Where the Boys Are

Where the Boys Are Information

Where the Boys Are (1960) is an American coming-of-age comedy film, written by George Wells based on the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout, about four Midwestern college co-eds who spend spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The title song "Where the Boys Are" was sung by Connie Francis, who also co-starred in a supporting role. The film was aimed at the teen market, featuring sun, sand and romance. Released in the wintertime, it inspired thousands of additional American college students to head to Fort Lauderdale for their annual spring break.

Where the Boys Are was one of the first teen films to explore adolescent sexuality and the changing sexual morals and attitudes among American college youth. It won Laurel awards for Best Comedy of the Year and Best Comedy Actress (Paula Prentiss).


The main focus of Where the Boys Are is the "coming of age" of four girl students at a Midwestern university during spring vacation. As the film opens, Merritt Andrews, the smart and assertive leader of the quartet, expresses the opinion in class that premarital sex might be something young women should experience. Her speech eventually inspires the insecure Melanie Tolman to lose her virginity soon after the young women arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tuggle Carpenter, on the other hand, seeks to be a "baby-making machine," lacking only the man to join her in marriage. Angie rounds out the group as a girl who is clueless when it comes to romance.

The girls find their beliefs challenged throughout the film. Merritt, a freshman, meets the suave rich-boy Ivy Leaguer Ryder Smith, a senior at Brown, and realizes she's not ready for sex. Melanie discovers that Frank, a boy from Yale who she thought loved her was only using her for sex. Tuggle quickly fixes her attention on the goofy "TV" Thompson, a junior at Michigan State, but becomes disillusioned when he becomes enamored of the older woman Lola Fandango, who works as a "mermaid" swimmer/dancer in a local bar. Angie stumbles into love with the eccentric jazz musician Basil.

Merritt, Tuggle, and Angie's post-adolescent relationship angst quickly evaporates when they discover Melanie is in distress after going to meet her boy from Yale at a motel. Another of the "Yalies" arrived at the motel room instead and then raped her, and she ends up walking into the nearby road looking distraught, her dress torn. Just as her friends arrive, she is hit by a car and ends up in the hospital.

The friends realize the potentially serious consequences of their actions and resolve to act in a more responsible, mature manner. The film ends on a melancholy note, with Melanie recovering in the hospital while Merritt looks after her, and with Merritt's promises to Ryder to continue a long-distance relationship. He then offers to drive them back to their college.


  • Dolores Hart as Merritt Andrews
  • Paula Prentiss as Tuggle Carpenter
  • Yvette Mimieux as Melanie Tolman
  • Connie Francis as Angie
  • George Hamilton as Ryder Smith
  • Jim Hutton as TV Thompson
  • Rory Harrity as Frank
  • Frank Gorshin as Basil
  • Chill Wills as Police Captain
  • Barbara Nichols as Lola Fandango


The kind of cool modern jazz (or west coast jazz) popularized by such acts as Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, and Chico Hamilton, then in the vanguard of the college music market, features in a number of scenes with Basil. Called "dialectic jazz" in the film, the original compositions were by Pete Rugolo.

MGM had bolstered the film's success potential by giving a large role to Connie Francis, the top American female recording star and a member of the MGM Records roster. Francis had solicited the services of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who had written hit songs for her, to write original material for her to perform on the film's soundtrack including a "Where the Boys Are" title song. Sedaka and Greenfield wrote two potential title songs for the film, but producer Joe Pasternak passed over the song Francis and the songwriting duo preferred in favor of a lush '50s style movie theme. Francis recorded the song on 18 October 1960 in a New York City recording session with Stan Applebaum arranging and conducting.

Although it only peaked at # 4 in the US, the theme song of "Where the Boys are" became Connie Francis's signature tune, followed by several cover versions.

See Where the Boys Are (Connie Francis song) for more information

Besides the theme song, Francis sang another Sedaka-Greenfield composition: "Turn on the Sunshine", in the film.

The film's soundtrack also features "Have You Met Miss Fandango". The song was sung by co-star Barbara Nichols and featured music by Victor Young and lyrics by Stella Unger.

MGM did not release a soundtrack album for Where the Boys Are.


American humanities professor Camille Paglia has praised Where the Boys Are for its accurate depiction of courtship and sexuality, illustrating once-common wisdom that she contends has been obscured by second-wave feminism:

The theatrics of public rage over date rape are [feminists'] way of restoring the old sexual rules that were shattered by my generation. Because nothing about the sexes has really changed. The comic film Where the Boys Are (1960), the ultimate expression of ?50s man-chasing, still speaks directly to our time. It shows smart, lively women skillfully anticipating and fending off the dozens of strategies with which horny men try to get them into bed. The agonizing date rape subplot and climax are brilliantly done. The victim, Yvette Mimieux, makes mistake after mistake, obvious to the other girls. She allows herself to be lured away from her girlfriends and into isolation with boys whose character and intentions she misreads. Where the Boys Are tells the truth. It shows courtship as a dangerous game in which the signals are not verbal but subliminal.

1984 film

Where the Boys Are '84, was released in 1984 by TriStar Pictures. While it bears the distinction of being the first film released by TriStar, the film was a critical and commercial failure. Although it was touted as a remake, Roger Ebert reported that "It isn't a sequel and isn't a remake and isn't, in fact, much of anything."

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