Tank Girl
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRachel Talalay
Screenplay byTedi Sarafian
Produced byTom Astor
StarringLori Petty
Naomi Watts
Malcolm McDowell
CinematographyGale Tattersall
Edited byJames R. Symons
Music byGraeme Revell
Courtney Love (Soundtrack coordination)[1]
Trilogy Entertainment Group
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • March 31, 1995 (1995-03-31)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million
Box office$4.1 million

Tank Girl is a 1995 American science fiction action comedy film loosely based on Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett's comic series of the same name, which originated in the British comic magazine Deadline. Directed by Rachel Talalay and stars Lori Petty as Rebecca Buck, aka the eponymous Tank Girl, the film was met with mixed reviews from critics, and was financially unsuccessful; despite this, it gained a cult following in later years. The film's soundtrack was assembled by Hole frontwoman Courtney Love.


In the year 2022, the Earth was struck by a comet, causing an 11-year drought. By 2033, a majority of the scarce water supply is being held in reserve by Water & Power, which uses the water to control the world's population. Rebecca, aka Tank Girl, is a member of a resistance group that steals whatever water they can find for their community. Their hideout is attacked by W&P, who kill Rebecca's boyfriend and captures her young friend, Sam. Tank Girl is captured as well, but her defiant nature and independence intrigues Kesslee, who tortures her instead of executing her, then decides to make her a slave. Tank Girl meets Jet Girl, a talented but introverted mechanic who has given up on freedom; she tries to convince Rebecca to make less trouble for them, but Rebecca refuses and is only tortured more.

Meanwhile, W&P is having difficulty with a group called the Rippers, inhuman renegades that slaughters Kesslee's men and escape undetected. Kesslee uses Tank Girl as bait to draw out the Rippers, but they turn the tables, gravely injuring Kesslee and letting Rebecca escape. Jet Girl joins her, and they learn from the eccentric Sub Girl that Sam is working at Liquid Silver, an adult entertainment club. They infiltrate the club and rescue Sam from a lecherous pedophile, Rat Face, before humiliating the owner "The Madame" by making her sing Cole Porter's "Let's Do It". W&P breaks up the song and Sam is again captured. With nowhere to go, Tank Girl and Jet wander the desert, eventually finding the Rippers' hideout (a buried bowling alley) where they discover that the Rippers are humanoid mutated kangaroos. Their creator, Johnny Prophet, taught them about reincarnation and they all know who their human selves were in previous lives, although Booga was originally a dog. Despite their suspicions, the Rippers send Tank and Jet out on a reconnaissance mission to destroy a shipment of weapons, only to discover they were set up after finding the body of their creator Johnny Prophet stuffed in one of the weapons crates.

Jet Girl comes up with a plan to sneak into W&P. Kesslee, reconstructed after his injuries, reveals that Rebecca was bugged; their assault turns into a firefight that kills Deetee. Enraged, the Rippers quickly turn the tide of battle while Jet Girl kills Sergeant Small, who had sexually assaulted her earlier. Kesslee reveals that Sam is in the pipe, a hollow tube that he is slowly filling with water. Tank Girl is able to use her tank to disable and kill Kesslee before pulling Sam from the pipe. The scene is followed by an animated sequence where water flows freely and Rebecca takes Booga water skiing; she tells Jet not to warn them of a waterfall as a surprise to Booga who dives from the cliff as the credits roll.



Rachel Talalay, longtime producer of New Line Cinema, had fallen in love with the comic after receiving an issue for Christmas one year from her stepdaughter, and set out to make "the ultimate grrrrl movie."[3] Although the resulting film has a small cult following along with the far more widely acclaimed comics, Talalay has complained that the studio interfered significantly in the story, screenplay and feel of the film.[4][5][6] The Rippers were also changed in the movie from a group of ordinary (albeit talking and a bit mutated) kangaroos to a new race of genetically-modified supersoldiers with spliced kangaroo DNA. The makeup effects were created by Stan Winston's studio, who reportedly loved the project so much that they cut their usual prices in half.[7][8] The animation for the film's hallucination sequence was directed by Steve Evangelatos.[9]


