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That Thing You Do! (1996)

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A Pennsylvania band scores a hit in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as it can, with lots of help from its manager.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sol Siler
Troy Chesterfield
Uncle Bob


Recounts a fable of a pop rock band formed a year after the Beatles took America by storm in early 1964. Jazz aficionado Guy Patterson, unhappily toiling in the family appliance store, is recruited into the band the Oneders (later renamed the Wonders) after regular drummer Chad breaks his arm. After Guy injects a four/four rock beat into lead singer Jimmy's ballad, the song's undeniable pop power flings the Wonders into a brief whirlwind of success, telling the tale of many American bands who attempted to grab the brass ring of rock and roll in the wake of the British Invasion. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

band | pennsylvania | song | jazz | drummer | See All (50) »


In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do.


Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

¡Eso que tú haces!  »

Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,208,595 (USA) (4 October 1996)


$25,809,813 (USA) (24 January 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story of the Wonders continued in the liner notes of the film's soundtrack album. It was revealed that following the group's appearance on the "Hollywood Television Showcase", "That Thing You Do!" rose to #2 in "Billboard". Jimmy's career with the Heardsmen was also detailed a little further, indicating that they recorded "I Need You (That Thing You Do)" and "She Knows It", the songs heard over the movie's end credits. The liner notes are attributed to A.M. White (as in Mr. White), who supposedly later became president of the Playtone label. See more »


At the Mercyhurst College Talent Show, right after the song when the emcee is yells "Oh, my goodness!", Guy is standing, but half a second later, he's sitting when Jimmy tells him, "That was way too fast, man." See more »


Mr. White: It is very important that you don't stink today.
Lenny Haise: Hey, I make no guarantees.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Stories of what the band did after their breakup and a picture of the band after all the credits. See more »


Featured in HBO First Look: The Making of 'That Thing You Do' (1996) See more »


She Knows It
Written by Scott Rogness and Rick Elias
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Refreshing Throwback
25 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember when I first saw this in the '90s and thinking, "Wow, what a shock: a modern-day movie with no no villains, no nasty people and nary a cuss word." I kept waiting for that stuff, and it never appeared. It also has a nice sentimental ending.

The story is a simple one about a group of average guys who form a band and become one-hit wonders.

Tom Everett Scott, a young Tom Hanks-lookalike, is an appealing lead and Liv Tyler looks very, very pretty in the female lead role. The band in this almost-old-fashioned musical, is good to hear, too. They are a throwback to the old movie musical days of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Yes, you hear the same song (the movie title) over and over but's a great song which is very catchy. The rest of the music is decent, too.

Speaking of Hanks, he plays the promoter of the group. It's not a huge part but Hanks, as always, is entertaining. The whole film is, and, is refreshing to see.

42 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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