Follow TV Tropes


Film / Cocktail

Go To

There's no better way to make it than behind three feet of mahogany.

A 1988 film from Touchstone Pictures starring Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Shue, and Bryan Brown. Cruise plays Brian Flanagan, a former soldier returning home to New York City. Brian hopes to make it big on Wall Street, only to be told by every investment firm in town not to waste his time. He has no college education, no job prospects, and no future. His part-time bartending job becomes his only option. But even becoming one of New York's top bartenders won't make him a millionaire. What might? Marrying a rich woman...

His outlook on life changing, Brian heads down to Jamaica where the money is flowing. There, despite early protests against falling in love, he meets the girl who will change everything.


This film provides examples of:

  • The '80s: Made in good ol' 1988 and also takes place in or around that year.
  • '80s Hair: Obviously. Jordan, for example, has a big, curly, fluffy hairstyle which is typical for the decade. Also, take a look at the three girls prominent in Brian's "part-time job" scenes.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Though the movie keeps the major characters, and some of the situations, it cuts large portions of the novel out.
  • The Bartender: Naturally. Brian progresses from a part-time one to a full-time one and eventually to an entrepreneur. He learns his job from Doug who's also a bartender.
  • Big Applesauce: Set in NYC, except for the parts that take place on Jamaica.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Brian and Doug, constantly.
  • Driven to Suicide: Doug Coughlin after ending up being on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fish out of Water: Brian, when he first starts behind the bar. Let's just say he doesn't even know what's in a martini.
  • Flair Bartending: The codifier of this trope in media.
  • Food Slap: Tom Cruise's character goes to the restaurant where Jordan works, and she responds by offering him the "Daily Special" — right on his lap.
  • Gold Digger: Both Doug and Brian are trying to be this at times.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the (rather obscure) novel it's based on.
  • Nothing but Hits: The songs used in the movie
  • Pretty in Mink: Doug's wife wears a sable coat to show far Doug rose (before he lost everything).
  • Returning War Vet: Brian, though the skills he used in the army don't help him get a job on Wall Street or behind the bar.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: A gender-swapped version, when Brian ditches the young artist/waitress he's in love with in favor of a rich older woman. He eventually changes his mind. Subverted when it turns out that the waitress is actually an heiress, and double-subverted when her family disowns her for getting back together with Brian, so at least in the short-term she really is poor.
  • Travelling Salesman Montage: The series of Brian's failed job interviews is executed as this.