Was There an Alternate Ending for the Movie Risky Business?

The film “Risky Business,” directed by Paul Brickman and starring Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay (Flipped, Wedding Crashers), is about a teenager whose parents leave him home alone while they travel. While this occurs, the boy looks for opportunities to have fun, but the situation quickly deteriorates.



  • Tom Cruise as Joel Goodson
  • Rebecca De Mornay will play Lana.
  • Joe Pantoliano as Guido
  • Richard Masur in the role of Rutherford
  • Nicholas Pryor portraying Mr. Goodson
  • Janet Carroll in the role of Mrs. Goodson
  • Curtis Armstrong in the role of Miles Dalby
  • Bronson Pinchot will play Barry.
  • Shera Danese portrays Vicki.
  • Raphael Sbarge portraying Glenn
  • Bruce A. Young portraying Jackie
  • Fern Persons, Lab Instructor


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Joel (Tom Cruise) is a senior in high school who is extremely anxious about his future. Joel is a solid student, but he is not academically outstanding. His parents leave the house to visit a sick relative, leaving Joel alone at home. After being prodded by his friend Miles (Curtis Armstrong), Joel (Rebecca De Mornay) calls a prostitute named Lana (Curtis Armstrong) with whom he spends the night. When Joel is unable to pay Lana $300 the following morning, he goes to the bank to cash a bond. Upon his return, he discovers that Lana has stolen his mother’s priceless crystal ornamental egg.

Joel and Miles track down Lana to retrieve the egg, but end up assisting her in evading her pimp Guido (Joe Pantoliano). Beginning to spend time together, Joel and Lana eventually become friends. When Joel takes Lana on a date in his father’s Porsche, the vehicle rolls into a nearby lake by accident. Joel needs thousands of dollars to repair the car, so he and Lana devise a plan to raise the funds by hosting a large party at Joel’s house where Joel’s virginal high school friends will “party” with Lana’s prostitute friends for a fee. 

The celebration is a huge success. A Princeton University college recruiter arrives at Joel’s house during the party and discovers that Joel is running a prostitution ring. Joel and Lana decide to leave the house after Joel leaves his interview with the Princeton recruiter and end up making passionate love on a subway car. They decide to officially become a couple. Then, Joel pays for the Porsche restoration and has several thousand dollars left over. When he returns home, he discovers that Guido has stolen all of his belongings. Guido sells all of Joel’s furniture back, leaving him with no profit from the party. Even though Joel and his friends are able to return all the furniture to the house before his parents arrive, Joel is punished because his mother discovers a small crack in the crystal egg.

The film concludes with Joel’s acceptance to Princeton, with the recruiter commenting that the university could use a man like him. Lana has ostensibly left her life as a prostitute behind, but they both acknowledge that their relationship will likely end once Joel begins college. As the credits roll, the couple decides to spend one final night together before Joel leaves for Princeton.

Two Endings Were Filmed, But Brickman Preferred Only the Original

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In the final scene of Risky Business, Joel is dining with Lana. They are seen strolling through a park at night while discussing how they won’t see each other for a while. She requests to spend the night with him, and he jokingly inquires as to whether she has any cash. His voiceover then begins

In the alternative ending, however, they dine at the same restaurant and have a similar exchange. He invites her to sit on his lap, which she complies with. The camera pulls back to reveal a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan (it is clear they are dining in the Hancock building). While still on his lap, the couple embraces, and Joel’s voiceover is identical with the exception of “time of your life” being changed to “isn’t life grand?” for a more ambiguous and sarcastic ending.

“We had to tweak the ending to make it more positive and commercial,” Cruise said to Cameron Crowe about the film’s conclusion. Geffen Films believed that it was too… let’s just say that overall, they believed that movie was a letdown, okay? Paul [Brickman] stated at one point that he would not direct the new conclusion. They planned to hire another director to helm the production. Paul fought it hard. We all did … I believe we ultimately made the same point, however. Joel understands in his heart that this woman is more valuable than money. At the film’s 30th anniversary screening, Brickman revealed to the audience the film’s intended conclusion.

Alternate Ending


Risky Business-  a Hollywood blockbuster was the first film that Paul Brickman directed. Despite its enormous commercial and critical success, it was Brickman’s last directorial effort, a decision he made after losing a dispute with the studio over the film’s conclusion.

The theatrical version of the film concludes with two scenes: the first, a dinner between Joel and Lana in a posh Chicago restaurant, during which Joel inquires about their future and whether it was all a setup; and the second, cuts to Joel’s business club colleagues delivering their presentations. The film concludes with a second scene of Joel and Lana walking through a park while exchanging casual repartee with a humorous twist on their initial conversation, leaving open the possibility that they will continue to be together in some sense.

Brickman despised the second scene added at the studio’s insistence after the initial filming had concluded. For Brickman, Risky Business was ultimately a tragic tale, and the lighthearted stroll through the park destroyed the impression he desired the audience to have.

There is a problem with the original restaurant scene’s continuity. When the scene begins, it is midday, but when Joel and Lana embrace, it appears to be early evening.

The remastered 25th anniversary edition includes both the upbeat studio ending and Mr. Brickman’s original, more tentative and melancholy ending.