34 user 23 critic

Boys (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 10 May 1996 (USA)
Patty Vare falls off a horse and is found unconscious by preparatory school student John Baker. He takes her to his dormitory. As he quickly discovers, she is hiding from something. For ... See full summary »


Stacy Cochran


Stacy Cochran, James Salter (short story "Twenty Minutes")


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Gemma is 13 years old lives and with her grandpa in the country, she has for many years. One day her mother shows up, and wants to take Gemma to the city. Her mother is married now, and can... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Petrie
Stars: Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Winona Ryder


Cast overview, first billed only:
Winona Ryder ... Patty Vare
Lukas Haas ... John Baker Jr
John C. Reilly ... Officer Kellogg Curry
James Le Gros ... Fenton Ray (as James LeGros)
Skeet Ulrich ... Bud Valentine
Matt Malloy ... Bartender
Spencer Vrooman Spencer Vrooman ... John Murphy
Charlie Hofheimer ... John Cooke
Bill Sage ... Officer Bill Martone
Marty McDonough ... Teacher
Wiley Wiggins ... John Phillips
Vivienne Shub Vivienne Shub ... Frances
Russell Young Russell Young ... John Van Slieder
Christopher Pettiet ... Jon Heinz
Catherine Keener ... Jilly


Patty Vare falls off a horse and is found unconscious by preparatory school student John Baker. He takes her to his dormitory. As he quickly discovers, she is hiding from something. For John this becomes a road to maturity and for Patty, it's a way back to love and tenderness. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No one stays innocent forever.


Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

10 May 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Girl You Want See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$270,107, 12 May 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


After multiple cuts and dubbing out language, the film went from a R rating to PG-13. Winona Ryder was very disappoint in the final cut of the film and did not promote it when released. She also has issues with the last minute title change from "The Girl You Want" to "Boys". See more »


Before Baker falls asleep away from the fair, the trees closest to him have all of their leaves. In the morning, both are almost bare. See more »


John Baker Jr: I knew this will happen...
Patty: what will happen?
John Baker Jr: that i get turn out
Patty: you get turn out the school?
John Baker Jr: not yet... but I look at you and I knew that I would be...
See more »


Referenced in Dr. Feelgood: Winona Ryder (2016) See more »


Doo Wacka Do
Written by Roger Miller
Courtesy of Klavier Records
See more »

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User Reviews

I liked this movie...
14 February 2008 | by jpschapiraSee all my reviews

I liked this movie. Imagine a teenager, named John, the typical guy who goes to the last year of high school and doesn't quite know what to do with his life. Then, one day, he finds a beautiful woman lying on the floor in a field who, apparently, is on the run for something she did and takes her to his room. It's a boarding school, he might get kicked out, but he doesn't care; he just wants to help her. The look on his face when the woman first wakes up and the teenager walks towards her, is the first sign of a magical performance by Lukas Hass; it's a look that combines the excitement of having this woman in his bed and the curiosity of wanting to know what she might have done.

The woman is called Patty Vare, played by the wonderful Winona Ryder in the kind of role she knows by heart but never forgets to add new elements to. Here, besides appearing to be somewhere other than the real world (she fell off a horse before John found her and doesn't remember much), she masters the 'look'; that seductive look only she can achieve and makes anyone go crazy to the point that they would do anything for her. Well, at least that's the effect it had on John in the movie…And on me, of course.

But don't get things wrong. I personally don't think "Boys" is a romantic movie, even if it was writer/director Stacy Cochran's intention. I would call it some kind of an 'age analysis'. Yes, there are romance related moments that make you smile because Winona is an expert on the subject, but this time her character Patty is an expert too: on men. So the study the film tries to make is what can happen when a woman of Patty's experience meets a kid like John in an extreme situation.

That's why Cochran shows us flashbacks of what happened to Patty before meeting John; they're necessary for us to know the kind of woman she is. On the other hand, we don't know anything about John but the fact that he has a bad relationship with his father (a respectable Chris Cooper). But we don't need to know, because we realize when he is with Patty; when we hear what he says and see what he does.

There's a scene in the town fair, where Patty and John are together in the merry-go-round. The final moment of that scene explains why I liked this movie, and those are the scenes in the movie that work. Not the police sub-plot (led by a convincing John C. Reilly), not John's relationship with his friends at school (although some scenes are good to watch more of Hass' perfect work), not even the conflict with his father.

There's another scene really worth paying attention too: a chat in a table where a beautiful light from the window makes Patty seem so vulnerable. Luckily for us, this is a movie where we have the final world; about whether we believe the characters or not and about the inconclusive and far-fetched ending. Yes, it may not honor reality itself, but "Boys" honors its title; and I liked that. I liked this movie.

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