‘Once in a lifetime’ SNL movie ‘Wayne’s World’ still partying on 30 years later

waynes world
Wayne's World / Paramount Pictures

When it comes to Wayne’s World, the heaps of other Saturday Night Live movies made through the years must bow down and plead, “We’re not worthy!” It’s a phenomenon director Penelope Spheeris didn’t see coming.

Like torn jeans and flannel, everything from the 90s turns up again from time to time in the culture cycle. And highly quotable lines from film and TV come and go, yet Wayne’s World has “denied” both fleeting trends and one-line wonders alike, spawning mimicable mannerisms and catchy, quirky lines, including “Party on (insert your friend’s name here). Party on (insert your name here).”

The big-screen debut of the basement-bound brothers, Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar (iconically played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, respectively) came 30 years ago this Valentine’s Day, with memorable posters proclaiming, “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl” for extremely anticipated Feb. 14, 1992 release.

The massive success of Wayne’s World movie, which made more than $180 million worldwide, still lives on today in quotes, Bohemian Rhapsody sing-a-longs, and of course, Halloween costumes.

And that is all a big surprise to Spheeris, as she recently told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I am absolutely astounded and amazed that it has survived these 30 years and is still in good favor. We had no idea when we made the movie that it would even be around for a week, and now here it is 30 years later,” she said. “It is indescribably gratifying. It was a magical combination of cast and crew and a magical moment. There is no other way to explain it.”

The sketch gained week-after-week and year-after-year momentum on SNL, with big-time stars dropping by the mock-basement to go through Top 10 lists and interviews with the duo. That followed to the theatre release as Rob Lowe, Heather Locklear, Robert Patrick, Alice Cooper, and Chris Farley played roles in the movie.

Timeless is a word that gets thrown around easily, but the movie truly still carries the lighthearted humor and slapstick nature that will always resonate with young audiences.

The movie’s success spawned plenty of other imitators, both from inside the SNL sketch world, including Coneheads, It’s Pat, Stuart Saves His Family, and more, which all failed to come even close to Wayne’s World. It still stands as the top-grossing movie from the SNL-verse, with The Blue’s Brothers coming in a distant second at just over $115 million worldwide.

“And I think (SNL creator Lorne Michaels) was, like me, surprised and appreciative of the audience reception. I remember him saying, ‘This only happens once in a lifetime.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, come on now. I can do it again.’ (Laughs.) But guess what? Only once in a lifetime. It really helped all of our careers.”

Could Wayne’s World follow in the line of years- (even decades-) later sequels spawning recently, like the Bill & Ted series and The Matrix?

Spheeris also declared to MovieWeb recently that she’d love to see “Wayne and Garth get old and have them still be as carefree and fun-loving as they were in the first movie” in a potential sequel.

Another big reason, as alluded to above, was the (re)introduction of Queen’s anthemic opus, Bohemian Rhapsody, which swaths of teenagers were hearing for the first time and singing along to. And, of course, buying the movie soundtrack on CD (another ’90s staple) for that song as well as others by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix.

Currently, Wayne’s World isn’t available to stream for free but is a buy and rent option on Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon.