Up 812 this week

Reality Bites (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  18 February 1994 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 34,037 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 44 critic

Generation X Graduates face life after college with a filmmaker looking for work and love in Houston.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 10 Dec 2011
a list of 42 titles
created 21 Jan 2013
a list of 39 titles
created 26 Jun 2014
a list of 30 titles
created 02 Oct 2014
a list of 44 titles
created 4 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Reality Bites" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Reality Bites (1994)

Reality Bites (1994) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Reality Bites.

User Polls

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Singles (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A group of twenty-something friends, most of whom live in the same apartment complex, search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick
Mermaids (1990)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An unconventional single mother relocates with her two daughters to a small Massachusetts town in 1963, where a number of events and relationships both challenge and strengthen their familial bonds.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder
Heathers (1988)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.

Director: Michael Lehmann
Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

Director: James Mangold
Stars: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Modernization of Charles Dickens classic story finds the hapless Finn as a painter in New York pursuing his unrequited and haughty childhood love.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria
Little Women (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director: Gillian Armstrong
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Bride-to-be Finn Dodd hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders as they construct a quilt.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Stars: Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The employees of an independent music store learn about each other as they try anything to stop the store being absorbed by a large chain.

Director: Allan Moyle
Stars: Anthony LaPaglia, Debi Mazar, Maxwell Caulfield
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A small town prepares for the homecoming of superstar Roxy Carmichael, as does a young outsider, who believes Roxy is her mother.

Director: Jim Abrahams
Stars: Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, Laila Robins
High Fidelity (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A tale of nineteenth-century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman's cousin.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder


Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry O'Reilly ...
Susan Norfleet ...
Tami (as Renee Zellweger)
James Rothenberg ...
Eric Morgan Stuart ...
Damien (as Eric Stuart)
Grant's Producer (as Barry Sherman)


In this study of Generation X manners, Lelaina, the valedictorian of her college class, camcords her friends in a mock documentary of posteducation life. Troy is her best friend, a perpetually unemployed musical slacker. Vickie is a manager at the Gap who worries about the results of an AIDS test, while Sammy has problems grappling with his sexuality. When Lelaina meets Michael, an earnest video executive who takes her homemade video to his MTV-like station, she must decide what she values--the materialism of yuppie Michael or the philosophical musings of Troy. Written by Rick Gregory <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A comedy about love in the '90s.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, drug content and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 February 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La dura realidad  »

Box Office


$11,500,000 (estimated)


$20,982,557 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Original drafts of the script included a subplot involving Lelaina's alcoholic sister Patty, who was in rehab. A couple of those scenes were actually filmed but ended up getting cut. Patty was played by screenwriter Helen Childress' real-life sister, Patricia Childress. See more »


When Vickie is writing in her notebook, she writes the date as being September 26. A few scenes later, Lelaina is speaking with Michael in his office and his computer has the date as being September 21. See more »


Vickie: Laney, sex is the quickest way to ruin a friendship.
See more »


Referenced in Law & Order: Reality Bites (2009) See more »


Written by Stephen Morris, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner, Gillian Gilbert,
Arthur Baker
Performed by New Order
Courtesy of Centredate Company Limited
Trading as London Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

to think I once felt guilty for being a little disappointed...
20 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I first saw this movie when it came out in the theaters and I was a teenager myself, and I remember feeling a just a little shortchanged and even dirty, like I'd been manipulated in a way. I did enjoy it, but the reasons for enjoying it do not hold up today. Watching it again has been fun because looking at it through adult eyes, I am having fun seeing how easy it is to spot the dated qualities and outmoded philosophies that, as one reviewer said, were pretty much defunct by 2000, or maybe even by 1995-6.

And it's not like I was some profound kid who had all this insight how mass media sells these ideas to young people...I bought into the whole "Seattle grunge" thing lock, stock and barrel, I thought guys with stringy unwashed hair and bad attitudes were totally hot, I wore crocheted vests, mood rings, and colored sunglasses with the best of them. So me thinking that something did not ring true must have been because it is pretty obvious that this movie is in essence a failure.

1. The characters-The movie works really hard to make Troy be the better option for Leilana. For teenagers, he was totally sexy to watch on screen and totally swoon worthy, but his utterly obnoxious attitude, his rudeness to Ben Stiller's character, and his bullying just came off as unpleasant at the least, and his philosophy for not working are textbook definitions of a narcissist. Hearing some of his pseudo intellectual discussions are painful and embarrassing, because it is clear that the movie feels that young Gen X'ers embrace and admire such outlooks unequivocally and at face value. And kids were supposed to identify with this person? What an inconsiderate person, to stand up Leilana's father for the job interview and lead her to blame herself, and to embarrass women around him for being attracted to him. Any good friend and countless therapists would advise against having him as a boyfriend. The sad few seconds devoted to his dying father are not enough to redeem him or "understand" him.

Bottom line, if Ethan Hawke was supposed to make this person somewhat sympathetic, he failed, or if he truly was supposed to be this unlikable, then good work.

Leilana did come off as sympathetic and overall was well played by Winona, and her beauty is the one of the few things in this movie with true staying power. Her character does some pretty awful things, though. When her boss rudely rebuffs her video ideas, she humiliates him on air. When her friend offers her a job, she snaps at her. Instead of swallowing her pride and working at the gap for a bit, she resorts to the embarrassing "gas card" scene, which we are supposed to think is cute and rebellious. It is totally unconvincing that a "valedictorian" would ever be so irresponsible and immature, even if she had fallen on bad times.

As for the other two, they are both well acted and likable, but seem to be added on simply to achieve a gritty "90's" edge, like HIV testing and coming out to your parents. Neither subplot is developed enough to give this movie the edge it craves. Both are attractive and funny, and Vicky especially projects a friendliness, sympathy, and is cute as hell in those throwback clothes.

2. The Michael stuff really is a failure. Ben Stiller did a good job acting in this movie and came across as warm and real, but this movie is his work too. I guess a simple plot device would have been to make him more arrogant from the get-go so that he could seem like the "bad guy" but that would have been cheap. Either way, the movie does seem like it's trying to convince you that he either "betrays" Leilana or "doesn't understand her" the way Troy does, and it doesn't work. Those two had a positive chemistry and seemed to complement each other as characters. To make this a true coming of age and growing up story, Leilana should have either chosen Michael, who emphasizes growing up, taking responsibility for your actions, and change for the better, or decided to be on her own for a while to become a more mature person.

3. The biggest failure of this movie, and in my opinion, the most dangerous, is how it elevates Troy's attitude as the noble one above all, as if being narcissistic and self-involved are desirable. Being that he is the hot guy of the movie and that the other characters seem to respond so positively to him, a young teenager is left with the message that this is the "new" way to be and that Michael's responsible and kind persona are "hypocritical" or "selling out." Leaving the theater back in '94, I was enjoying myself thinking about the romance between two good looking and stylish characters, but I couldn't really get into that part as much as I should have. Since I also really wanted to be cool and up to date, I was wondering if I should be acting or living like any of these characters, living in a flat with a guy who mooches off me, sleeping around with strangers, dancing at the gas station, etc. The movies have a lot more influence on young people than one thinks.

In my gut, I felt two things: a-My parents would be horrified if I brought friends like that around and more frighteningly, b-I secretly would agree with them.

38 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
$400 a week? whiteyfiskman
Pop References seem off by ten years jonesjax
What's really wrong with Troy. BellevueHokie
Gen X flack jrtomasso
Gen X collection... KarlCrys4Ophelia
Ethan Hawke is an idiot teen_wolf
Discuss Reality Bites (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: