The film received critical acclaim, with critics praising its acting and writing. The film was a financial success, bringing in more than $273 million worldwide, against its $50 million budget. It was the ninth top-grossing film of 1996.
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a glossy 35-year-old sports agent working for Sports Management International (SMI). After having a life-altering epiphany about his role as a sports agent, he writes a mission statement about perceived dishonesty in the sports management business and his desire to work with fewer clients so as to produce better quality. In turn, SMI management decides to send Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr), Jerry's protégé, to fire him. Jerry and Sugar call all of Jerry's clients to try convincing them not to hire the services of the other. Jerry speaks to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), one of his clients who is disgruntled with his contract. He needs a 10 million dollar contract for his family to live on. Jerry informed him if he gets injured for the season, he will get no money from the Cardinals. Rod tests Jerry's resolve through a very long telephone conversation while Sugar is able to convince the rest of Jerry's clients to stick with SMI instead. Leaving the office, Jerry announces that he will start his own agency and asks if anyone is willing to join him, to which only 26-year-old single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger) agrees. Meanwhile, Frank "Cush" Cushman (Jerry O'Connell), a superstar quarterback prospect who expects to be the number one pick in the NFL Draft, initially also stays with Jerry after he makes a visit to the Cushman home. However, Sugar is able to convince Cushman and his father to sign with SMI over Jerry the night before the draft. Cushman's father implies they decided to sign with Sugar over Jerry when they saw Jerry attending to Tidwell; an African-American player, versus his son (a white player).
After an argument, Jerry breaks up with his disgruntled fiancée Avery (Kelly Preston). He then turns to Dorothy, becoming closer to her young son, Ray (Jonathan Lipnicki), and eventually starts a relationship with her. Dorothy contemplates moving to San Diego as she has a secure job offer there, however she and Jerry agree to get married. Jerry concentrates all his efforts on Rod, now his only client, who turns out to be very difficult to satisfy. Over the next several months, the two direct harsh criticism towards each other with Rod claiming that Jerry is not trying hard enough to get him a contract while Jerry claims that Rod is not proving himself worthy of the money for which he asks. Rod takes Jerry's advice to prove he is worthy of his contract. Rod is playing well and his team is winning. Meanwhile, Jerry's marriage with Dorothy gradually deteriorates and they eventually separate.
During a Monday Night Football game between the Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, Rod plays well but appears to receive a serious injury when catching a winning touchdown, securing a spot for the Cardinals in the playoffs. He recovers, however, and dances for the wildly cheering crowd. Afterwards, Jerry and Rod embrace in front of other athletes and sports agents and show how their relationship has progressed from a strictly business one to a close personal one, which was one of the points Jerry made in his mission statement. Jerry then flies back home to meet Dorothy. He then speaks for several minutes, telling her that he loves her and wants her in his life, which she accepts. Rod later appears on Roy Firestone's sports show. Unbeknownst to him, Jerry has secured him an $11.2 million contract with the Cardinals allowing him to finish his pro football career in Arizona. The visibly emotional Rod proceeds to thank everyone and extends warm gratitude to Jerry. Jerry speaks with several other pro athletes, some of whom have read his earlier mission statement and respect his work with Rod.
The movie ends with Ray throwing a baseball up in the air surprising Jerry. Jerry then discusses Ray's possible future career in the sports industry with Dorothy.Janet Jackson auditioned and was initially accepted for the role of Marcee Tidwell, though it later went to Regina King, who previously co-starred in Janet Jackson's debut film Poetic Justice. Artie Lange filmed a scene for the movie but was edited out of the final cut. Jackson is referenced twice in the film, with a Janet poster seen hanging in Teepee's room and Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character Rod Tidwell asking "What Have You Done for Me Lately?", paying homage to Jackson's hit of the same name.
Patricia Arquette, Bridget Fonda, Winona Ryder and Marisa Tomei were all considered for the part of Dorothy. Mira Sorvino was also considered for Dorothy but she demanded too much money.
Damon Wayans and Mykelti Williamson were considered for the role of Rod Tidwell.
Diane Lane was considered for the role of Avery Bishop.
Billy Wilder was considered for the part of Jerry's mentor Dicky Fox.
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., former NFL quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe, Troy Aikman, and Warren Moon, German ice skater Katarina Witt, then-current Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer, and former Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes play themselves in the film.
Other NFL players that make cameos as themselves are Tim McDonald, Johnnie Morton, Rick Mirer, Rob Moore, Ki-Jana Carter, Herman Moore, Art Monk, Kerry Collins, and Dean Biasucci.
Sportscasters Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Roy Firestone, Mike Tirico, and Dan Dierdorf also make cameos.
Former NBA basketball player Brent Barry is featured in the film as an athlete who refuses to sign an autograph for a young boy.
Actresses portraying ex-girlfriends of Maguire include Lucy Liu, Ivana Miličević, Alison Armitage, Emily Procter and Stacey Williams. Reagan Gomez-Preston also had a minor role in the film as part of the Tidwell family.
Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell makes a brief appearance in the film as a copier store clerk.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay makes a cameo as Jerry Maguire's boss.
Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner is seen briefly as an SMI CEO as Maguire departs the company.
