Heathers is a 1988 black comedy-coming of age film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The film portrays four girls — three of whom are named Heather — in a clique at a fictional Ohio high school.
The film brought director Michael Lehmann and producer Denise Di Novi the 1990 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. Daniel Waters also gained recognition for his screenplay, which won a 1990 Edgar Award. The film was a U.S. box office failure, but went on to become a cult classic, with high rentals and sales business. In 2006, it was ranked #5 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Best High School Movies" and in 2008, it was ranked #412 onEmpire's list of "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time".
Daniel Waters wanted his screenplay to go to director Stanley Kubrick, not only out of profound admiration for Kubrick but also from a perception that "Kubrick was the only person that could get away with a three-hour film". (The cafeteria scene opening Heathers was written as an homage to the barracks scene opening Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket.) After a number of failed attempts to get the script to Kubrick made Waters realize the apparent futility of the enterprise, he decided to give the script to Michael Lehmann, who then took it on with Denise Di Novi. Many actors and actresses turned down the project because of its dark subject matter. Early choices for Veronica and J.D. were Jennifer Connelly, who turned down the role, and Brad Pitt. Pitt auditioned for the role of J.D. but the filmmakers rejected him because they thought he came across as "too nice" and therefore would not be credible. Winona Ryder, who was 16 at the time of filming and badly wanted the part, begged Waters to cast her. Eventually she was given the role with Christian Slater being signed shortly thereafter. Heather Graham, then 17, was cast as Heather McNamara, but her mother wouldn't allow her to do the film so Lisanne Falk was given the role instead. Principal photography took place from 17 February 1988 - 19 March 1988.
The film uses two versions of the song "Que Sera, Sera", the first by singer Syd Straw and another over the end credits by Sly and the Family Stone. On the film's DVD commentary, Di Novi mentions that the filmmakers wanted to use the original Doris Day version of the song, but Day would not lend her name to any project using profanity. Di Novi also notes that, when her father was a session musician for Day, he and the other musicians had to put money in a "swear jar" when they cursed.
The song "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It)" by the fictional band Big Fun was written and produced for the film by musician Don Dixon, and performed by the ad hoc group "Big Fun", which consisted of Dixon,Mitch Easter, Angie Carlson and Marti Jones. The song is included on Dixon's 1992 greatest hits album (If) I'm A Ham, Well You're A Sausage.
The film's electronic score was composed and performed by David Newman and a soundtrack CD was subsequently released.