Remembering Risky Business: Top Facts About it

Risky Business, starring Tom Cruise, is a coming of age movie based on comedy, drama, and romance. The film grossed about $63.5 million on a $6.2 million budget. It was written and directed by the legendary Paul Brickman and released on August 5, 1983.

Tom Cruise played the role of “Joel Goodson” and Rebecca DeMornay as “Lana.” The plot focuses on Joel’s life as a high-achieving high school teenager having wealthy parents. The character goes through the understanding of life in the contexts of materialism, capitalism and experiences the loss of innocence and coming of age.

Synopsis of Risky Business

A high school senior, Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise), gets ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days. To enjoy his teen life to the fullest, he cuts loose with his best friend, Miles. After securing the services of a prostitute go a bit messy, Joel hires the beautiful Lana (played by Rebecca De Mornay) for a night of delight.

After going into a shock by the amount of Lana’s “Bill,” the next morning, young Joel gets all crazy when he crashes his father’s Porsche. To raise money, Joel decides to do something different; he turns his house into a brothel.

Amazing Facts about Risky Business

There are many amazing facts about “Risky Business” that most people don’t know. Some of them are as follows:

Tom Cruise’s Rise to Fame

Risky Business gave Tom Cruise the opportunity he needed for his rise to fame. The character he played was Joel Goodson that served as his stepping stone to success. Tom was very dedicated to this role, and he put all his dedication into it.  His acting made the movie a commercial success, receiving many positive reviews about his acting.

White Boys off the Lake

Before it was named “Risky Business,” the original title was “White Boys off the Lake.” The original title got rejected because it sounded more like an off-Broadway play. The movie was a test, to melt a darker form of filmmaking with humor and turn it into a teen comedy.

Inspired by Another Film

The film was inspired by Alberto Moravia’s novel called “The Conformist,” written in 1951. A film was later made, based on the same novel in 1970, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, which was a big inspiration for this picture.In an interview with Salon, Brickman expressed his views about it. He mentioned that the novel should be presented as a film for the youth to aspire to this kind of style and still have humor in it.

Director’s Impression of Tom Cruise

Tom was filming his other project, “The Outsiders,” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he got the call to audition for the role. He went by his office, which was a result of a surprise arrangement that his agent had setup for him. The Director was not initially impressed with Tom Cruise.

He auditioned again in Los Angeles, and when he went in, he saw this stunning woman looking at him, who was already cast. They went for a screen test, and afterward, Cruise said, “we didn’t test that well, but Paul believed in me.”

Tom Cruise and His Fitness for the Role

Tom gave his best for this role, which required a lot of time and effort to get into Joel’s character. Sources say Cruise shed 14 pounds in five weeks by following a strict diet and jogging every day to look more baby-faced and young.

He stopped doing his exercises when he reached his weight goal. Tom Cruise said that Joel was a very vulnerable person, and he didn’t want any physical defenses up for him.

Tom Cruise and the Underwear Scene

The most iconic scene of the movie was one in which Cruise was dancing to Bob Serger’s 1978 song “Old Time Rock and Roll” in his underwear. He improvised in that scene by dancing with a candlestick holder, using it as a mic, and jumping on the table.

Jokes aside, it was a memorable scene in the film. Originally it was meant to be a one-line scene only in the script,butTom nailed it by dancing his way into history and making it one of the unforgettable moments.

The underwear scene was reenacted and used as the intro in the “Jonas Brothers” music video “what a man gotta do” released in January 2020.

Vintage Porsche 928s Were Used

Joel says that there is no substitute to Porsche as he speeds on the roads in his dad’s 928 models around town only to have it drown later in Belmont Harbor.

Porsche manufactured the 928s with a V8 Engine from 1978 to 1995. Four of the 1979 models showed up in the movie, including one 1981 model that was used for the lake scene.

Some collectors tried to track down the Porsches that were used in the production and only found one, which was bought for $49,200 at a 2012 Hollywood Memorabilia Auction.

Tom Cruise and His Thoughts About Capitalism

Ten years after the film, Cameron Crowe spoke with Tom Cruise in an interview and asked him about his thoughts on “Risky Business” and what the main story was. He told him that it was about today’s capitalistic society.

Tom said that “Do the means justify the ends? Do you want to help people, or do you just want to make money? Joel is questioning all of that. So am I …. I’m not saying I’m some erudite political figure—but it bothers me. At least I’m asking the question. The movie is Joel’s exploration of society, how he gets sucked into this wild capitalistic ride.”

Crystal Egg’s Manufacturer Going Out of Business

In the film, Joel’s mother tells her son that she is very disappointed in him for finding her crystal egg broken after coming back from her vacation. As shown earlier, in the film, the hookers steal the egg from the mantel, returning it to Joel later on by throwing it like a football.

In reality, the egg was made by a century-old New York manufacturing company called Steuben Glass Works. They made all kinds of glass artifacts and pieces. The company’s business declined in 2011, mainly because the demand for crystal started declining.

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay

Tom Cruise has been very secretive about his private life, but in 1986, he opened up about his relationship with Rebecca De Mornay to Rolling Stone. She was a co-star with whom Tom fell in love. They started dating after the release of the film in the late summer of 1983. Tom’s relationship with Rebecca dissolved after the Cruise shot the film “Legend” in London, and before he went off to film another movie called “Top Gun.”

Alternate Ending

At the end of the movie, Joel goes to a restaurant and dines with Lana saying, “I was just thinking, where we’ll be in 10 years”, and then she says, “They are going to make it big.” He then asks, “Was it a setup?” and she says, “No!”

They walk through a park at night, talking about how they won’t be seeing each other. Rebecca asks to spend the night with Joel, and he asks her as a joke that whether she has money or not, and then his voice over kicks in saying, “I am Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over $8000 in one night… Time of your life, huh, kid?”

In the alternate ending, they dine at the same restaurant having a similar conversation. Joel adds, “Why does it have to be so tough?” after she says,“No.” Later on, while sitting on his lap, the couple holds each other’s arm, and Joel’s voiceover says the same lines except, instead of saying, “Time of your life,” he says, “Isn’t life grand?”


Even though Risky Business was released almost 37 years ago,it is still a very relatable film today describing a teenager’s life. The story teaches us that the company of friends we choose plays a huge part in ourlives.

In short, Risky Business was the reason Tom Cruise got popularity, serving as the foundation of his rise to fame.Had it not been for this movie, we wouldn’t have seen Tom Cruise where he is today. The movie showcases his brilliant acting skills as a rich teenager trying to live his life with a bang and have fun. It is a brilliant coming of age film that we recommend everyone to watch.