14 user 5 critic

Desperate Lives (1982)

A brother and sister get caught up in the drug scene in their local high school, with tragic results.


Robert Michael Lewis (as Robert Lewis)


Lew Hunter

On Disc

at Amazon




Cast overview, first billed only:
Diana Scarwid ... Eileen Phillips
Doug McKeon ... Scott Cameron
Helen Hunt ... Sandy Cameron
William Windom ... Dr. Jarvis
Art Hindle ... Stan
Tom Atkins ... John Cameron
Norman Alden ... Coach
Tricia Cast Tricia Cast ... Susan Garber
Sam Bottoms ... Ken Baynes
Diane Ladd ... Carol Cameron
Michele Greene ... Julie Jordan
Terry Alexander ... Robert Walsh
Joyce Brothers ... Mrs. Watson (as Dr. Joyce Brothers)
Aggie Terry Aggie Terry ... Cindy
Katherine Kelly Lang ... Mary


A brother and sister get caught up in the drug scene in their local high school, with tragic results.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Who's killing young kids with drugs and crime?




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Release Date:

3 March 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Angel Dust See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The drugs Steve gives Sandy to snort move from his pinkie to his index finger and back between shots. See more »


Featured in Saturday Night Live: Helen Hunt/Snoop Doggy Dogg (1994) See more »


Desperate Lives (Title Song)
by Rick Springfield
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User Reviews

Yup this movie made a square out of me!!!!!
8 October 2008 | by mkdelanoSee all my reviews

This movie scared the you-know-what out of me!!! i remember seeing it when i was about 11 years old and i will NEVER forget the scene of Helen Hunt jumping out of the window. I never knew the name of the movie until I watched an old episode of Saturday Night Live when she hosted and showed that scene as a spoof. I freaked out when I saw it as old sleepless nights came flashing back. I remember when I saw it, it scared me so bad I cried. Yes, it would probably be cheesy if it were showed today but it really did work for me. I smoked pot in college but that was it. Not to mention I was exposed to EVERYTHING you can imagine. However, I always remembered Helen Hunt going through the window and have thanked her ever since for my wise choice to abstain. i was always afraid I would have the same reaction of thinking my arm was a snake. I wish there was a way to show this to kids today but they may laugh at it. Perhaps it was my formidable years but it really worked for me. How funny that others had the same reaction. I always tell people that this is the reason I didn't ever do drugs but no one believes me. Thank you Helen Hunt for jumping through the window and trying to cut your arm off with a piece of glass!!! this movie may have saved my life!

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