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Reality Bites (1994)

Winona Ryder , Ethan Hawke , Ben Stiller  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn
  • Directors: Ben Stiller
  • Writers: Helen Childress
  • Producers: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 1998
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783227922
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,419 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Reality Bites" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller (directing his first feature film) star in this wildly romantic comedy that looks at life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment through the eyes of a generation sandwiched somewhere between The Brady Bunch and Melrose Place! As her college valedictorian, Lelaina Pierce (Ryder) should be destined for greatness. In reality she is a lowly production assistant for an obnoxious TV morning show host (John Mahoney). In her free time, Lelaina is making a biting, often outrageous video documentary about her peers: promiscuous, '70's-crazed roommate Vickie (Janeane Garafalo), sexually repressed Sammy (Steve Zahn) and best friend Troy (Hawke), a brilliant but unmotivated rebel. Meanwhile, Lelaina meets Michael (Stiller), an ambitious video executive who wants to showcase her documentary on "In Your Face TV." Suddenly, she finds herself at the center of a very odd love triangle with dependable, fast-track Michael on the one side and a sexy, brooding Troy on the other.

    Customer Reviews

    3.9 out of 5 stars
    3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars This reality feels just right... August 29, 2008
    I think that `Reality Bites' has been unfairly labeled as thin and hollow. I actually feel as though the film tackles its issues with grace and delicacy, handling the subject in a way that feels complete when the credits begin to roll. The film was never meant to be a weighty message type film but more a relaxed look at real concerns of the youths of the 90's (or `Generation X'). For what it sets out to do, I think `Reality Bites' works very well. When you couple the finely crafted script with the exceptional cast and Ben Stiller's surprisingly attune direction you have a very entertaining and satisfying cinematic experience.

    The film follows a group of friends after they graduate from college and struggle to decide what to do with their lives. Their lives in general are being documented by Lelaina, an aspiring filmmaker. She passes around her video camera asking her friends intimate questions and capturing their every moment on film in order to document the struggles of the average young adult. Her friends include the promiscuous Vickie (Garofalo in a sublime supporting performance), the slacker Troy and the closeted Sammy. Together they make for an interesting group, and when you add in Michael Grates, a video executive who takes a liking to Lelaina after a fender-bender causes them to meet.

    The script allows the cast to really sink into the issues their breed of young adult faces in a world that is not ready to accept them despite the fact that they are finely crafted. They are over-educated and under-appreciated and cast into a world that doesn't `get' them. Each actor really grabs hold of their character and delivers a strong and passionate performance. Janeane Garofalo is wonderful as Vickie, really getting the sense of her characters fears and ambitions.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    By L P
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    "Reality Bites" is a movie that I found (and still find) to be very close to the real life experiences people who leave the safety of college face. If you are in your late 30s or early 40s and kinda settled in your ways and job, you probably won't get this movie anymore. You are too grown up and the issues these mid-20 something kids are facing will seem trivial and nonsensical to you. Heck, even the actors, in the movie's "special features" section - especially Steve Zahn and Ethan Hawke, as well as Ben Stiller - don't really get the characters they played 16 years ago anymore. They talk about how childish their struggles in retrospect seem to have been and how bratty and ungrateful they find their characters now that they themselves have reached their mid-late 30s, early 40s and apparently figured out what life is all about: "having a career or something..." I guess that's where the true tragedy lies: no longer being able to identify with your idealistic, hopeful, driven young self of the past anymore.

    This movie is about four friends who face life - Reality - right after college. Leleina's (Winon Ryder) speech at the beginning of the movie about what her generation is going to do with the damage they have inherited and a poignant "I dont know" as a response sum it up pretty well. She is the valedictorian of her college and an aspiring documentary film maker. She walks around with her camera filming her friends, asking them lots of personal and intimate questions about themselves and life in order to eventually create a documentary that will mean something. She wants to make a difference in the world and just like any hopeful college student, was imagining that she would "be somebody" after all the hard work she put in thus far.
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    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars "Reality" does not "Bite" July 23, 2007
    I LOVE this movie. Its definitely one of my favorite go-to movies, although I don't think it was/is a very popular one. Maybe I like it because I'm a girl, (my husband doesn't really like it, but loves Ben Stiller so I made him watch it) but I think both sexes would be entertained by it. A perfect, early 90's-era flick about the lives of young 20-somethings. I think it has a really good cast of characters and is very entertaining!
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    15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A classic! November 24, 2007
    This movie changed my life. How? The books that the character 'Troy' (Ethan Hawke) either reads or references in the movie. Sure, it's a great movie but what meant the most for me was the director's or writer's (or whoever it was) choice to use or reference the following books: Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time", Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and John Steinbeck's "The Winter of Our Discontent". Read those books and you will be forever changed!
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    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars An honest look at a drifting generation June 16, 2007
    The opening speech by Lelaina (Winona Ryder) at the beginning sets an accurate mood for the rest of the film: optimism tinged with confusion and a lack of direction. In reality, the young adults in this film depict only a small slice of their generation, those who "aren't interested in the counterculture that they [our parents] invented as if we did not see them disembowel their revolution for a pair of running shoes." I may be a few years behind the generation portrayed in the film, but I'm not entirely without empathy for the restless plight of this group of slackers. Even so, the speech is a horrible oversimplification of the generation gap of the time, and the film is more easily digested if the core group of characters is seen as only one slice of a very large generation.

    There is a lot of similarity between Reality Bites and films like Garden State and Harold and Maude, sharing the same ennui and restlessness that seems insatiable and overwhelming. The striking difference, though, is Reality Bites' strong sense of friendship and community as a means of overcoming this ennui. I felt that if any of these characters were left entirely to himself, he would commit suicide, and the core group of friends is what saved them all.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Yay!
    One of my favorite moves forever.
    I still watch it all the time.

    I was pretty upset to lose my copy of the movie a few weeks ago, so I decided to re-purchase... Read more
    Published 16 days ago by Chelsea
    5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best movies this guys seen in awhile and ill tell ...
    one of the best movies this guys seen in awhile and ill tell you what ive seen a ton of movies
    Published 2 months ago by Stephen
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Excellent, timeless Classic.
    Published 2 months ago by Eden
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Excellent movie!
    Published 2 months ago by Mel
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
    Love the chemistry between Wynona Rider and Ethan Hawke. The songs are great too.
    Published 2 months ago by Sue Valthauser
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Really good movie. I didn't remember it when it came out in the 90s
    Published 2 months ago by Sonya
    3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
    It was fun. The script wasn't bad. It is a pretty cliche type of film.

    Spoiler Alert: Woman is treated like crap by a jerk and treated pretty respectfully by a nice... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by WhoAmI?
    4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
    Classic 90's film about the what now's of life after school. I loved it!! Sntk is an amazing lineup of 90's gems and the plot is probably more relevant today than then.
    Published 3 months ago by Alissa Nicole Koblentz
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    The Breakfast Club for all of us 20 somethings wondering what life is and what to do with it.
    Published 3 months ago by Jessica Canchola
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 3 months ago by C. Korbelic
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