The Sure Thing (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Sure Thing (1985)



Critic Consensus: Though its final outcome is predictable, The Sure Thing is a charming, smartly written, and mature teen comedy featuring a breakout role for John Cusack.

The Sure Thing Photos

Movie Info

Director Rob Reiner's The Sure Thing is essentially It Happened One Night for the 1980s, but its lack of surprise in no way impedes its entertainment value. John Cusack plays Walter "Gib" Gibson, a self-involved college freshman who makes plans to head to California, there to touch base (and a few other things) with a "sure thing" played by Nicollette Sheridan. Likewise planning a westward journey is coed Alison Bradbury (Daphne Zuniga), a control freak who has a wealthy, stuffy fiancé over there. Gib and Alison despise one another on sight -- so naturally, they are compelled to travel to California together. The fact that everyone in the audience knows precisely how this one will end up is inconsequential; Cusack and Zuniga deliver such engaging performances that we're pulling for them to wise up and discover one another from the very first scene. One of the best bits: the mismatched couple being bombarded with an ear-piercing rendition of "The Age of Aquarius" by their dippy traveling companions. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


John Cusack
as Walter "Gib" Gibson
Daphne Zuniga
as Alison Bradbury
Lisa Jane Persky
as Mary Ann Webster
Viveca Lindfors
as Prof. Taub
Nicollette Sheridan
as The Sure Thing
Tim Robbins
as Gary Cooper
Fran Ryan
as Louise
Chris Rydell
as Charlie
Larry Hankin
as Trucker
Julie Ow
as Girl in Sarong
Marcie Reibel
as Girl at Party
Kristal Richards
as Girl in the Photo
Noelle Williams
as Katherine
Jimmy Baron
as Guy at Frat Party
Steve Pink
as Football Player
Marty Layton
as Frat Guy
View All

Critic Reviews for The Sure Thing

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (11)

Reiner displays a deft touch in balancing the real-life world of today's college students with the fairy tale quality of the script by Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts.

October 25, 2018 | Full Review…

That's the problem with "The Sure Thing." All the good lines are given to Cusack -- he's always "on," narrating his own life in the revved-up spiel of a sports announcer.

January 3, 2018 | Full Review…

The Sure Thing succeeds most in identifying the self-effacing charm that would become Cusack's stock-in-trade as a young romantic lead.

March 23, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

[A] hysterically oversold mix of comic cliches from the 30s and the 80s.

November 6, 2009 | Full Review…

This is a likeable film that follows all of the necessary steps to engage an audience. It may not be a sure thing, but it's at least a pretty good bet.

June 9, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Realization may not be earth shattering, but in an era of fast food and faster sex, return to the traditional is downright refreshing.

October 18, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sure Thing


John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga play university students who take a whole movie to realize they are meant for each other. The movie-going public are aware of it from the moment we see them, but these two think they despise each other. A fun 90 minutes!

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Another film that shows you that 1985 was the best year of the 80s. This movie shows you how John Cusacks character, Gib grows up, and decides that why hook up with a sure thing when the real thing was there all along. This movie is an 80s classic! I would also recommend this movie to people who want to laugh as well. :) It's a classic movie! :) I love it :) :) :) :) :) :)

Cassie Hill
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer


Mamma mia John Cusack was so hot in this movie! The dialogue was really snappy and I like how the ending was resolved only at the very, very last minute - screwballian, in a way. Rob Reiner was definitely in his prime in the 80s.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

The Sure Thing Quotes

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