Roger Donaldson’s 1988 directorial credit is a film that cultivated and still supports a huge fan following. “Cocktail,” starring Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Shue and Bryan Brown, made everyone want to learn how to mix drinks and live the fast-paced life of a bartender.

“Cocktail”‘s success is something Donaldson’s very proud of. “In terms of audience reaction and longevity, it’s one of my most successful films,” he said. “I’ve had people who have told me how much they love the film. They can recite the whole script back to me, that’s how passionate they are about the film.”

Donaldson enjoyed working with the cast of “Cocktail,” and spoke very highly of Cruise. “I can’t talk highly enough about Cruise,” he said. “He gave it everything. He was a pleasure to work with.”

Cruise was a shoo-in for the role of Brian Flanagan due to his similarities to the character. “Tom is a bit like the character in that he’s incredibly ambitious, incredibly dedicated,” he said. This dedication can be seen in Cruise’s bartender training. He worked with flair bartender John J.B. Bandy to learn the ins and outs of flair bartending.

One reason why “Cocktail” has connected with so many, Donaldson said, has to do with the universal messages the film has. “[The film is] about finding something you love to do. It’s living life,” he said. The great soundtrack didn’t hurt, either. “All the elements came together to create a memorable film that, if you were a moviegoer in the ’80s, you really enjoyed.”

“Cocktail” comes to Blu-ray for the first time June 5.

By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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