Film / Eddie and the Cruisers

Eddie and the Cruisers is a 1983 American film directed by Martin Davidson with the screenplay written by Martin and Arlene Davidson, based on the novel by P. F. Kluge.

The movie follows a fictional '60s rock band called Eddie and the Cruisers. The band makes a name for itself while playing regularly at a Somers Point, New Jersey club called Tony Mart's. It is there that they meet Frank Ridgeway, whom Eddie Wilson hires to be the band's keyboard player and lyricist. Doc Robbins and Sal Amato are skeptical of hiring Frank, who is not a trained musician or experienced song writer, but Eddie believes that Frank is crucial to the band's development. The movie then continues to detail the rise of band to the top of the charts as well as the lives of the band members involved. When the movie begins in the 1980s, The band's music is experiencing a revival, Eddie has been missing (and presumed dead) for 18 years, and a documentary filmmaker is looking up the old members.

The film was followed by a sequel, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! in 1989.

Tropes associated with this work:

  • The '50s: Even though the movie's flashbacks take place during the early 1960s, the attitudes, clothes, and Eddie's car show that the culture hasn't shifted yet.
  • Flanderization: Between the two movies this happens to Eddie.
  • Flashback
  • Is That What He Told You?: Frank believed the story that Wendell's death was a result of a heart attack and not a heroin overdose until Sal set him straight.
  • Joisey
  • Last Note Nightmare : A Season In Hell. First it's disturbing, then pretty, then the final note hits and it gets really disturbing. Many radio stations edit this part out.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The master tapes for A Season In Hell are sentimental to both Joann and Eddie.
  • Notable Original Music: On The Dark Side became a real world pop hit and still gets airplay even today. A Season In Hell also makes it onto radio stations as well, typically with the ending cut out.
  • New Sound Album: The never released A Season In Hell album.
  • Popular History: Averted. The flashbacks take place in the early 1960s and avoid portraying the era as a free love fest.
  • Posthumous Character: Averted!
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Doc Robbins suggested this to Frank after hearing that Sal was playing with a new version of The Cruisers.
  • Shout-Out: As noted in the film, A Season In Hell is a theme album to Arthur Rimbaud's classic work.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: In-universe. Eddie and the Cruisers as a band is a fictional example.
  • The '60s: The early version that came before Vietnam, the Hippies, and Woodstock.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Eddie could be accused of this.
  • Softer And Slower Cover: Inverted. "Dark Side" was originally written by Frank as a ballad, but Eddie sped it up into a rocker.
  • Spoiler Title: The sequel. At that point, the 1983 film's Twist Ending was well known.
  • Wham Line: Eddie and Sal to each other, in-universe:
    [after the record company has rejected "Season in Hell"]
    Sal: Eddie, you're wrong! You're wrong! Now listen to me. I love you. I've known you longer than anyone else. But you're wrong. They want "On the Dark Side"! Why are we giving them some damn opera?! I don't even know what you're after!
    Eddie: I want something great! I want something nobody's ever done before!
    Sal: (completely gobsmacked) "Great"?! We ain't "great!" We're just some guys from Jersey!