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The Sure Thing

Still of John Cusack in The Sure ThingStill of John Cusack and Lisa Jane Persky in The Sure ThingStill of John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga in The Sure ThingStill of Lisa Jane Persky in The Sure Thing


A college student plans a cross-country trip to get laid, but ends up traveling with a young woman. They hate each other, so naturally…

Release Year: 1985

Rating: 6.8/10 (9,334 voted)

Rob Reiner

Stars: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards

College freshman John (Gib) Gibson decides to go cross country to visit his friend in California during winter break. Awaiting there is a bikini-clad babe whom his friend assures him is a "sure thing". Meanwhile, Allison, a cute (but somewhat anal retentive) girl at Gib's college has also decided to head out to Cal. to see her boyfriend during break. Gib and Allison are thrust together on a road trip from hell, and somewhere along the way, they find each other's company to be tolerable. Now, what will become of Gib's "sure thing?"

Writers: Steve Bloom, Jonathan Roberts


John Cusack

Walter 'Gib' Gibson

Daphne Zuniga

Alison Bradbury

Anthony Edwards


Boyd Gaines


Tim Robbins

Gary Cooper

Lisa Jane Persky

Mary Ann Webster

Viveca Lindfors

Professor Taub

Nicollette Sheridan

The Sure Thing

Marcia Christie


Robert Anthony Marcucci


Sarah Buxton


Lorrie Lightle


Joshua Cadman


Krystal Richards

Girl in Photo

John Putch


A Romantic Comedy From Rob Reiner

Release Date: 1 March 1985

Filming Locations: California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $4,500,000


Opening Weekend: $3,124,782
(3 March 1985)
(1115 Screens)

Gross: $18,135,531
(9 June 1985)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


A poster for director Rob Reiner's previous film,
This Is Spinal Tap, hangs on the closet in Gib's dorm room.


When Gary is driving after the first night in the hotel he is on the left-hand side of the road. In the next shot he is back on the right.


You can't go in there.

Yes I can. This is America, you can go anywhere.

User Review

A surprisingly endearing film


Having fallen for John Cusack's engaging performance as Rob in 'High
Fidelity', I jumped at the chance to watch one of his earliest films, 'The
Sure Thing'. And, despite a life-long hatred of "girly" films and all
romantic comedy, this slice of 80s college cheese surprisingly hit the

The story is nothing new: boy (an effervescent Cusack as Walt Gibson)
girl (Daphne Zuniga), and an antagonistic relationship is formed. He hates
her studious, organised approach to life; she frowns upon his laddish,
devil-may-care attitude. Inevitably, they are soon thrown together –
by Gib's trip to California on the promise of a blond, beautiful "sure
thing" from best friend Lance (Anthony Edwards) coinciding with her
to visit her boyfriend – and opposites begin to attract.

Yet to complain that the plot is predictable would be to miss the point.
know the ending within the first five minutes: it is the journey there
is important. Director Rob Reiner handles the script with a necessarily
light touch, and allows the humour to be more character-driven than
situational. To the writers' credit, even the film's most obvious scenes
always relieved through it's witty and eminently quotable

What elevates 'The Sure Thing' above the ranks of its genre contemporaries
is Reiner's deft hand with a character; in particular his ability to
transcend stereotypes yet create instantly recognisable, believable
a feat he later put to effective use in 'Stand By Me'. This is underpinned
by Cusack's energetic performance, showcasing what has become his staple
character: the spikily droll male whose shining qualities just avoid being
undermined by his easily discernible flaws.

'The Sure Thing' is also notable for its treatment of – and fondness for –
the minor characters, few of whom suffer from the "obvious spare part"
phenomenon of so many high school based films. Particularly commendable
Tim Robbins' disappointingly brief turn as one half of the cutesy couple
from hell, and a remarkably young-looking Anthony Edwards in the long-term
buddy role (notable especially for what must be one of the worst 80s
statements since Vanilla Ice decided on baggy trousers – see the pool
featuring Lance's phone call from California).

Despite its premise, this film always endeavours to be about love rather
than sex. A refreshing angle on a well-worn tale, 'The Sure Thing'
a welcome escape from the 'American Pie' view of teenage romance. With
consistently endearing performances from both Cusack and Zuniga, this is
romantic comedy I would happily give a second viewing.