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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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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?


According to Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron was the first actress to audition for her part and the first person to be cast in the movie. See more »


Lenny does not miss his cue at Villipiano's on "All My Dreams", he is making reference to the loud airplane flying over "the spaghetti place out by the airport" that they have gotten their first gig at. See more »


[after Guy has gotten into a conversation with his idol, Del Paxton]
Marguerite: Look at you. You're no good to me now.
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 Apollo 13 (1995) See more »


Hollywood Showcase Theme
Written by Tom Hanks and Mike Piccirillo
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Light but charming film
21 October 1999 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed Hanks' feature directing debut(this is not, by the way, the first time he sat in the director's chair; he directed a segment of a Showtime film noir series; I think it was called CITY OF ANGELS). He did a convincing job not only recreating the time, but also the music, which sounded like period music without being a pale shadow of it. He also made a wise choice for his lead; Tom Everett Scott may not have moved on to bigger things yet, but as this film shows, he's destined for them. Steve Zahn is funny as always, Hanks does well playing a company man, and Liv Tyler is quite luminous(though I could have done without the "thousand kisses" speech; that was melodramatic). On the down side, I'm not a big fan of Johnathan Schaech, but his character was too much of a caricature. And sometimes it was just too light. Still, this was overall an enjoyable movie.

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