Review: Spring Break (1983) Blu Ray Release from Mill Creek (2016)


Ahh, 1983, the year of Return of the Jedi and to me, nothing else mattered. I was too young to see a movie like Spring Break and did not have a desire to see it. A nerdy third-grader didn’t have much interest in a college spring break movie other than being curious about seeing bare breasts but back then PG movies had bare breasts so nothing else was new, just gratuitous.


Years later when the movie was being shown late night on Cinemax I still didn’t seem to care. I was more interested and related to John Hughes and Savage Steve Holland films because of their ability to charm us with character and humor without feeling derivative. Spring Break has one huge advantage: the title of the movie. Nobody else can claim that title and over the years it has become a cult classic.


I have never seen it. I have had no desire to see it.


I’d rather watch a teen camping movie than a movie about spring break in Ft. Lauderdale,Florida. It wasn’t anything I ever wanted to do even when I was in college. I spent my college spring breaks sleeping because most everyone else went back to see their families. I would watch MTV during their spring break specials and the most I would see is an episode of Remote Control or Singled Out was broadcast from the beach; entertaining on TV but realistically looked like a crowded sunburn money-drained nightmare if I were actually there.

The movie, Spring Break, is about making the best of a bad situation. It’s also about whatI think to be an inspiration for the Beastie Boys to write “Fight For Your Right (to Party)”.It begins simply enough where two homebody college boys (remember that in 1983 the US legal drinking age was 18) arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to experience everything they can during spring break. It’s not really said “what” but it’s just implied that they’re in Florida to party as hard as the rest of the spring breakers. The excitement soon turns to awkwardness when they discover their room is double booked and they need to share the room with two dim-witted sexually charged Jersey-boys. They decide, under the circumstances, that it would be better to co-inhabit than either party thrown to the streets.

Every cliché is thrown into the series of events that one would expect from a movie called Spring Break. From excessive drinking to poolside belly-flop competitions to wet t-shirt (both men and women) contests to mini-bikini judging to foxy-boxing to barroom brawls to casual sex this movie almost has it all. The debauchery isn’t as raunchy or exploitive as I would’ve thought but it is the type of movie your parents would be afraid of their own children seeing or actually participating in. It’s not as raunchy as Porky’s or as inappropriate as Bachelor Party but Spring Break is more akin to a naughty One Crazy Summer without the wall-to-wall charm.

Before the days of reality TV or a third-person non-narrative, Spring Break follows all the beats and devices of an 80’s comedy. As the two young men are getting away from their boring humdrum reality to experience the uninhibited hedonism of Ft. Lauderdale during spring break, I expected one of two subplots to happen: teens get caught in a drug cartel mix-up (mistaken identity) or a real estate dispute where the partiers rally to save Ft. Lauderdale.

Can you guess which on actually happened or did they both happen? You can watch the movie yourself to find out, whichever it is or isn’t doesn’t really matter because it all felt like a screenwriting 101 device to make the movie 90 minutes and reliably predictable. If I were to ask too many legitimate real world questions about the events in this movie kinda misses why it is what it is and why one should watch without judgment. It’s the movie I would be playing in the background of a house party.

It’s not a terrible film but it does lack a bit of magic or sparkle that other films in its company have done much better but in its defense Spring Break isn’t the worst I’ve seen. It’s a professional production meaning the cinematography looks good, nothing is out of focus and all the lighting properly staged. I’m betting that Spring Break was hoping to cash in on similar teen/collage movies. It missed a huge opportunity to showcase the landscape of Ft. Lauderdale; sure, it would’ve changed the tone of the movie if the cinematography focused more on the global scenery but it wouldn’t of hurt to showcase the other natural beauty that surrounded them.

Out of all the actors I didn’t recognize I was pleasantly surprised to see one that I did recognize: Jayne Modean. She hasn’t done very much in respect to an acting career but I find her most memorable in House II: The Second Story (1987). All right, ‘most memorable’ to me because I was totally crushing on her back then. She brings a real woman weight to the movie and even though she’s written as the love interest they cast her perfectly as she does so much more with subtle honesty that I’d love to see a tandem/alternate/pseudo-sequel Spring Break movie from her perspective. The quality of the transfer looks pretty grainy and spots of the film have pits. It’s not something I’d expect a 4K digital transfer for so it looks like to me they took the DVD version and repackaged it for Blu-ray. There are no extra features, not even a trailer, and no subtitle options or CC support. As someone with functional hearing loss I am dismayed when a movie on DVD or Blu-ray doesn’t have subtitles or closed-captioning. I’ve been an advocate for the hearing impaired for decades and I’m very sensitive to the options or lack thereof for the people who rely on a time-tested technology that aide in entertainment for everyone.


The transfer looks to be DVD quality at its original widescreen aspect ratio. If you already have a copy of this movie on a digital format then I’d probably skip the double-dip BUT this copy I reviewed is a 4-movie Blu-ray collection “Sun, Sand, & Sweat”. Included titles are Private Resort (1985), Hardbodies (1984), and Perfect (1985). As a collection it’s a great grouping of cheesy mindless titillation.

Spring Break (1983)
Rated R, distributed by Mill Creek. “Sun, Sand, & Sweat” 4-Movie Collection Blu-ray (2016). Columbia Pictures.

Purchase Links

Sun, Sand and Sweat 4 Movie Set Blu-ray