Empire Records (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Empire Records1995

Empire Records (1995)



Critic Consensus: Despite a terrific soundtrack and a strong early performance from Renee Zellweger, Empire Records is mostly a silly and predictable teen dramedy.

Empire Records Photos

Movie Info

A funky little record shop provides the setting for this youthful comedy that centers on the workers there as they try to help poor Joe Anthony LaPaglia), the manager who really wants to buy the place, recoup his losses after his well-meaning, but dim-bulbed employee Lucas (Rory Cochrane ) steals his savings and loses it all in Atlantic City while trying to increase it twofold at the gaming tables. If they cannot come up with the loot, the mega-chain Music City will buy it.

Watch it now


Liv Tyler
as Corey
Ben Bode
as Mitchell
Gary Bolen
as Croupier
Kimber Monroe
as Woman at craps table
Tony Zaar
as High Roller
Patt Noday
as Reporter
Kessia Randall
as Autograph Girl
Michele Seidman
as Cop No. 1
Diana Taylor
as Cop No. 2
Bernard Granger
as Cop No. 3
Michael Harding
as Cop No. 4
Oderus Urungus
as Lead Singer
Kawan Rojanatavorn
as Flower Delivery Guy
Corey Joshua Taylor
as Roulette Table Man
Melissa Caulfield
as Ballet Dancer
Lara Travis
as Veronica
Rico Fleming
as Couch Kid No. 1
Brandon Crawford
as Couch Kid No. 2
Elizabeth Grapentien
as `Say No More' Woman
Kelley Carruth
as Girl on Couch
Mark Menchhofer
as Clapton Customer
Anthony Hemingway
as Boom Box Kid
Paizhe Pressley
as Girl No. 1
Joanna Canton
as Girl No. 2
Lee Etta Sutton
as Button Customer
Craig Edwards
as Male Rex Manning Fan
Craig Alan Edwards
as Male Rex Manning Fan
Jesse Bechtel
as Customer No. 1
Karen Brigman
as Customer No. 2
David Myers Gray
as Customer No. 3
Bob Sayer
as Customer No. 4
David Lenthall
as Meg Ryan Customer
Andrea Powell
as Mariah Carey Customer
View All

News & Interviews for Empire Records

Critic Reviews for Empire Records

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (11)

The biggest audience laugh at a recent showing came when a guy deadpanned, "This movie speaks for our generation." The sun can't set too soon on this Empire.

March 28, 2019 | Full Review…

If Clerks were written by TV hacks, it might feel something like this.

March 28, 2019 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

It was never on the cards that Allan Moyle, the director of Pump Up the Volume, would deliver an authentic study of modern youth with his new film Empire Records. But the picture is barely even set on this planet, let alone in this era.

March 28, 2019

A lousy comic drama about the efforts of some independent record store employees to maintain the integrity of their business.

March 28, 2019 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

The movie is too blatant a throwback to crass '80s teen fodder to really work.

March 28, 2019 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

It's high on charm and low on quality; the writing is pedestrian at best, the characters are paper-thin, and director Allan Moyle lets the music do the heavy lifting.

May 28, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Empire Records

Love this movie. It's definitely one for those who were around in this decade, though. I don't think teens today would necessarily love it. It's a bit silly, sure, but great soundtrack, great cast. Rex Manning is hilarious. Best role for Renee Zellweger and Liv Tyler. And very young Brandon Sexton. Wish I could have worked in such a great store back in the day!

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Empire Records is a great comedy. The story is quite simple, yet kit works. This film is fun from start to finish. This is a comedy that stands out, and is still a film worth seeing again and again. The cast do a great joke, and their characters are likeable. Empire Records is one of the best Teen comedies that I've seen. There are some very good comedic elements that make this comedy stand out among others in the genre. I felt that this film was underrated, and it didn't deserve all the negative reviews it has received. This is a classic film, one that remains relevant over a decade after its release. The cast is wonderful, and though flawed Empire Records works well enough and is much better than most teen comedy flicks of today. This is a fun film to watch, one that is well crafted and with a cast of talented actors, it really makes this one a stand out film. I thought that this film was very entertaining from start to finish. Empire Records deserves much more praise than it received. This film proves once again that mainstream critics are too quick to judge. This film is good, with gags, a good story and really stands out. If you love a smart teen comedy, Empire Records is the one. There's some stand out moments in this film, though far from the teen comedies of the 80's, Empire Records is still a film worth seeing. Very enjoyable and original, this film is much better than most of teen comedies of today. A much underrated gem, Empire Records is great entertainment despite its flaws.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


"Damn the Man! Save the Empire!" The employees of an independent music store learn about each other as they try anything to stop the store being absorbed by a large chain.

The theme of Empire Records is the struggle of man against the greed of the corporate machine. Empire Records is an independent music store that is very lax with its employees, offers many different genres of music, and in general offers a very artistic environment for its customers. The owners of Empire wish to sell out and make Empire into a chain store. Joe, played by Anthony Lapaglia, is the store manager who takes an employee named Lucas, played by Rory Cochrane, under his wing. Together with the other misfits that work at Empire, they try to figure out a plan to save Empire from turning into a dreaded Music Town while dealing with their own personal problems on one very eventful day at the store. Other important issues that are addressed in this film include depression, Debra (played by Robin Tunney) cuts all of her hair off and tries to slit her wrist, drug addiction, Corey (played by Liv Tyler) is the perfect student who occasionally takes speed to help her stay awake to study, and risky sexual behavior, Gina (played by Renee Zellweger) thinks she will feel better about herself and find love by sleeping around. Two techniques used in this movie to demonstrate the theme were sound and lighting. The soundtrack of the film is very diverse and alternative which can be compared to the environment of Empire Records. Empire is not your typical music store and the music they play there is not always the most well known. The lighting of Empire can be considered dim and a little hazy at times, which compared to the harsh fluorescent lighting found at a chain store, gives Empire Records an even more unique feel.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Empire Records Quotes

News & Features