22 user 15 critic

The Wild Life (1984)

A high-school wrestler parties with his buddy at a swinging-singles apartment complex.


Art Linson


Cameron Crowe




Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Penn ... Tom Drake (as Christopher Penn)
Ilan Mitchell-Smith ... Jim Conrad
Eric Stoltz ... Bill Conrad
Jenny Wright ... Eileen
Lea Thompson ... Anita
Brin Berliner ... Tony
Rick Moranis ... Harry
Hart Bochner ... David Curtiss
Susan Rinell ... Donna (as Susan Blackstone)
Cari Anne Warder Cari Anne Warder ... Julie
Robert Ridgely ... Craig Davis
Jack Kehoe ... Mr. Parker
Simone White Simone White ... Brenda (as Jennifer White)
Beth McKinley Beth McKinley ... Robin
Michael Bowen ... Vince


Eighties teen romp involving Bill and his new apartment, Jim and his rebellious antics, Tom and his crazy self, and Anita with her older man David. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From the creators of 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High" - something even faster! See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Eddie Van Halen wrote the musical score of the movie and many of the pieces of what would become Van Halen songs. In some of the bowling alley scenes, the main guitar riff that would be used for "Good Enough" can be heard. In an early scene in the movie the piano melody for "Right Now" is heard. And during the party scenes, most of the guitar passages would be used for "A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)." See more »


During the scene where Jim has the music up too loud, Bill comes in and it appears that he yanks the plug out. After he leaves, Jim turns it back on by hitting play, not by putting the plug back in. See more »


[repeated line]
Tom Drake: It's casual.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Most video versions alter the soundtrack because of copyright reasons. See more »


Referenced in Cameron's Book of Love (2014) See more »


Mirror Man
Written by Phil Oakey, Jo Callis and Ian Burden
Performed by The Human League (as Human League)
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd. / A&M Records
See more »

User Reviews

It's Casual...(minor spoilers)
26 December 2004 | by vertigo_14See all my reviews

The 'Wild Life,' like other 80s teen movies, are just one of those movies you watch not for story (since there really is no single, distinct plot directing the characters), but simply because you can have fun with the series of scattered events with which our characters wade through.

This one follows the spirit of 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High,' minus most of the controversial plot lines ('Fast Times' addresses abortion, but this one only somewhat addresses strung out vets). Although, that is not surprising since Chris Penn's character, Tom Drake, so closely models Sean Penn's character, Jeff Spicoli. This movie is what a spin-off of 'Fast Times' would be like if Jeff Spicoli were the main character.

There are essentially five main characters: Tom Drake (Penn), the anarchistic party animal; recent high school grad, Bill Conrad (a timid Eric Stolz who once played fellow surfer bonehead to Jeff Spicoli in 'Fast Times') who wants to prove that both masculinity and adulthood hinge on his having his own apartment; Anita (Lea Thompson) who is dating a sleazy cop; Eileen (the spunky Jenny Wright) who is much more independent that Anita, but no less able to entirely refuse her idiot boyfriend, Tom Drake; and Jim Conrad (Ilan-Mitchell Smith), the gloomy brother who is slightly less weirder than Josh Miller was in 'The River's Edge.' A crazy assortment of characters is typical in this variety of 80s comedy. Without a main plot, our characters' situations lead to some pretty hilarious subplots (most of them being between Tom Drake and Bill Conrad, who eventually become the 80s 'Odd Couple' when Drake moves in).

Look for minor roles by Rick Moranis, as Eileen's completely nerdy boss, Harry; Randy Quaid as drugged out Vietnam Vet, Charlie; Lee Ving (lead singer of 'Fear') who briefly appears as the cable guy; and Michael Bowen (Tommy in 'Valley Girl') as Tom Drake's equally braindead jock friend.

And, of course, it wouldn't be an 80s teen movie without boobs, beer, and house parties.

I didn't like this movie the first time I saw it because there is really no point to most things that transpire in the story. Why is the scene at the strip club or the younger brother's fascination with the war important? It doesn't matter. I watched it a second time, a little tired and giddy, and the 'Wild Life' became the perfect late night lazy movie. Turn off your brain and enjoy. (That party sequence at the end is hilarious).

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Release Date:

28 September 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wild Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,001,400, 30 September 1984

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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