Wayne's World (film)

Last updated
Wayne's World
Waynes world ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Produced by Lorne Michaels
Screenplay by
Based on Wayne's World
by Mike Myers
Music by J. Peter Robinson
Cinematography Theo van de Sande
Edited byMalcolm Campbell
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • February 14, 1992 (1992-02-14)(United States)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$183.1 million [1]

Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris, produced by Lorne Michaels and written by Mike Myers alongside Bonnie and Terry Turner. Based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, it stars Myers in his feature film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, a pair of rock music fans who broadcast a public-access television show. It also features Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, Lara Flynn Boyle, Brian Doyle-Murray, Chris Farley, Ed O'Neill, Ione Skye, Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper in supporting roles.


Wayne's World was released in the United States on February 14, 1992 by Paramount Pictures. A critical and commercial success, it was the tenth-highest-grossing film of 1992 and remains the highest-grossing film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch. A sequel, titled Wayne's World 2 , was released the following year on December 10.


In Aurora, Illinois, rock music fans Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar host a public-access television show, Wayne's World, from Wayne's parents' basement; a broadcast of Wayne's World catches the attention of television producer Benjamin Kane. While out cruising with friends in Garth's car, the Mirthmobile, Wayne stops to admire a 1964 Fender Stratocaster in a shop window. They later go to a nightclub, where they avoid Wayne's troubled ex-girlfriend Stacy while Wayne falls for Cassandra Wong, vocalist and bassist of the band Crucial Taunt, and impresses her with his Cantonese.

Benjamin meets with Wayne and Garth and convinces them to sell him the rights to the show for $5,000. Later, Wayne returns to the music store and purchases the Stratocaster with the money. Benjamin attempts to steal Cassandra from Wayne by using his wealth and good looks, by distracting Wayne and Garth with all-access tickets to an Alice Cooper concert in Milwaukee while offering to produce a music video for Crucial Taunt. At the concert, Wayne and Garth make the acquaintance of a bodyguard to music producer Frankie Sharp, head of Sharp Records.

While filming the revamped Wayne's World under Benjamin's oversight, Wayne and Garth find it difficult to adjust to the professional studio environment. Their contract obliges them to give a promotional interview to their sponsor, Noah Vanderhoff, who owns a franchise of amusement arcades. After Wayne ridicules Vanderhoff on the show, he is fired, leaving Garth to host the show on his own. This infuriates Garth and jeopardizes their friendship. Jealous of the attention Benjamin is giving Cassandra, Wayne attempts to prevent her from participating in the Crucial Taunt music video shoot, but she breaks up with him for his distrust.

Wayne and Garth reconcile and hatch a plan to win Cassandra back by getting her a record deal, in which their plan is to ensure Frankie Sharp hears Crucial Taunt play. While Garth and their friends infiltrate a satellite station with the aid of Benjamin's assistant, Wayne goes to Cassandra's video shoot but embarrasses himself in an attempt to expose Benjamin's ulterior motive. Cassandra initially tells him to go home, but upon realizing that Benjamin is up to no good, she changes her mind and leaves for Aurora with Wayne, who apologizes to her.

The Wayne's World crew hacks into Sharp's satellite television and broadcast the Crucial Taunt performance from Wayne's basement, where Sharp and Benjamin converge. Unfortunately, Sharp declines to offer Crucial Taunt a record contract, resulting in Cassandra breaking up with Wayne permanently and departing with Benjamin for a tropical resort; Stacy revealing that she is pregnant with Wayne's child; and finally, an electrical fire destroying Wayne's house and killing Garth.

Dissatisfied with this ending, Wayne and Garth turn to the film's audience and halt proceedings; they restart the scene in which Benjamin is unmasked as "Old Man Withers" in a Scooby-Doo parody ending. Still unsatisfied with this ending, they restart again with a "mega happy ending", in which Cassandra successfully signs a record contract and begins a relationship with Wayne alongside Garth beginning a relationship with a waitress, while a reformed Benjamin learns that money and good looks don't necessarily bring happiness.



