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Permanent Record is a 1988 American drama film starring Pamela Gidley, Michelle Meyrink, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Rubin, and Alan Boyce. It was filmed on location in Portland, Oregon and Yaquina Head near Newport on the Oregon Coast. The film primarily deals with the profound effect of suicide, and how friends and family work their way through the grief.

Permanent Record
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarisa Silver
Produced byFrank Mancuso, Jr.
Written byJarre Fees
Larry Ketron
Alice Liddle
StarringPamela Gidley
Michelle Meyrink
Keanu Reeves
Jennifer Rubin
Music byJoe Strummer
CinematographyFrederick Elmes
Edited byRobert Brown
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • April 22, 1988 (1988-04-22)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million
Box office$1 million



David Sinclair (Alan Boyce) seems to have everything. He is smart, talented, funny, and popular. He is best friends with Chris Townsend (Keanu Reeves), a quirky outsider. He seems to have it all together, yet as his personal academic expectations and those of his parents become overwhelming, he seemingly is keeping emotional problems a secret to himself.

At a party with his school friends along the coast, he takes a walk to the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Chris, playful as ever, decides to sneak up on his friend, but when he emerges from behind a rock, David is not there. He has fallen to his death. Originally assumed to be a horrible accident, the situation changes when Chris receives a suicide note in the mail. Chris and David's girlfriend, Lauren (Jennifer Rubin), want to hold some type of memorial, but a reluctant school decides against it, leaving the kids to memorialize their friend in their own way.



Permanent Record received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. The film currently holds a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 14 reviews.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film as one of the best 1988 had to offer, stating all the performances were appropriate to the material, whilst also praising Silver for finding authentic ways to portray emotions.[1]

Variety Reviews applauded Reeves' performance in the latter half of the film, citing Boyce's character's suicide as the primary reason, although also criticizing the female characters in the film.[2]

Rob Gonsalves of criticized the film, stating it was nothing more than a 'TV-Movie drama film,' whilst also criticizing the climax of the story. Although he also praised the performance of Keanu Reeves.[3][4]


The musical score for Permanent Record was composed by Joe Strummer, former member of the punk rock band The Clash. A soundtrack album was released in 1988 and featured five songs by Joe Strummer and the Latino Rockabilly War with Keanu Reeves guest starring on rhythm guitar for the album's opening track, as well as individual tracks by Lou Reed, The Stranglers, BoDeans, The Godfathers, and J. D. Souther.[5]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording artist(s)Length
1."Trash City"Joe StrummerJoe Strummer, The Latino Rockabilly War & Keanu Reeves4:12
2."Baby the Trans"Joe StrummerJoe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War2:19
3."Nefertiti"Joe StrummerJoe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War2:11
4."Nothin' Bout Nothin'"Joe StrummerJoe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War2:31
5."Theme From Permanent Record - Instrumental Score"Joe StrummerJoe Strummer3:20
6."'Cause I Said So"The GodfathersThe Godfathers2:46
7."Waiting on Love"Kurt Neumann, Sam LlanasBoDeans3:52
8."Wishing on Another Lucky Star"J. D. SoutherJ. D. Souther3:45
9."All Day and All of the Night"Dave Davies, Ray DaviesThe Stranglers2:30
10."Something Happened"Lou ReedLou Reed4:00


  1. ^ "Permanent Record :: :: Reviews". 1988-04-22. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  2. ^ "Variety Reviews - Permanent Record - Film Reviews - - Review by Variety Staff". 1987-12-31. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  3. ^ "Movie Review - Permanent Record". eFilmCritic. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  4. ^ "Permanent Record - Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  5. ^ "Various – Permanent Record - Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Discogs. Zink Media, Inc. Retrieved March 1, 2014.

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