163 user 56 critic

Reality Bites (1994)

2:12 | Trailer
A documentary filmmaker and her fellow Generation X graduates face life after college, looking for work and love in Houston.


Ben Stiller


Helen Childress
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Winona Ryder ... Lelaina Pierce
Ethan Hawke ... Troy Dyer
Janeane Garofalo ... Vickie Miner
Steve Zahn ... Sammy Gray
Ben Stiller ... Michael Grates
Swoosie Kurtz ... Charlane McGregor
Harry O'Reilly Harry O'Reilly ... Wes McGregor
Susan Norfleet Susan Norfleet ... Helen Anne Pierce
Joe Don Baker ... Tom Pierce
Renée Zellweger ... Tami (as Renee Zellweger)
James Rothenberg James Rothenberg ... Rick
John Mahoney ... Grant Gubler
Eric Morgan Stuart Eric Morgan Stuart ... Damien (as Eric Stuart)
Barry Del Sherman ... Grant's Producer (as Barry Sherman)
Chelsea Lagos ... Troy Groupie


In this study of Generation X manners, Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder), the valedictorian of her college class, camcords her friends in a mock documentary of posteducation life. Troy Dyer (Ethan Hawke) is her best friend, a perpetually unemployed musical slacker. Vickie Miner (Janeane Garofalo) is a manager at the Gap who worries about the results of an A.I.D.S. test, while Sammy Gray (Steve Zahn) has problems grappling with his sexuality. When Lelaina meets Michael Grates (Ben Stiller), an earnest video executive who takes her homemade video to his MTV-like station, she must decide what she values - the materialism of yuppie Michael or the philosophical musings of Troy. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A comedy about love in the '90s.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, drug content and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Before filming began, Janeane Garofalo was fired from the production because actor and director Ben Stiller did not like her attitude during rehearsal. Garofalo was rehired after Winona Ryder stepped in on her behalf. Garofalo stated later that she has a really poor work ethic and hates to rehearse. See more »


When the group is smoking pot with a pop can, there are two different cans used. See more »


Lelaina Pierce: I'm not going to work at the Gap for Chrissake!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Australian print only runs 94 minutes, and most notably actors Kevin Pollak and Jeanne Tripplehorn do not appear. See more »


Referenced in The Waiter (1997) See more »


All I Want is You
Written by Bono (as Paul Hewson), The Edge (as Dave Evans), Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. (as Larry Mullen)
Performed by U2
Courtesy of Island Records Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

Life After College!
26 April 2015 | by g-bodylSee all my reviews

Reality Bites is a movie I can currently relate with, as I have been recently suffering through post-college trauma. The movie has such a relatable premise, but I feel it could have been just a little better. But watching the movie provided me with the feeling that I am not alone in this ordeal. The movie was written pretty well and this is Ben Stiller's directorial debut, so a movie like this is not a bad way to begin a directing career.

Stiller's film is about a TV production assistant named Lelaina who is creating a documentary about post-grad life with her three friends: Troy who is a philosophical unemployed slacker, Vicki who is the manager of Gap, and Sammy who is trying to find his sexuality. When she meets Michael, an executive at an MTV-like studio, there is a chance her documentary can now go public.

The film is reasonably acted. Winona Ryder does a pretty good job as Lelaina, even if she seems a little whiny. I liked Ethan Hawke's character as his philosophy reminded of his character in the Before Sunrise series. Ben Stiller had a limited role, but he did a solid job. I also like Steve Zahn as the man trying to find out who he is.

Overall, Reality Bites is a decent movie because mainly it has a theme that people my age can relate to. The path to show this theme may not work as effective, but the movie was still mostly entertaining. I will say that the documentary shots got a little annoying at times, but the narrative itself is quite good.

My Grade: B

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Release Date:

18 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reality Bites See more »


Box Office


$11,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,113,050, 20 February 1994

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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