An outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month.


Steve Rash
1,308 ( 575)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Dempsey ... Ronald Miller
Amanda Peterson ... Cindy Mancini
Courtney Gains ... Kenneth Wurman
Tina Caspary ... Barbara
Seth Green ... Chuckie Miller
Sharon Farrell ... Mrs. Mancini
Darcy DeMoss ... Patty (as Darcy De Moss)
Dennis Dugan ... David Miller
Cloyce Morrow Cloyce Morrow ... Judy Miller
Devin DeVasquez ... Iris (as Devin Devasquez)
Eric Bruskotter ... Big John
Gerardo Mejía ... Ricky
Cort McCown ... Quint
Ami Dolenz ... Fran
Max Perlich ... Lester


Ronald Miller is tired of being a nerd, and makes a deal with one of the most popular girls in school to help him break into the "cool" clique. He offers her a thousand dollars to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month. It succeeds, but he soon learns that the price of popularity may be higher than he expected. Written by Kevin Ackley <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ronald is making an investment in his senior year. He's hiring the prettiest cheerleader in school to be his girlfriend.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Amanda Peterson and Tina Caspary had previously played dancers/orphans in Annie (1982). See more »


When Big John first notices Ronald sitting at their table, a boom mic reflected in the glass. See more »


Quint: [to Ronald] Oh, Return of the Living Dred.
Ronald Miller: [walks over with a bat] Why don't you lay off?
Quint: Why don't you go back where you belong, hose head.
Ronald Miller: Take your hands off Kenneth or I'll break your arm. Your pitching arm.
Quint: Oh yeah? Don't make me laugh, lawn boy.
Ronald Miller: Let go. NOW!
[slams the table with the bat]
Quint: [Let's Kenneth go]
Ronald Miller: You broke your arm once before, remember? You fell out of our tree house. Kenneth picked you up and we carried you 12 blocks to the hospital.
Kenneth Wurman: Yeah, you cried all the way.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK theatrical version was edited by 1m 14sec to secure a PG rating. See more »


Featured in TruInside: Heathers (2016) See more »


One Lover at a Time
Written by Jimmy Scott and Richard Feldman
Performed by Atlantic Starr
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

Good flyweight entertainment
4 June 2002 | by mattymatt4everSee all my reviews

I've seen bundles of these teen comedies, and "Can't Buy Me Love" does contain every cliche in the book. But it was made in 1987. This was a little past the dawning of the high school movie, and the characters of the nerd, jock, cheerleader, etc. were just recently created. I don't know. Maybe this movie was even a huge cliche back in the eighties. But I'm still gonna give it the benefit of the doubt.

I catch this movie on TBS quite a lot of times, and I can't help but enjoy it. There are certain cliched scenes that just force me to roll my eyes and sigh, yet I can't change the channel. Well, there are two key elements that make this flyweight teen comedy work: Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson. They both give charming performances, and have a wonderful chemistry. Even though you know exactly what will happen between them, it's still a delight to see them on screen. Dempsey hasn't had a big role in years, and you can technically classify him as a has-been, but he is a good, charismatic actor. And it would've been nice if his career actually took off. As for Peterson, I don't remember her from any other movies, so I have no knowledge of her career. All I know is she's good-looking and I liked her in this movie.

The story is as predictable as you can get, with paperthin characters, but as I said it's good flyweight entertainment. Strictly a guilty pleasure. If I were in the mood for a good--and by that I mean good in quality--high school movie I'd watch "Ghost World" or one of the "American Pie" movies. But if I just want to kick back and watch a cheesy high school movie that will put a smile on my face and contains no intellectual value, I'll watch "Can't Buy Me Love."

Of course, the movie has a "message" at the end about being yourself, and not caring what others think of you, but the message is delivered with the finesse of an after-school special and is strictly pasted on. When you have characters that are so stereotypical and implausible, it's hard to fit in a believable message. But what would a high school movie be without a schmaltzy third act?

That's why I recommend this movie, just as a guilty pleasure. It's far from great, yet undeniably appealing. But please do not bother to analyze this movie. You'll be wasting your time.

My score: 7 (out of 10)

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Release Date:

14 August 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Can't Buy Me Love See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,754,732, 16 August 1987

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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