Up 532 this week

That Thing You Do! (1996)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  4 October 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 48,172 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 211 user | 74 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty
Splash (1984)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saves him from drowning as a boy and falls in love not knowing who/what she is.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson
Big (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a boy wishes to be big at a magic wish machine, he wakes up the next morning and finds himself in an adult body.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia
The Money Pit (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young couple struggles to repair a hopelessly dilapidated house.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A recently widowed man's son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two business rivals hate each other at the office but fall in love over the internet.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.

Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges
Apollo 13 (1995)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon
Larry Crowne (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.

Director: Tom Hanks
Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A soon-to-be-married man's friends throw him the ultimate bachelor party.

Director: Neal Israel
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tawny Kitaen, Adrian Zmed
The 'Burbs (1989)
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An overstressed suburbanite and his paramilitaric neighbor struggle to prove their paranoid theory that the new family in town is a front for a cannibalistic cult.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher


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)


ITL 187,396,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Major Motion Picture director is played by Jonathan Demme, who directed Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and won an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs. See more »


When the bass player visits Disneyland he rides in a Matterhorn car. The Matterhorn cars in the 1960s were single bobsleds, not two tandem bobsleds as shown in the film. They didn't run tandem until the ride was updated in 1978. The ones shown in the film are the current tandem bobsleds painted in the 1960s scheme. Also, when he poses for a photograph with Mickey Mouse, Mickey is wearing a 1960s costume with a 1990s head. Mickey's hairline in the '60s came down to a point between his two eyes with much fuzzier hair. In the '90s, Mickey's hairline came to a point much higher on his forehead. See more »


Lenny: [as Jimmy runs to the bathroom to throw up] Hey, man! Whatever you do, don't think of pork chops!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Soundtrack released on the fictional Play-tone records. See more »


Referenced in Cook & Banks (2015) See more »


La Señora De Dos Costas
Written by Tom Hanks
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Hoot; comes very, very close to being a great movie
24 July 2004 | by (Dongshih, Taiwan) – See all my reviews

I didn't see That Thing You Do (TTYD) when it came out, and it's too bad. This movie will--strange to think--rank up there with "Stop Making Sense" as a classic concert film. Interesting that 1) they're not really comparable, since SMS is real concert footage and TTYD is a mockumentary, and 2) Jonathon Demme is in TTYD!

Is this a timeless movie? Close. Darn close. What's great? Actually--almost enlightening--Hanks' writing is really quite wonderful. The dialog is almost a rare example of direct, effective, "connecting" film writing. The casting, directing, and acting is great. The editing is very effective. The sets, costumes, general "look" is a delight. The music is very, very effective. So much subtle craftsmanship goes into stuff at the right levels of detail, that you might accuse the film of failing to be like a genuine "rock 'n' roll experience" because it's almost too crafty. But I think they pull it off.

What's wrong with the movie? Not much. The ending flags a little. The pre-credits posting of thumbnail future bios of the characters is a cheap device; but again I think it doesn't eclipse the power of the mythic payload (the moral) which ultimately has to do with the power of love. And I don't say that in a wishy-washy sense. What is love? According to this movie, it's that multi-dimensional experience which includes not just finding "that special someone," but also finding your path. It reminds me of an exchange I had with a work buddy who hoped to write "that big hit tune" and retire early. I loaned him a record by Fred Frith, which put him off entirely. "This guy won't ever get anywhere," he said. But I patiently explained that he (my friend) and I get up in the morning and go to our corporate jobs. This guy (Frith) gets up and goes to the studio. Who's the success? That's a big life lesson, and I think this movie nuances that very effectively. It can even translate to any of life's pursuits, not just music.

I found myself being continuously delighted by this film. At the risk of sounding like a green ass, I want to plug this film's attention to a time-honored aesthetic virtue: Hard work. This film is a labor of love, with equal attention to the inspiration AND perspiration.

I can't believe how much I like this movie! I feel like a bobbysoxer saying it! I resonated with this movie on many points. Let me give you one example. I was in a little band once and was something of the "muse" of that band. Something I always marveled at was how "the creative process" people talk about is actually a very simple and practical reality when you're actually being creative. One of the sweet, simple high points of working up a number is the act of picking the tempo. If you've ever done this, you know what I'm talking about. Picking the tempo is a profoundly rewarding act, and of course that's just one small aspect of the process. So the scene near the beginning of the flick where the drummer overrules Jimmy and establishes an uptempo beat to what was supposed to be a ballad is a profoundly resonant moment for me. And the direction and editing bring together an almost perfect picture of the very real and profound joy that this brings to people.

There were many, many moments in this movie that affected me in much the same way. If you haven't seen it and you love "concert films," check it out.

(NOTE: I wrote a little "trip guide" to TTYD!, which can be found at: http://www.ronazajac.com/That_Thing_You_Do_Comments.pdf . Hope you find it useful. -raz)

52 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Dance With Me Tonight... snoochberries
Worst moments of Jimmy daugava
Guy's Military service? katzmusik
Did Guy change the tempo on purpose? tjy355
my ONLY nitpick... justbrian2005
If Chad Hadn't Fallen Down... KatrinaW
Discuss That Thing You Do! (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: