Dazed and Confused (film)

Dazed and Confused

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Richard Linklater
Sean Daniel
James Jacks
Written by Richard Linklater
Starring See cast
Cinematography Lee Daniel
Edited by Sandra Adair
Distributed by Gramercy Pictures
Release dates
  • September 24, 1993 (1993-09-24)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6.9 million[2][3]
Box office $8.0 million

Dazed and Confused is a 1993 American coming-of-age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film features a large ensemble cast of actors who would later become stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Nicky Katt, and Rory Cochrane. The plot follows various groups of Texas teenagers during the last day of school in 1976.

The film grossed less than $8 million at the U.S. box office. In 2002, Quentin Tarantino listed it as the 10th best film of all time in a Sight and Sound poll.[4] It also ranked third on Entertainment Weekly magazine's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[5] The magazine also ranked it 10th on their "Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years" list.[6]

The title of the film is derived from the Led Zeppelin version of the song of the same name.[7] Linklater approached the surviving members of Led Zeppelin for permission to use their song "Rock and Roll" in the film, but, while Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones agreed, Robert Plant refused.[8]


It is May 28, 1976, the last day of school at Lee High School in the suburbs of Austin, Texas. The next year's group of seniors are preparing for the annual hazing of incoming freshmen. Randall "Pink" Floyd (Jason London), the school's star football player, is asked to sign a pledge promising not to take drugs during the summer or do anything that would "jeopardize the goal of a championship season". When classes end, the incoming freshman boys are hunted down by the seniors and paddled. The incoming freshman girls are also hazed; they are rounded up in the school parking lot by senior girls, covered in mustard, ketchup, flour and raw eggs, and forced to propose to senior boys.

Freshman Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) escapes the initial hazing with his best friend Carl Burnett (Esteban Powell), but is later cornered after a baseball game and violently paddled. Fred O'Bannion (Ben Affleck), a senior participating in the hazing tradition for a second year after failing to graduate, delights in punishing Mitch. Pink gives the injured Mitch a ride home and offers to take him cruising with friends that night. Plans for the evening are ruined when Kevin Pickford's (Shawn Andrews) parents discover he planned to host a keg party. Elsewhere, the intellectual trio of Cynthia Dunn (Marissa Ribisi), Tony Olson (Anthony Rapp) and Mike Newhouse (Adam Goldberg) decide to participate in the evening's activities. Pink and his friend David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), a man in his early 20s who still socializes with high school students, pick up Mitch and head for the Emporium, a pool hall frequented by teenagers.

As the evening progresses, students loiter around the Emporium, listen to rock music, cruise the neighborhood and stop at the hamburger drive-in. Mitch is introduced to sophomore Julie Simms (Catherine Avril Morris), with whom he shares a mutual attraction. While cruising again with Pink, Pickford, and Don Dawson (Sasha Jenson), Mitch drinks beer and smokes marijuana for the first time. After a game of mailbox baseball, a neighborhood resident brandishing a gun threatens to call the police. They barely escape after the resident fires at their car. After returning to the Emporium, Mitch runs into his middle school friends. They hatch a plan to get revenge on O'Bannion. The plan culminates with them dumping paint on O'Bannion, who leaves in a fit of rage.

After the Emporium closes, an impromptu keg party is planned in a field under a moonlight tower. Cynthia, Tony and Mike arrive at their first keg party, where Mike is threatened by tough guy, Clint Bruno (Nicky Katt). Tony runs into freshman Sabrina Davis (Christin Hinojosa), whom he met earlier during the hazing, and they begin hanging out together. Cynthia likes Wooderson and exchanges phone numbers with him. Mike, suffering from the humiliation of his confrontation with Clint, decides to make a stand, punches him, and gets tackled. The fight is broken up by Pink and Wooderson. Football player Benny O'Donnell (Cole Hauser) confronts Pink about his refusal to sign the pledge. Pink, the only player not to have signed, believes it violates his individuality and beliefs. Mitch leaves the keg party with Julie. They drive to a nearby hill overlooking town to make out. Tony gives Sabrina a ride home and they kiss good night.

As night turns to dawn, Pink, Wooderson, Don, Ron Slater (Rory Cochrane) and several other friends decide to smoke marijuana on the 50-yard line of the football field. The police arrive, so they ditch the drugs. Recognizing Pink, the police call Coach Conrad, his football coach. Conrad lectures Pink about hanging out with "losers" and insists that he sign the pledge. Pink says that he might play football, but he is not going to sign the pledge. Pink leaves with his friends to get tickets to an Aerosmith concert. Mitch arrives home after sunrise to find his mother has waited up for him. She decides against punishment but warns him about coming home late again. Mitch goes to his bedroom, puts on headphones and listens to "Slow Ride" by Foghat as Pink, Wooderson, Slater and Simone Kerr (Joey Lauren Adams) travel down a highway to purchase their tickets.


