Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) is concerned that his son Jason (Keith Gordon) is unsure whether to go to college, so the uneducated self-made millionaire encourages him by signing up as a student as well. As Jason tries to establish himself among his peers and make the diving team, Thornton falls for a pretty professor (Sally Kellerman) and gets others do his schoolwork for him. When the suspicious dean (Paxton Whitehead) finds out, Thornton needs to show he can get by on his own.
College student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns home after his father has a stroke. When he discovers a severed ear in an abandoned field, Beaumont teams up with detective’s daughter Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) to solve the mystery. They believe beautiful lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) may be connected with the case, and Beaumont finds himself becoming drawn into her dark, twisted world, where he encounters sexually depraved psychopath Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).
FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (William L. Petersen) is called out of early retirement to assist on a serial murder case involving a killer known as the “Tooth Fairy” (Tom Noonan). Graham enlists the help of imprisoned serial killer — and cannibal — Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox), who is the reason Graham took early retirement. Soon, Graham and the FBI are entangled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game between the Tooth Fairy, Lecktor, and an interfering journalist (Stephen Lang).
After learning that a stranger has been accidentally killed near their rural homes, four Oregon boys decide to go see the body. On the way, Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) and Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) encounter a mean junk man and a marsh full of leeches, as they also learn more about one another and their very different home lives. Just a lark at first, the boys’ adventure evolves into a defining event in their lives.
After graduating from high school, art school hopeful Hoops McCann (John Cusack) struggles to complete his application to the Rhode Island School of Design. Resigning himself to a summer of boredom, McCann agrees to go along with his best friend, George Calamari (Joel Murray), on a family trip to Nantucket, Mass. But, after McCann and Calamari meet rocker-in-distress Cassandra (Demi Moore), it suddenly looks like it’s going to be “one crazy summer.”
Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he’s on the ground in the middle of battle, his idealism fades. Infighting in his unit between Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who believes nearby villagers are harboring Viet Cong soldiers, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), who has a more sympathetic view of the locals, ends up pitting the soldiers against each other as well as against the enemy.
Former pool hustler “Fast Eddie” Felson (Paul Newman) decides he wants to return to the game by taking a pupil. He meets talented but green Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise) and proposes a partnership. As they tour pool halls, Eddie teaches Vincent the tricks of scamming, but he eventually grows frustrated with Vincent’s showboat antics, leading to an argument and a falling-out. Eddie takes up playing again and soon crosses paths with Vincent as an opponent.
A scientifically miniaturized marine unexpectedly finds himself floating around the body of a hypochondriac and trying to outwit saboteurs who want the device that shrank him. Attempts by his colleagues to retrieve the little man – protected inside a tiny submersible – are hampered by the would-be thieves.