Tristar received merchandise and marketing services of over $1.5 million from Reebok in exchange for incorporating a commercial into the film and depicting the Reebok brand within certain agreed-upon standards; when the film was theatrically released, the commercial had been left out and a tirade including "broadsides against Reebok" was included. When the film aired on television, the Reebok commercial had been embedded into the film as originally agreed upon.
The film debuted at number one. It earned $17,084,296 its opening weekend, and eventually grossed $153,952,592 in North American box office and approximately $119.6 million overseas for a $273,552,592 worldwide total, on a budget of $50 million. It is the ninth top-grossing film of 1996 and the fourth highest-grossing romantic drama film of all time.
The film received critical acclaim, with an 82% positive reviews on the film-critics aggregate Rotten Tomatoes. Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rod Tidwell, the Arizona Cardinals football player who sticks with Maguire. Cruise was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the movie marked Renée Zellweger's breakout role. The film itself was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and crew members on the film were nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Film Editing awards.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3/4 stars, writing that there "are so many subplots that Jerry Maguire seems too full" and also commented that the film "starts out looking cynical and quickly becomes a heartwarmer." Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote "An exceptionally tasty contempo comedic romance, Jerry Maguire runs an unusual pattern on its way to scoring an unexpected number of emotional, social and entertaining points. Smartly written and boasting a sensational cast, Cameron Crowe's shrewdly observed third feature also gives Tom Cruise one of his very best roles..." Former Green Bay Packers vice president Andrew Brandt stated that the film "accurately portrayed the cutthroat nature of the agent business, especially the lengths to which agents will go to retain or pilfer clients. It also captured the financial, emotional and psychological investment that goes far beyond negotiating contracts."
The film's screenplay was later voted the 66th greatest ever written in a poll by the Writers Guild of America.
Jerry Maguire was first released on VHS and Laserdisc on May 29, 1997. It is the best-selling non-Disney VHS tape of all time, with over 3 million copies sold on the first day and another 1 million on the second day and sold 1 million copies each day, including Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and many other rental stores/retail chains. The previews shown before the movie were My Best Friend's Wedding, Men in Black and Starship Troopers. it was re-released on VHS around late 1999, without any of the aforementioned previews.
The film was first released onto DVD on June 24, 1997 and around 2002 respectively in both a standard edition and a two-disc "Special Edition". While the standard edition contains no special features, the two-disc edition primarily includes deleted scenes, commentary tracks, featurettes, and a music video for Bruce Springsteen's "Secret Garden." The film was later released onto Blu-ray on September 9, 2008, with the same special features found on the second disc of the DVD "Special Edition."
Jerry Maguire spawned several popular quotations, including "Show me the Money!" (shouted repeatedly in a phone exchange between Rod Tidwell and Jerry Maguire), "You complete me," "Help me help you," "The key to this business is personal relationships" and "You had me at 'hello'" (said by Renée Zellweger's Dorothy Boyd after a lengthy romantic plea by Jerry Maguire), and "Kwan," a word used by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Tidwell meaning love, respect, community, and money (also spelled "quan" and "quawn") to illustrate the difference between himself and other football players: "Other football players may have the coin, but they won't have the 'Kwan'." These lines are largely attributed to Cameron Crowe, director and screenwriter of the film. Zellweger said of filming the famous "hello" line, "Cameron had me say it a few different ways. It's so funny, because when I read it, I didn't get it — I thought it was a typo somehow. I kept looking at it. It was the one thing in the script that I was looking at going, 'Is that right? Can that be right? How is that right?' I thought, 'Is there a better way to say that? Am I not getting it? I just don't know how to do it.'" Brandt stated in 2014 that "I definitely noticed an uptick of young people becoming interested in the agent business after Jerry Maguire". "Some of what happened to the agent industry would have happened without 'Jerry,' but definitely not as fast as it did," noted Peter Schaffer, who has been a sports agent since 1988.
In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Jerry Maguire was acknowledged as the tenth best film in the sports genre. It was also voted by AFI as #100 on its list of 100 Passions. The quotes "Show me the money!" and "You had me at 'hello'" were also ranked by AFI on its list of 100 Movie Quotes, ranked #25 and #52 respectively.
American Film Institute ListsAFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – NominatedAFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – NominatedAFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – #100AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:Secret Garden – NominatedAFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:"Show me the money!" – #25"You had me at "hello."" – #52"You complete me." – NominatedAFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers – NominatedAFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – NominatedAFI's 10 Top 10 – #10 Sports Film (also nominated Romantic Comedy)
In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Jerry Maguire one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
The motion picture soundtrack CD includes:
Includes:AC/DC – "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)"Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – "The Lonely Bull"The Durutti Column – "Requiem Again"L.V. - "The Wrong Come Up"Nirvana – "Something in the Way"Tom Petty – "Free Fallin'"The Replacements – "I'll Be You"The Rolling Stones – "Bitch"Merrilee Rush – "Angel of the Morning"Andy Partridge and Harold Budd – "Through the Hill"a clip of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus performing (Mingus' piece is "Haitian Fight Song")
"Secret Garden," originally a Bruce Springsteen track from 1995, was re-released in 1997 after its exposure in the film and on the soundtrack, and peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The film was scored by director Crowe's then-wife, Nancy Wilson, who is a member of the rock band Heart.