For Keeps (film)

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For Keeps
For keeps poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Produced by Jerry Belson
Walter Coblenz
Written by Denise DeClue
Tim Kazurinsky
Starring Molly Ringwald
Randall Batinkoff
Kenneth Mars
Miriam Flynn
Conchata Ferrell
John Zarchen
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography James Crabe
Edited by John G. Avildsen
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s)
  • January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15)
Running time 98 min
Country United States
Language English
Box office $17,514,554 (USA)

For Keeps is a 1988 film starring Molly Ringwald and Randall Batinkoff as Darcy and Stan, two high school seniors in love. Complications ensue when Darcy becomes pregnant just before graduation and decides to keep her baby. This movie is noted for being Ringwald's final "teen" movie, and is cited as one of her most mature performances, particularly in a scene where Darcy is suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of her child.


In Kenosha, Wisconsin, Darcy, editor at her high school paper, and her long-term boyfriend Stan are in their final year of high school and already have been accepted at good colleges; before Darcy goes to college to study journalism, she'll go on a trip to Paris with her mother for her graduation present, while Stan will go to Caltech to study architecture. With the help of Darcy's best friend Lila (Sharon Brown), they spend a weekend together, where they sleep together and Darcy becomes pregnant. They announce the news at Thanksgiving, and neither Darcy's mother Donna (Flynn), who was abandoned by her husband and brought up Darcy alone, nor Stan's Catholic parents (Mars and Ferrell) are very supportive. Respectively, they urge the young couple to have an abortion or give up the baby for adoption. Darcy plans to have the abortion, but doesn't go through with it, to Stan's relief.

At Christmas, the kids announce their plans to keep the baby, causing a break between them and their parents. They rent a decrepit apartment and get married to the cheers of their friends. On the advice of her guidance counselor, Darcy drops out of high school but works toward her GED. Prom is interrupted by Darcy's water breaking; although baby Thea is healthy, Darcy suffers from post-partum depression, unable to even hold her daughter, and Stan struggles to pay the bills on a part-time job salary. Only when Darcy hears an intruder (who turns out to be Stan's father) and picks up her baby protectively, does she break from her depression.

Without telling Darcy, Stan sacrifices his Caltech scholarship because there is no married housing. Although Stan takes a second, dead-end job, the bills pile up and the couple finally moves in with Donna, which alienates Stan and Darcy, and causes Stan to start drinking heavily. Local vixen Michaela (Michelle Downey) informs Darcy of the scholarship deception so she enlists Stan's best friend Chris (John Zarchen) in a plan to ensure he take the scholarship and go to college after all. Unfortunately, the plan entails throwing out Stan and annulling the marriage. Stan reconciles with his parents, but is heartbroken over the split with Darcy.

At Darcy's night school graduation, Stan arrives to inform Darcy he has applied for scholarships to University of Wisconsin–Madison for them both. Darcy lets slip her role in the Caltech deception with Chris and Stan chases after her as she drives away. Darcy realizes her mother's own insecurities have influenced her too much and she returns to the empty school looking for Stan. They reconcile, remarking Thea will have a very early curfew and will not be allowed to date until she turns 18.


The film is set in Kenosha, Wisconsin and was partially filmed there. Primary location work took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The film had a number of titles while in production, possibilities including "Maybe, Baby" (by which it is known in some overseas territories) and "For Keeps?", before settling on the final question mark-less version.

The promising career of John Zarchen, thought to be on the verge of breakout in the supporting role of Stan's best friend, Chris, literally hit a wall during the shooting, as Zarchen suffered a life-threatening head injury while driving in Hollywood, allegedly under the influence of alcohol. He survived a brief period of being comatose, and actually returned to the film, although director John Avildsen, due to his medical absence and disgusted with the actor's disregard for the opportunity and the production, greatly cut down his role. This movie also marks the film debut of Pauly Shore, who appears in a small role as another friend of Stan.

The musical score features a lullaby-like version of the song "Be My Baby", sung by composer Ellie Greenwich.

Actor Adam Silbar was originally cast in the lead role of Stan but, for unknown reasons, the role was later re-cast with Randall Batinkoff just weeks before the first day of production. Author and casting director Paul G. Bens, Jr., then an actor, was one of the two finalists to replace Silbar. The role ultimately went to Batinkoff.


The film earned a disappointing $14.7 million and met with generally negative reviews. Rotten's aggregate score gave the film a 22% rotten rating, although user reviews were generally much higher. Typical critic comments included "feature-length after-school-special nothingness" and "the start of Ringwald's slide"[1] Roger Ebert was a notable exception, giving the film three stars and while acknowledging the film "is probably a good deal more pleasant than the average American teenage girl could look forward to" and the ending "contrived", he found it has a "feel for plausible dialogue and scenes that reveal personalities" particularly in scenes involving the young passion of Ringwald and Batinkoff.[2]


  1. ^ Rotten
  2. ^ Roger

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