Tank Girl grossed $4.1 million on a $25 million budget.[10] The film holds a 38% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 37 reviews (14 positive, 23 negative).[11]

Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars. While praising the film's ambition, he stated the film's manic energy wore him down:

Whatever the faults of Tank Girl, lack of ambition is not one of them. Here is a movie that dives into the bag of filmmaking tricks and chooses all of them. Trying to re-create the multimedia effect of the comic books it's based on, the film employs live action, animation, montages of still graphics, animatronic makeup, prosthetics, song-and-dance routines, scale models, fake backdrops, holography, title cards, matte drawings, and computerized special effects. All I really missed were 3-D and Smell-O-Vision.[12]

In the wake of poor box office gross, Deadline collapsed, having apparently taken huge gambles on Tank Girl. Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett have since spoken poorly of their experiences in creating the film, calling it "a bit of a sore point" for them.[13] Hewlett said, "The script was lousy; me and Alan kept rewriting it and putting Grange Hill jokes and Benny Hill jokes in, and they obviously weren't getting it. They forgot to film about ten major scenes so we had to animate them ... it was a horrible experience."[14]

Despite being a critical and commercial failure, the film has achieved cult status.[15]



The music consultant who assembled the soundtrack for the film was Courtney Love.[16] Talalay originally wanted Elvis Costello to do the cover version of "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love", but he declined, and the song was instead performed as a duet by Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg of The Replacements. Devo recorded a new version of their song "Girl U Want" specifically for the film.

The soundtrack album was released on March 28, 1995 on Warner Bros./Elektra Records.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link
  1. "Ripper Sole" by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, performed by Stomp! – 1:42
  2. "Army of Me" by Björk – 3:56
  3. "Girl U Want" by Devo – 3:51
  4. "Mockingbird Girl" by The Magnificent Bastards featuring Scott Weiland – 3:30
  5. "Shove" by L7 – 3:11
  6. "Drown Soda" by Hole – 3:50
  7. "Bomb" by Bush – 3:23
  8. "Roads" by Portishead – 5:04
  9. "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" by Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg (of The Replacements), music and lyrics by Cole Porter – 2:23
  10. "Thief" by Belly – 3:12
  11. "Aurora" by Veruca Salt – 4:03
  12. "Big Gun" by Ice-T – 3:54
Other songs in the film

The comics themselves, in keeping with their experimental and often metafictional nature, commonly featured "soundtrack suggestions", like The Vaselines, Senseless Things, and The Pastels.


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (March 31, 1995). "Movie Review - Tank Girl; Brash and Buzz-Cut Atop Her Beloved Tank". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  2. ^ "TANK GIRL (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 13, 1995. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  3. ^ Tomaselli, Susan (April 20, 2008). "stick 'em up punks, it's the fun lovin' criminals". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ Talalay, Rachel. Rosenberg, Bob. "Tank Girl Movie: The Outtakes". twisted.org.uk. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "A Q&A with Rachel Talalay". nightmareonelmstreetfilms.com. March 25, 2005. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ Bates, John K (December 1994). "Tank Girl Stomps Hollywood". Wired magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ Jones, Doug. "Meet the Rippers ... From Drawing Board to Silver Screen". thedougjonesexperience.com. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ Frank Wynne (1995). The making of Tank girl. Titan Books. ISBN 978-1-85286-621-1.
  9. ^ Evangelatos, Steve. "Steve Evangelatos Bio" (PDF). Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Tank Girl". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ "Tank Girl". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 31, 1995). "Tank Girl review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ "Alan Martin on Tank Girl". sci-fi-online.com. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ Fairs, Marcus (June 2006). "Jamie Hewlett interview". Icon Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ Volmers, Eric (March 6, 2014). "The blu-ray redemption of Tank Girl: Director Rachel Talalay talks about her 1995 cult film's handsome rebirth on DVD". Calgary Herald. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  16. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (April 14, 1995). "Tank Girl review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 21, 2010. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)