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Something Wild (1986)

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A free-spirited woman "kidnaps" a yuppie for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband shows up.



Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George 'Red' Schwartz ...
Counter Man (as George Schwartz)
Leib Lensky ...
The Country Squire
Maggie T. ...
Country Squire Bulldog
Patricia Falkenhain ...
Charlie's Secretary
Sandy McLeod ...
Graves' Secretary
Robert Ridgely ...
Richard Graves
Buzz Kilman ...
TV Newscaster
Kenneth Utt ...
Adelle Lutz ...
Irate Chef
Jim Roche ...
Motel Philosopher
Motorcycle Cop


The uneventful life of the businessman Charles Driggs suddenly changes when he meets the wild and sexy Lulu. When he accepts her offer to drive him back to his office, she instead takes him out of town and on a trip, leaving behind his old life. Posing as a married couple, Charles and "Audrey" (which turns out to be Lulu's real name) visit her mother and her high school reunion. At this reunion they meet Audrey's violent ex-husband Ray, who has just released from prison. When Ray makes it clear that he wants Audrey back, that is when the real trouble begins. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Something Different Something Daring Something Dangerous


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gefährliche Freundin  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,362,969 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The book that Audrey Hankel is reading on the first scene at the fast food is on Frida Kahlo. See more »


Lulu's drink of choice is Seagram's 7, an American blended whiskey. When she enters the package store, she specifically asks for 4 pints of Scotch, and the clerk retrieves the Seagram's from the shelf. See more »


[a cop is writing her a ticket]
Audrey 'Lulu' Hankel: I was just admiring your bike.
Police officer: Oh, do you like motorcycles?
Audrey 'Lulu' Hankel: No, I just like big things between my legs.
See more »


Referenced in Jonathan Demme & Jodie Foster: The Beginning (2005) See more »


Loco de Amor
Written by David Byrne, F.A.S.
Performed by David Byrne with Celia Cruz
David Byrne appears courtesy of Sire Records / EMI Records Ltd.
Celia Cruz appears courtesy of Fania Records
See more »

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User Reviews

an above-average rom-com script crossbred with juicy pulp fiction, great stuff
16 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Why can't more romantic comedies be like this? This question came to me while watching Something Wild, a little sleeper from the mid 80s from Jonathan Demme about a seemingly typical 80s NY businessman, Charlie (Jeff Daniels) who gets whisked away by a 'free-spirit' "Lulu" (Melanie Griffith). Well, probably because most people who watch the very typical romantic comedies probably don't watch it for the same reasons that those who love Something Wild do. There's maybe something to keep going through the dirge of crap that are among the films of decades and decades of romantic comedies, but it's finding one of the nuggets that counts (Love Actually, from 2003, is another one for example). And, perhaps, there might be a darker sensibility, or more thought put into it, in enjoying Something Wild.

It's a lot like Id-gone-Wild, in a sense. In the world of Something Wild, we're brought along with characters on a situation that would seem surreal on a Bunuel level (i.e. bourgeois brought along into the realm of sin and desire by some free-will temptress of the 'lower depths'), but there's a reality to it, a kind of down-to-earth level about the characters- and, more importantly for this, the actors playing them- and it elevates it past being either too strange or just too quirky. It's just about right, which is tough to dol you feel like cringing as Lulu calls up Charlie's boss while teasing him incredibly in the midst of kinky sex, but it's also so funny in how it all comes together that you just don't care, at least, enough, that it's anarchic.

So while it's enjoyable, at least on first sight, as a sort of freewheeling existentialist romp, like a French sex comedy clipped over on the 80s 'greed-is-good' motto, it has dark undertones that soon get darker and darker, thanks to Ray Liotta's Ray, who is Lulu/Audrey's real husband. At this point we feel like we're suddenly plopped into a pulp fiction piece, with the ex-con bad-ass going to town against the would-be rebel and his girl gone awry. But at the same time, for what Demme and his wonderful screenwriter have, it all works. What helps exponentially (if that's the word) is that Demme doesn't stray either into anything not honest within the boundaries of this situation. It might seem like a risk people wouldn't take in real life, or that the violence is pumped up to, again, pulp fiction territory, but in the logic of the piece- of the tricky deceit and the push-and-pull of the triangle of Charlie/Audrey/Ray- it's just awesomely achieved.

Again, the performances are a big asset to the film's suceess. Daniels matches very well that line between playing it innocent and the straight-shooter, the guy we're supposed to identify with as stuck middle-class citizens with families and green lawns, and as a rebel who just has to let some free will into his system now and again. Griffith is in one of her very best, not acting too precocious or annoying, and conveying in the little bits of 'regular' Audrey (i.e. the scene at her mother's) that there's more than meets the eye. And Liotta is so great that it's probably no wonder that he (maybe unfortunately) got typecast as a psycho. There's actually complexity that Liotta gets to, and in a way doesn't make Ray totally unlikeable; he is the villain, of course, but there's a charm that is like the ID unraveled completely as a guy who shoots guns, robs stores, and hits on girls whenever he can. All three make up such a terrific combo here.

It's crazy, it's awkward, it's a rip-roaring time, and it's even got heart too. For those who are tired of spoon-fed tripe by the studios, it's an excellent escape into one of the most unconventional (but most pleasantly genre-tastic) of the past 25 years

19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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