Director: Paul Brickman
Writter: Paul Brickman
Tom Plays: Joel Goodson
Status: ON DVD


A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.


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Continuity: Joel’s cigarette while “selling” the party in the diner.

Continuity: When running to catch the egg thrown by Guido, Joel goes to run over the couch by stepping on it with his left foot. In the next shot, it is his right foot.

Continuity: While Joel is attempting to catch the egg Guido’s truck empties itself.

Factual errors: The Chicago transit system did not run single-car trains on its underground routes in 1983.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: During the car scenes, the engine note is not from a Porsche 928, but from a Ferrari V8 instead.
Audio/visual unsynchronized: The 6000 series “L” uses dynamic brakes and not air brakes, during many of the “L” scenes you can hear the sound of air brakes releasing.

Factual errors: When Joel is raking leaves at the end of the movie, he pauses and takes a cigarette out of a pack of Marlboro Reds. The cigarette is all white – Marlboro Reds have brown filters.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: In the brothel scene, when the hooker places her hand on the boy’s knee and scares him away, we see a drummer and a pianist playing in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, but we hear a recorded version of “D.M.S.R” by Prince. They are also visible just before Joel complains to Lana that some of the girls are wearing his mother’s clothing, and once again we hear recorded music.

Continuity: When Joel is driving the car home from the garage, the front license plate is shown prominently, it’s for New Jersey, despite the fact that the story takes place in Chicago.

Crew or equipment visible: When Lana enters Joel’s room while he is studying, a crew-member grabs the doorknob.

Continuity: When Lana is running across the lawn, she’s barefoot, but in the very next scene, when you see her running from behind, she’s wearing heels.

Continuity: Right after Joel’s parents leave for the airport, Joel is eating a T.V. dinner and is pouring himself a Chivas and Coke. When he is pouring the Coke, some of it spills onto the table in the close shot. When they show the wide shot the table is clean.

Continuity: Toward the end of the movie, a moving van can be seen on the street filled with furniture. But when it drives away, the van is empty.


Joel Goodson: When it came right down to it, I just wasn’t attracted to her.
Miles: That should never stop you.

Joel Goodson: Don’t steal anything. If I come back here and anything’s missing, I’m going straight to the police. I mean it.

Joel Goodson: College women can smell ignorance… like dog shit.

[Joel Goodson’s parents are away for the weekend] Miles: Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, “What the fuck.” “What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.

Joel Goodson: So is this Guido guy… he’s your “manager”?
Lana: That’s right.
Joel Goodson: Or a pimp?
Lana: Now that’s quick Joel. Have you always been this quick, or is this something new?

[after Joel’s Princeton interview] Lana: So, how’re we doin’?
Joel Goodson: Looks like University of Illinois!

Joel Goodson: Porsche. There is no substitute.
Miles: Fuck you.

Joel Goodson: You know, Bill, there’s one thing I learned in all my years. Sometimes you just gotta say, “What the fuck, make your move.”
Rutherford: I beg your pardon?

Joel Goodson: Uh, my name isn’t really Ralph. It’s Joel.
Lana: Mmmm. I’ll be needing 300 bucks… *Joel*.
Joel Goodson: You’re kidding.
Lana: No, I don’t believe that I am.
Joel Goodson: Well, uh, it’s just that I don’t have that much here in the house.
Lana: How much do you have?
Joel Goodson: I have 50 dollars.
Lana: 50 dollars? What are we going to do about this, Joel?
Joel Goodson: I don’t know.
[pauses] Joel Goodson: Could I send it to you?
Lana: [incredulous] Could you *send* it to me?
Joel Goodson: [long pause] I, uh, have a bond at the bank. I could go cash that.
Lana: I’m not real good at waiting.
Joel Goodson: I’ll be quick.

Miles: Sometimes you gotta say “What the Fuck”, make your move. Joel, every now and then, saying “What the Fuck”, brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity brings freedom. So your parents are going out of town. You got the place all to yourself.
Joel Goodson: Yeah.
Miles: What the fuck.

