Johnny Walker (Anthony Michael Hall) is the top high school quarterback prospect who is heavily recruited by many schools. His best friend, Leo Wiggins (Robert Downey Jr.), thinks he should hold out for the best offer. His girlfriend, Georgia (Uma Thurman), wants him to go to State with her and get a solid education.
The colleges offer him everything he could possibly want — girls, cars, cash, free room and board, etc. One school even buys Leo a car, while another offers to provide him with male companions if he isn’t interested in women. His coach, Wayne Hisler (Paul Gleason), who he really can’t stand, even tries to sell him out by striking a deal with one of the interested colleges to become their next head coach.
Although he has all the skills a coach would want in a quarterback, he is unsure where he wants to go and is tempted by the offers because of all of the praise and attention. His recruitment is followed closely by a recruiting investigator (Downey, Sr.) who is trying to make sure everything is on the “up and up”. Although Johnny lives with his mother, grandfather, younger brother and sister, he is offered everything and anything by every interested college except for the local state college, which is where he ends up going when he uses his moral compass to make the decision.
Johnny Be Good is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Bud Smith, starring Anthony Michael Hall as the main character, Johnny Walker. The film also features Robert Downey Jr., Paul Gleason, Steve James, Jennifer Tilly and Uma Thurman. Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon makes a cameo appearance.
Judas Priest, Saga and Ted Nugent, among others, contributed to the soundtrack. The title track, “Johnny B. Goode”, originally recorded by Chuck Berry, was re-recorded by Judas Priest for their album, Ram It Down.
The film was filmed, in part, in Georgetown, Texas and at Thomas Jefferson High School and Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio. The scene near the end of the film in which Anthony Michael Hall runs down a corridor, was filmed at San Antonio’s St. Mary’s University. One scene was filmed in New Braunfels, Texas at Keno’s Drive Inn grocery and bait store.
Johnny Be Good (1988)
Directed by: Bud S. Smith
Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Gleason, Uma Thurman, Steve James, Seymour Cassel, Deborah May, Jennifer Tilly, Denise Thorsen
Screenplay by: Steve Zacharias, Jeff Buhai
Production Design by: Gregg Fonseca
Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman
Film Editing by: M. Scott Smith
Costume Design by: Susie DeSanto
Set Decoration by: Dorree Cooper
Art Direction by: Sharon Seymour
Music by: Jay Ferguson
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: March 25, 1988