Wayne's World was green-lit by Paramount Pictures in 1991. It was the second film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, following The Blues Brothers in 1980. [4] Producer Lorne Michaels hired Penelope Spheeris to direct, who had directed several music documentaries. Spheeris said, "I had been just struggling as a female director in this business for many years. I was 45 years old when I got that job. I just kept hanging in there. And Wayne's World happened, and it sort of flipped my life around." [5]

Spheeris clashed with Myers during filming. An example was the "Bohemian Rhapsody" sing-along inside Garth's powder-blue, flame-accented 1976 AMC Pacer that was far more physically demanding than expected. [6] She told Entertainment Weekly that Myers was "emotionally needy and got more difficult as the shoot went along. You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' scene: 'I can't move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!'" She said she attempted to assuage Myers by having her daughter provide him snacks, and on one occasion he stormed off the set, upset that there was no margarine for his bagel. [7] Myers and Spheeris argued over the final cut of the film, causing Myers to prevent Spheeris from directing Wayne's World 2 . [8] [9]


The soundtrack album reached number one on the Billboard 200. The album was certified double-Platinum by the RIAA on July 16, 1997. [10]

The studio originally wanted to use a Guns N' Roses song for the head banging scene, but Myers demanded "Bohemian Rhapsody", even threatening to quit the production unless it was used. [11] [12] Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, had died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS a few months before the film's release. However, Mercury saw the head banging scene before his death, finding it hilarious and approved the song for the film's use. [13]

Gary Wright re-recorded "Dream Weaver" for the film, which is heard whenever Wayne looks at Cassandra. [14]

Tia Carrere sang her own vocals on the songs she performed in the film, as well as cover songs such as Sweet's "The Ballroom Blitz", which were included on the film's soundtrack album. [15]

Myers originally wanted Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out" in the film, but Cooper's manager Shep Gordon convinced him to use "Feed My Frankenstein" instead. It was Myers' first meeting with Gordon and it made such a strong, positive impression on him that they formed a friendship. Myers directed a 2014 documentary about Gordon, titled Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon . [11]


Box office

The film was a box office success, debuting at number one. [16] [17] The film's final domestic gross was $121,697,323, [18] making it the eighth-highest-grossing film of 1992 [19] and the highest-grossing of the 11 films based on Saturday Night Live skits.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 84% "Certified Fresh" rating based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 6.75/10, with the critical consensus stating, "An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters." [20] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [21] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale. [22]

Roger Ebert said in his review: "I walked into Wayne's World expecting a lot of dumb, vulgar comedy, and I got plenty, but I also found what I didn't expect: a genuinely amusing, sometimes even intelligent, undercurrent." [23] Gene Siskel ranked the film number eight on his list of the ten best movies of 1992. [24] Desson Howe wrote in The Washington Post that making a movie out of such a "teeny sketch" is "better than you'd expect", but criticized the finale as "an attempt to lampoon movie endings" "and a despair-driven inability to end the movie". [25]

Wayne's World AMC Pacer at Rusty's TV & Movie Car Museum in Jackson, Tennessee. Rusty-s TV and Movie Car Museum Jackson TN 020.jpg
Wayne's World AMC Pacer at Rusty's TV & Movie Car Museum in Jackson, Tennessee.

Filled with pop culture references, the sketches and the film started catchphrases such as "Schwing!" and "Schyea", as well as popularizing "That's what she said", "Party on!", and the use of "... Not!" after apparently affirmative sentences in order to state the contrary. [26]

The scene in which Wayne, Garth and friends lip-sync to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in an AMC Pacer is one of the most well-known scenes in the film. [27] The Pacer was produced by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1975 to 1980. [28] The car was purposely a second-hand Pacer painted baby blue with flames on the sides and non-matching wheels, which Wayne and Garth dubbed "The Mirthmobile". [29] [30] Due to its prominent appearance in Wayne's World, the "Bohemian Rhapsody" single reached #2 in the United States. [31]

The original car from the film was sold and appeared in a 2015 episode of Pawn Stars . [32] [33] The car was restored to running condition with the original movie props inside the car, but a functional stereo system was added, the Pacer was sold in 2016 for $37,400. [34] Because of "The Mirthmobile" role, the Pacer is arguably one of the two most famous AMC cars featured in film or TV, the other being "Dixie", the Jeep CJ-7 driven by Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazard . [35]


American Film Institute recognition:

See also

Related Research Articles

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