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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.



2,803 ( 217)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Director: David Seltzer
Stars: Sally Field, Tom Hanks, John Goodman


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?


During the montage of clips while a song plays, we see the band cavorting on a large map of the United States. At one point, one of the characters falls off of his bicycle at approximately the location of Cleveland, Ohio. This is because before becoming famous, Tom Hanks spent years there acting in local theater, and remains to this day a die-hard Cleveland Indians fan. The "stumble" therefore represents his time spent there on his way to national stardom. See more »


At the talent show, the girl who sells tickets (wearing a blue dress) can be seen dancing in front of Jimmy near the stage, but at the same time we can see her selling tickets near the entrance watching the band (with Chad) wearing a different dress. (Technically, she must be playing two different people.) See more »


Mr. White: Next, uh... who is Faye?
Jimmy: [Lenny gestures to Jimmy] Faye's sort of like, like my girlfriend.
Mr. White: Aw, that is so sweet. You want her on tour? She's your costume mistress. OK, boys, do better tonight than you did today.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The bass player has no character name, he is only referred to as "The Bass Player," (and listed in the credits as T.B. Player). See more »


References Help! (1965) See more »


Ohio State Fair
Written by Mike Piccirillo
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Familiar tale told freshly, honestly, with appealing cast
18 March 2001 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

We've sorta been down this road before: 1960s pop band makes it out of their dead-end hometown for Hollywood, but fame and fortune unravel the fun. Still, this picture has remarkable focus, careful period detail, and a lovely cast that rarely (if ever) strikes a false note. If some of the young actors sometimes seem like they're doing Tom Hanks impersonations, that's okay because director Hanks (himself a co-star) seems to know these characters inside and out--and he likes them. We in the audience are quick to respond, and even the conventional parts of the movie work because Hanks rides over clichés with verve and enthusiasm and wit. Not a raucous comedy a la "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (which is what it looked like to me in the ads), this has its share of subtle moments. There is a mean-spirited dig at the Frankie & Annette "Beach Party" flicks, and the ready-made romance at the end is sugar-coated, but "That Thing You Do!" is immensely likable. It has a huge heart. ***1/2 from ****

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