A selection of the film's cast. Clockwise: Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Cole Hauser, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, and Parker Posey.


Dazed and Confused was released on September 24, 1993 in 183 theaters, grossing $918,127 on its opening weekend. It went on to make $7.9 million in North America.[9]

The film received positive reviews from critics. It garnered a 94% approval rating from 51 critics  an average rating of 7.8 out of 10  on the review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, whose consensus reads: "Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life."[10] Metacritic provides a score of 78 out of 100 from 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[11]

Film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film three stars out of four, praising the film as "art crossed with anthropology" with a "painful underside".[12] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Dazed and Confused has an enjoyably playful spirit, one that amply compensates for its lack of structure".[13] Desson Howe, in his review for The Washington Post, wrote, "Dazed succeeds on its own terms and reflects American culture so well, it becomes part of it".[14] In her review for The Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten gave particular praise to Matthew McConaughey's performance: "He is a character we're all too familiar with in the movies but McConaughey nails this guy without a hint of condescension or whimsy, claiming this character for all time as his own".[15]

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gave the film four stars out of four, and praised Linklater as a "sly and formidable talent, bringing an anthropologist's eye to this spectacularly funny celebration of the rites of stupidity. His shitfaced American Graffiti is the ultimate party movie – loud, crude, socially irresponsible and totally irresistible".[16] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss wrote, "Linklater is surely no ham-fisted moralist, and his film has lots of attitude to shake a finger at. But it also has enough buoyant '70s music to shake anybody's tail feather, and a kind of easy jubilance of narrative and character".[17] Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "A" rating, and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Yet if Linklater captures the comic goofiness of the time, he also evokes its liberating spirit. The film finds its meaning in the subtle clash between the older, sadistic macho-jock ethos and the follow-your-impulse hedonism that was the lingering legacy of the '60s".[18]


Quentin Tarantino included it on his list of the 10 greatest films of all time in the 2002 Sight and Sound poll.[19] In 2003, Entertainment Weekly ranked the film #17 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films",[20] third on their list of the 50 Best High School Movies,[21] 10th on their "Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years" list,[22] and ranked it #6 on their "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.[23]

In October 2004, three of Linklater's former classmates from Huntsville High School, whose surnames are Wooderson, Slater, and Floyd, filed a defamation lawsuit against Linklater, claiming to be the basis for the similarly named characters on the film. The lawsuit was filed in New Mexico rather than Texas because New Mexico has a longer statute of limitations.[24] The suit was subsequently dismissed.[25]

In 2012, McConaughey reprised his role as Wooderson in the Butch Walker and The Black Widows music video "Synthesizers".[26] To celebrate the film's 20th anniversary in 2013, the film received the Star of Texas award from the Texas Film Hall of Fame. Linklater accepted the award after being introduced by Tarantino, who reiterated his appreciation of the film as his favorite of the 1990s. The event featured a reunion of several cast members including Joey Lauren Adams, Wiley Wiggins, Christin Hinojosa, Nicky Katt, Mona Lee, Catherine Avril Morris, Anthony Rapp, Marissa Ribisi, Michelle Burke Thomas, and Mark Vandermeulen. At the event, Linklater described his intent to create an inverse John Hughes film: "The drama is so low-key in [Dazed & Confused]. I don’t remember teenage being that dramatic. I remember just trying to go with the flow, socialize, fit in and be cool. The stakes were really low. To get Aerosmith tickets or not? That’s a big thing. It was really rare when the star-crossed lovers from the opposite side of the tracks and the girl gets pregnant and there’s a car crash and somebody dies. That didn’t really happen much. But riding around and trying to look for something to do with the music cranked up, now that happened a lot!"[27][28]

After Boyhood was released Linklater announced that his next film, Everybody Wants Some!!, would be a "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused.[29] The newer film takes place in a Texas college in 1980.[29]

The line "alright, alright, alright" became a catchphrase for Matthew McConaughey.[30]

In 2005, the American Film Institute nominated David Wooderson's quote "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I keep getting older, they stay the same age." from this film for AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes. [31]

Home video

MCA/Universal released Dazed and Confused on laserdisc in January 1994,[32] followed by a VHS release two months later.[33]

