Taglines: It’s the privilege of youth.
In 1971 at a fraternity house on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, Gardner Barnes (Kevin Costner) is throwing darts at a picture of himself and his ex-girlfriend (Suzy Amis). He rejoins the graduation party going on downstairs, but not before tearing the picture in half.
Gardner is a member of a clique called the Groovers, whose other members include Kenneth Waggener (Sam Robards) who’s engaged to be married, and ROTC geek Phil Hicks (Judd Nelson). Phil’s parents have come to town and to the fraternity house just in time to see another Groover named Lester (Brian Cesak) pass out. (He remains unconscious for most of the film.) They also meet the strong, quiet seminary student Dorman (Chuck Bush).
Kenneth interrupts the festivities by announcing his student deferment has expired and he is now to be drafted into the Army. Gardner is not surprised: his own notice came weeks before. Kenneth also reveals he has decided to call off his engagement to Debbie on account of being drafted. Gardner reacts (strangely) with some joy and relief.
The Groovers decide to celebrate their last days before the draft by going on a road trip, intending to visit a notorious roadhouse, then “dig up” someone – or something – named Dom near the Rio Grande. They drive all night before making a “rest stop.” Some, most notably Phil, resist going on, but Gardner presses them on.
Phil’s car runs out of gas and the Groovers must decide whether to walk to the nearest town or hitch. Phil is adamant about not leaving his car behind, when someone gets an idea: a train is about to pass on a railroad track parallel to the road. Dorman grabs some cable from a fence and makes a lasso. He attaches the other end to the front bumper of the car, as the train passes, Dorman lassos the back of the train. The Groovers are in the car, waiting, when Gardner asks, “How are we going to stop?” but this is answered when the front end of the car is pulled off, leaving the car in place.
Fandango is a 1985 American comedy film directed by Kevin Reynolds. It was originally a student film titled Proof made by Reynolds while he was attending USC film school. It was a parody of Greek life at his alma mater Baylor University. However, due to his father’s presidency at Baylor, he did not wish to portray the Baptist institution in an unfavorable light and gave it the alternative distinction as the University of Texas.
Steven Spielberg saw the film and helped fund a feature-length comedy/drama about five college students from Texas in 1971 who go on a “last” road trip together, celebrating the “privilege of youth” as they face graduation, marriage, and the draft for the Vietnam War.
Fandango stars Kevin Costner (in essence, his first starring role, although an earlier film where he had been the lead actor, The Gunrunner had actually wrapped in 1983 but was not released until 1989), Judd Nelson, and Sam Robards. The soundtrack features an original score by Alan Silvestri and music by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, among others. The film was released by Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment on January 25, 1985 and a DVD of the film was released on February 15, 2005. Fandango marked not only the directorial debut of Reynolds but also the feature film debut of Suzy Amis, previously known primarily for her work in modeling.
Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Starring: Kevin Costner, Judd Nelson, Sam Robards, Chuck Bush, Brian Cesak, Marvin J. McIntyre, Suzy Amis, Glenne Headly, Elizabeth Daily
Screenplay by: Kevin Reynolds
Cinematography by: Thomas Del Ruth
Film Editing by: Arthur Schmidt, Stephen Semel
Art Direction by: Peter Landsdown Smith
Set Decoration by: Robert L. Zilliox
Costume Design by: Michele Neely
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: January 25, 1985