Cocktail is a 1988 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Roger Donaldson and written by Heywood Gould, whose screenplay was based on his book of the same name. The film tells the story of a young New York City business student, Brian Flanagan, who takes up bartending in order to make ends meet. The film stars Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, and Elisabeth Shue.


Brian Flanagan, having just finished his stint in the Army, heads back to New York City and meets his Uncle Pat at his bar. He talks about making a million dollars. Brian goes to many interviews but is laughed out of all the corporate jobs because he lacks a degree. Brian gets a part-time job as a bartender at night while studying for a business degree by day. Over time, he learns the tricks of the trade, including flairing, from his mentor, Doug Coughlin. His advice usually begins with "Coughlin's Law." Brian quits college, maintaining his personal aspirations, but Doug is wary of the two starting their own bar together. Doug intends to call his bar "Cocktails & Dreams."