The film was released on HD DVD in 2006.[34] The Criterion Collection released a two-disc boxed-set edition of the film on June 6, 2006 in the U.S. and Canada. Features included an audio commentary by Richard Linklater, deleted scenes, the original trailer, the 50 minute "Making Dazed" documentary that aired on the American Movie Classics channel on September 18, 2005, on-set interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, cast auditions and footage from the ten-year anniversary celebration. Also included is a 72-page book featuring new essays by Kent Jones, Jim DeRogatis, and Chuck Klosterman as well as memories from the cast and crew, character profiles and a mini reproduction of the original film poster designed by Frank Kozik. Entertainment Weekly gave it an "A" rating and stated that it "grants this enduring cult classic the DVD treatment it deserves".[35]

Universal Studio released Dazed and Confused on Blu-ray in August 2011, in a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.[34]


The soundtrack for the film was released on September 28, 1993 by The Medicine Label. The songs "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan, "Hey Baby" by Ted Nugent, and "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith were also included in the film, but not on the commercial soundtracks. "The Alien Song (For Those Who Listen)" by Milla Jovovich was briefly performed by the character Michelle Burroughs, but was not included in the soundtrack either.

Dazed and Confused
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released September 28, 1993
Genre Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal, glam rock, Southern rock, funk
Length 56:56
Label Giant/Medicine
Dazed and Confused (1993)
No. TitleArtist Length
1. "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo"  Rick Derringer 3:44
2. "Slow Ride" (Single version)Foghat 3:58
3. "School's Out"  Alice Cooper 3:29
4. "Jim Dandy"  Black Oak Arkansas 2:42
5. "Tush"  ZZ Top 2:17
6. "Love Hurts"  Nazareth 3:53
7. "Stranglehold"  Ted Nugent 8:24
8. "Cherry Bomb"  The Runaways 2:19
9. "Fox on the Run"  Sweet 3:26
10. "Low Rider"  War 3:13
11. "Tuesday's Gone"  Lynyrd Skynyrd 7:32
12. "Highway Star"  Deep Purple 6:08
13. "Rock and Roll All Nite"  KISS 2:57
14. "Paranoid"  Black Sabbath 2:47
Total length:


In September 1993, St. Martin's Press published a 127-page, softcover book (ISBN 0-312-09466-3) inspired by Richard Linklater's screenplay. It was compiled by Linklater, Denise Montgomery, and others, and designed by Erik Josowitz. It was presented as a kind of yearbook, with character profiles, essays by characters, a time-line focusing on the years 1973 to 1977, and various 1970s pop culture charts and quizzes. It also featured dozens of black-and-white photos from the film.



    1. "Dazed and Confused". British Board of Film Classification. February 12, 1993. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
    2. "Dazed and Confused - The Numbers". thenumbers.com. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    3. "Dazed and Confused (1993)". thisdistractedglobe.com. August 8, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    4. "Sight & Sound | Top Ten Poll 2002 – How the directors and critics voted". BFI. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
    5. "50 Best High School Movies". Filmsite.org. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
    6. "The Comedy 25: The Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years | Movies". EW.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
    7. "Interview – Richard Linklater". Mindjack. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
    8. Led-Zeppelin.org. "Led Zeppelin Assorted Info".
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    11. "Dazed and Confused". Metacritic. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
    12. Ebert, Roger (September 24, 1993). "Dazed and Confused". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    13. Maslin, Janet (September 24, 1993). "Nervously Contemplating Life After High School". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    14. Howe, Desson (October 22, 1993). "Dazed and Confused". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    15. Baumgarten, Marjorie (September 24, 1993). "Dazed and Confused". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    16. Peter Travers (December 8, 2000). "Dazed and Confused". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    17. Corliss, Richard (October 11, 1993). "A Toke of Our Esteem". Time. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    18. Gleiberman, Owen (September 24, 1994). "Dazed and Confused". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
    19. Tarantino, Quentin. "Sight and Sound Top Ten Poll 2002". Sight and Sound. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
    20. "The Top 50 Cult Films". Entertainment Weekly. May 23, 2003.
    21. "50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
    22. "The Comedy 25: The Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years". Entertainment Weekly. August 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
    23. "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list". Entertainment Weekly. September 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
    24. Carlson, Peter (2004-12-08). "Bummer, Man Portrayed as Potheads In 'Dazed,' Trio Has A New Joint Venture: Suing the Filmmaker". The Washington Post. washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
    25. Linklater, Richard. Director's commentary, Dazed and Confused, Criterion Collection DVD.
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    30. "How Matthew McConaughey Came Up With 'Alright, Alright, Alright'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-12-02. Matthew McConaughey might as well trademark "alright, alright, alright," the catchphrase so closely associated with him ...
    31. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-12.
    32. "Expectations High". Billboard. January 15, 1994. Retrieved 2014-04-30. MCA/Universal bows the 1976 high school tale Dazed and Confused...
    33. "Dazed and Confused VHS". familyvideo.com. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
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