Movie review by
Jenny Doughty, Common Sense Media
Cocktail Movie Poster Image
Traditional values trump glitz. Not for kids.
  • R
  • 1988
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Alcohol consumption is excessive and done with little consequence. Education is deemed important. However, classes and teachers are shown as boring and irrelevant. The hero eventually chooses love over money.


Barroom brawls and a suicide.


Simulated sex with two different women, with little nudity.


Very strong language,


Brands of alcoholic drinks are shown but not referred to by brand name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The movie's plot revolves around alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that sex and alcohol consumption play a large part in this movie; the R rating is appropriate. The film features simulated sex with two different women, with little nudity. There are a couple of fistfights, and the aftermath of a suicide is shown. Excessive drinking is integral to the movie's plot and yet there are no particular consequences beyond a hangover.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byNunyaBusiness8 December 26, 2018

Ages 14 and up

This movie is not that inappropriate. There is a fistfight, and a suicide is shown, but other than that there is no other hurtful scenes. There is not even alot... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byjazzyjammrz April 9, 2008

Not an 'R'

I would rate this movie a PG-13. The language isn't THAT horrible. The violence is brief compared to other movies out today. Wow a fistfight. Woopee.... Continue reading

What's the story?

Charismatic Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) trains ambitious Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) to become a flamboyantly successful New York bartender. Their flashy drink-mixing antics gain them work in a fashionable club, but they fight over a woman and Brian leaves to work in Jamaica, where he meets and falls in love with struggling artist-and-waitress Jordan Mooney. Greed wins out and Brian winds up shacking up with a rich fashion exec instead. Wracked with guilt, he seeks out Jordan only to find her pregnant with his child, secretly rich, and unwilling to take him back. With some tragic events that follow, Brian ultimately realizes what is truly valuable in life.

Is it any good?

COCKTAIL is essentially as 1980s shallow as the soundtrack music. There are some amusing one-liners, mostly delivered by Doug attempting to impart wisdom to his protégé through Coughlin's laws of bartending. The acrobatic drink-mixing scenes are great fun, but treat the consumption of alcohol superficially. Parents might want to address this issue with their teens while viewing the film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Brian learns from the suicide of his best friend and mentor. How does Doug's death inspire him to work hard to attain his dream? Families may also want to discuss the role of alcohol in this film. How is it glamorized? Is there an overall good message to the film?

Movie details

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