Joel Goodson: It seems to me that if there were any logic to our language, trust would be a four letter word.

[last lines] Joel Goodson: My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

Joel Goodson: Looks like the University of Illinois!

[first lines] Joel Goodson: [voiceover] The dream is always the same. Instead of going home, I go to the neighbors’. I ring, but nobody answers.
The door is open, so I go inside. I’m looking around for the people, but nobody seems to be there. And then I hear the shower running, so I go upstairs to see what’s what. Then I see her; this… girl, this incredible girl. I mean, what she’s doing there I don’t know, because she doesn’t live there… but it’s a dream, so I go with it. “Who’s there?” she says. “Joel,” I say. “What are you doing here?” “I don’t know what I’m doing here; what are *you* doing here?” “I’m taking a shower,” she says. Then I give her: “You want me to go?” “No,” she says; “I want you to wash my back.” So now, I’m gettin’ enthusiastic about this dream. So I go to her, but she’s hard to find through all the steam and stuff; I keep losing her. Finally I get to the door… and I… find myself in a room full of kids taking their college boards. I’m over three hours late; I’ve got two minutes to take the whole test. I’ve… just made a terrible mistake. I’ll never get to college. My life is ruined.

Guido: Listen to me.
Joel Goodson: No, no. You listen to ME!
[Guido hangs up] Joel Goodson: Shit!

Joel Goodson: You listen to me, buster. You, you a-hole.
Guido: A-hole?
Joel Goodson: I want my stuff back right now.
Guido: Now you listen to me, you little fuck. Not only you take my two best girls, you call me names. If I didn’t have any self-respect, it wouldn’t just be the furniture, it’d be your arms, your legs, your head.

Joel Goodson: I don’t think I am going to say, “What the fuck?” anymore

Joel Goodson: It was great the way her mind worked. No guilt, no doubts, no fear. None of my specialities. Just the shameless pursuit of immediate gratification. What a capitalist.

Joel Goodson: Some of the girls are wearing my mother’s clothing.
Lana: What’s wrong with that?
Joel Goodson: I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life in analysis.

Jackie: Hello, Joel. I’m Jackie.
Joel Goodson: Hello, Jackie. I’m not Joel. Joel stepped out for a moment. Hold on… I’ll go call him.


In an effort for Tom Cruise to look more “teenage” in appearance, the producers of Risky Business put him though an unusual bit of physical training. Cruise worked out 7 days a week in order to lose ten pounds. Once that had been accomplished, he immediately ceased working out and ate extremely fatty foods in order to add a layer of baby fat. This is how he achieved that “fresh-faced” teenage look.

Among the actors who auditioned for the role of Joel were Tom Hanks and Nicolas Cage.

At Joel’s brothel party the song “Swamp” by the Talking Heads plays in the background – one line of the song contains the phrase “Risky Business”.

Tangerine Dream based parts of the film’s score on material from their previous albums, particularly the album “Force Majeure”: The title track is the basis for Lana’s theme, and the intro to “Cloudburst Flight” was reused for “Guido the Killer Pimp”. “No Future (Get off the Babysitter)” is based on the title track to the album “Exit”.

Timothy Hutton was the first choice for the role of Joel, but turned it down.

This is Curtis Armstrong’s first movie.

Cameo: [‘Sean Penn’ ] as the man sitting in the passenger seat as Joel first takes the Porsche for a spin. The cameo was a favor for director Paul Brickman.

The dance scene where Joel dances to “Old Time Rock N’ Roll” was completely improvised. In the script Tom Cruise was simply instructed to “dance to rock music”.

Writer/Director Paul Brickman had a completely different ending for the film with a rather pessimistic tone, with Joel being denied admission to Princeton and he and Lana sitting on the roof of a building overlooking the city pondering his future and hers, and for once Lana lets her guard down. The studio however, wanted a “feel good” ending, because this was the popular theme of teen movies at the time, so both versions were shot and shown to a test audience and it was agreed that their preference would be the ending for the film.