhibition where Brian gets into a fight with the artist. As they cut ties, Brian, displaying wisdom one can only assume has been gleaned from his former mentor, states: “Everything ends badly. Otherwise it wouldn’t end.”

Cocktail Movie Poster (1988)

Cocktail (1988)

Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon, Ellen Foley, Andrea Doven, Louis Ferreira
Screenplay by: Heywood Gould
Production Design by: Mel Bourne
Cinematography by: Dean Semler
Film Editing by: Neil Travis
Costume Design by: Ellen Mirojnick
Set Decoration by: Hilton Rosemarin
Art Direction by: Dan Davis
Music by: J. Peter Robinson
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Release Date: July 29, 1988