34 user 22 critic

Smooth Talk (1985)

2:46 | Trailer
A free-spirited 15-year-old girl flirts with a dangerous stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences.


Joyce Chopra


Joyce Carol Oates (story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"), Tom Cole (screenplay)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Treat Williams ... Arnold Friend
Laura Dern ... Connie
Mary Kay Place ... Katherine
Margaret Welsh ... Laura
Sara Inglis Sara Inglis ... Jill (as Sarah Inglis)
Levon Helm ... Harry
Elizabeth Berridge ... June
Geoff Hoyle Geoff Hoyle ... Ellie
William Ragsdale ... Jeff
David Berridge David Berridge ... Eddie
Cab Covay Cab Covay ... Pick-up Driver
Michael French Michael French ... Stan
Joy Carlin Joy Carlin ... Laura's Mother
Mark McKay Mark McKay ... Bobby King
Carl Mueller Carl Mueller ... Mall Boy


Free-spirited fifteen-year-old Connie Wyatt may be too young to drive, but she's already driving the boys crazy and now anxious to escape the boredom of family farm life. Her suspicious mother wants to keep her safely at home, but Connie would rather while away the languid summer days hanging out with her friends and flirting with boys at the local burger stand. But when she flirts with a handsome and mysterious stranger named Arnold Friend, she finds herself in dangerous waters and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences. Based on the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates. Written by MGM/UA Home Video

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PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This movie was also based on Director Joyce Chopra's previous documentary, "Girls at 12" (included in Joyce Chopra (1975)), in addition to Joyce Carol Oates' short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?". The documentary follows three girls' everyday lives for about six months, and several moments were replicated to establish Connie's character as a typical teenage girl during the first half of this movie. See more »


When the girls are looking across the street at Frank's Drive-In, we see the gold Pontiac already in the parking lot, easy to pick out on account of the left brake light being out. Then we hear the gold Pontiac coming down the road and see it turn into the parking lot, also sporting the non working light. See more »


Katherine: I look at you. I look right in your eyes... and all I see are a bunch of trashy daydreams.
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Alternate Versions

PBS edited two minutes from this movie for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »


Silent Submission
Performed by Richard Taylor
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User Reviews

Intriguing story, based on Joyce Carol Oates' short story
2 December 2005 | by MarieGabrielleSee all my reviews

This movie was actually shown on PBS when it first came out, and many schools also utilize it in English class.

It is an interesting drama revolving around Connie (Laura Dern), her friends, and adolescent life in rural Northern California, or any other average American small-town.

Basically, Connie is attempting to escape her stifling everyday life; she and her mother are constantly at odds (well played by Mary Kay Place); and she spends most of her time at the mall; just like many kids, she has no direction, but enjoys meeting other kids at the local hamburger stand; eventually, after several encounters, she meets Treat Williams, who is a little different than most boys.....

The short story by Oates was actually based on the true story of a serial killer in Tucson AZ, who was nicknamed the "Pied Piper of Tucson". The story takes off into more tension from there; you should read the short story, as you will get the meaning of Arnold Friend/Treat Williams a lot better; the character is well portrayed by Treat Williams; suave, smooth and dangerous.....just what most young girls are attracted to.

All in all, a very good movie; and Laura Dern was good in the role, very vulnerable and impressionable; the novel projected the impression of a more standard beauty for the times....perhaps an actress like Jenny Garth or Mira Sorvino.

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Release Date:

17 November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Smooth Talk See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Rosa, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,785, 17 November 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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