Up the Creek (1984 film)

Up the Creek is a 1984 comedy film directed by Robert Butler and starring Tim Matheson, Dan Monahan, Stephen Furst, Jeff East, Sandy Helberg, Blaine Novak, James B. Sikking, Jennifer Runyon, and John Hillerman.

Up the Creek
Up the Creek theatrical poster
Directed byRobert Butler
Produced byMichael L. Meltzer
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Louis S. Arkoff
Written byJim Kouf
Based onstory by Jim Kouf
Jeff Sherman
Douglas Grossman
Music byWilliam Goldstein
Cheap Trick
CinematographyJames Glennon
Edited byBill Butler
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
April 6, 1984
Running time
96 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million
Box office$11,708,269[1]

Plot summary

Bob McGraw, Max, Gonzer, and Irwin, students at Lepetomane University (known derisively by some as "Lobotomy U"), are volunteered to compete in a collegiate raft race. They are "recruited" by Dean Burch who uses records of McGraw's checkered past as a means of blackmail to get them to compete. "You're not AT the bottom of the list. You ARE the bottom of the list!", says Burch. He even offers them degrees in the major of their choice as additional incentive. They're up against Ivy University, prep schoolers who, with the help of an Ivy alumnus named Dr. Roland Tozer, plan to cheat their way to the Winner's Circle.

Their adversaries also include the Washington Military Institute, disqualified for their attempts to sabotage the other schools' rafts. Captain Braverman, the leader of the Military men, has it in for McGraw because he personally curtailed the attempts to sabotage the other rafts. Also entered is a team of beautiful co-eds, one of whom ends up falling for Bob. The dangerous rapids as well as Ivy's cheating end up disabling many of the other teams' rafts. It is all down river adventure for the Lepetomane gang.


Production notes

This film was filmed in Bend, Oregon.[2]

Writer Jim Kouf later said Robert Butler "was not a great comedy director, he missed a lot of jokes.”[3]


Up the Creek
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Hard rock
ProducerVarious artists
Singles from Up the Creek
  1. "Up the Creek"
    Released: 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link
  1. "Up the Creek" – Cheap Trick
  2. "The Heat" – Heart
  3. "30 Days in the Hole" – Kick Axe
  4. "Great Expectations (You Never Know What to Expect)" – Ian Hunter
  5. "Chasin' the Sky" – The Beach Boys
  6. "Get Ready Boy" – Shooting Star
  7. "One Track Heart (Passion in the Dark)" – Danny Spanos
  8. "Take It" – Shooting Star
  9. "Two Hearts on the Loose Tonight" – Randy Bishop
  10. "Get Ready Boy (Instrumental)" – Shooting Star

One song that was in the film but not on the soundtrack is "First Girl President" by Namrac.


The Los Angeles Times wrote that the film was "not as consistently amusing" as Police Academy but was "rambunctious and raunchy enough to divert undemanding audiences."[4] The Washington Post called it "a moist smut movie" in which the best performance was given by the dog.[5] The New York Times called it "a ridiculous ordeal, all right, but certainly not in the way the filmmakers intended."[6] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune however said the film was "a good time", where Matheson, Furst and Helberg "play their roles with the same whimsical naturalness that made Bill Murray a star. They don't push themselves upon us, and that allows us to identify with them in a relaxed way. The result is a very tight script with breathing room. That's most unusual for a teen comedy, and that's why Up the Creek is one of the best."[7]


  1. Up the Creek at Box Office Mojo
  2. "Up The Creek: Reliving Bend's Hollywood heyday". bendsource.com. May 28, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  3. "Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt GRIMM Interview" by Andre Dellamorte Collider accessed 18 December 2014
  4. MOVIE REVIEW: THIS 'CREEK' GOES WITH THE FLOW Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 05 Apr 1984: k1.
  5. Get Stuck Up This Creek and You'll Need a Shovel The Washington Post (1974-Current file) [Washington, D.C] 06 Apr 1984: WK21.
  6. Screen: 'Up the Creek,' College Humor By LAWRENCE VAN GELDER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 07 Apr 1984: 13.
  7. Tempo: Teenage comedy flows fast in 'Up the Creek' Siskel, Gene. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 11 Apr 1984: e4.
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