Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again

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Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again
Genre Comedy
Based on Characters created by John Goldwater and Bob Montana
Written by Evan Katz
Directed by Dick Lowry
Starring Christopher Rich
Lauren Holly
Karen Kopins
Sam Whipple
Gary Kroeger
Theme music composer Mark Snow
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Graham Cottle
Cinematography Frank Byers
Editor(s) Byron "Buzz" Brandt
Anita Brandt-Burgoyne
Running time 100 minutes
Production company(s) Patchett Kaufman Entertainment
DiC Entertainment
Distributor NBC
New Horizons Home Video
Roadshow Home Video
Original network NBC
Original release May 6, 1990
Preceded by The New Archies
Followed by Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again is a 1990 American live-action made-for-television comedy film based on comic book characters published by Archie Comics. It was produced by DiC Entertainment and premiered on NBC Sunday Night at the Movies on May 6, 1990. It was shown in Britain as Weekend Reunion.


Archie Andrews, fifteen years after graduating from Riverdale High, has become a successful lawyer and is preparing to marry his fiancée, Pam, and move to "the big city." Before doing that, however, he returns home to Riverdale for his high school reunion and save his friend Pop Tate's diner.

Archie and company are all now in their early thirties, with the trials and tribulations one might expect to have happened to such a group over the years:

  • Betty, a grade school teacher, has had problems finding permanent employment, and is constantly bossed around by a crummy boyfriend named Robert.
  • Veronica, having lived in France since graduation, has been married (and divorced) four times.
  • Jughead, now a psychiatrist, is also divorced (although only once), and now has sole custody of a son named Jordan. Due to the divorce and other failed relationships, Jughead carries emotional baggage that manifests itself in a terrible fear of women. (A running gag in the movie is Jughead's desperation to avoid seeing Big Ethel during his visit to Riverdale.) This is played for laughs at the end when at the reunion it turns out that Big Ethel is no longer the gangly, awkward teenager she once was but is now a striking beauty.
  • Moose and Midge have gotten married and become chiropractors. They also have a son, Max, who hits it off with Jordan.
  • Reggie is a gym owner.

When Archie sees Betty and Veronica for the first time in fifteen years, all his old feelings for them come flooding back, threatening his engagement—and it doesn't help that the girls renew their pursuit of Archie, heedless of the fact that he has a fiancée. Meanwhile, Archie also tries to keep Reggie, helped along by an uncharacteristically menacing Mr. Lodge, from evicting Pop Tate from his soda shop, under the pretext of expanding his gym. Archie ultimately saves the Chock'lit Shoppe, though he loses Pam in the bargain, and decides to stay in Riverdale.


Almost all of the characters in the movie are regular or recurring characters in the originating comics:

Actor Role
Christopher Rich Archie Andrews
Lauren Holly Betty Cooper
Karen Kopins Veronica Lodge
Sam Whipple Forsythe "Jughead" Jones
Gary Kroeger Reggie Mantle
Jeff Hochendoner Moose Mason
Debi Derryberry Midge Mason
Mike Nussbaum Pop Tate
Fran Ryan Miss Grundy
David Doyle Mr. Weatherbee
J. D. Hall Coach Clayton
Cindy Ambuehl Ethel Muggs (Big Ethel)
James Noble Hiram Lodge

Additional characters were mostly created for the movie to indicate the passage of time, such as the regulars' children or new romantic partners:

Actor Role
Billy Corben Jordan "Jughead Junior" Jones
Aeryk Egan Max Mason
Matt McCoy Robert Miller
Christina Haag Pam


The NBC movie, broadcast during the May sweeps period, was seen as a pilot for a possible series.[1] Despite being well received by critics, who especially praised the casting and performances from the actors,[1] the movie finished a disappointing 51st in the Nielsen ratings.[citation needed]

Comic book version

Archie Comics published a one-shot comic book adaptation of the TV movie which coincided with its premiere. Stan Goldberg and Mike Esposito drew the sections of the book featuring the characters in flashback as teens, while Gene Colan drew the characters as adults, in a realistic style and more "serious" look akin to Rex Morgan, M.D., and John Byrne drew the cover. The comic also shows a flashback to the incident where Archie and Betty were alone in a motel room together (from Betty and Me #40, February 1972). Back Issue! described the one-shot as "an offbeat, impressive package".[1]

Home video

The film was released on VHS in 1997 from New Horizons Home Video, with the movie re-titled as Archie: Return to Riverdale. In Australia, it was released on VHS as Archie's Weekend Reunion.


  1. ^ a b c Thompson, Steven (September 2016). "Archie's Antagonist, Reggie Mantle". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (91): 63–67.

External links

  • Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again on IMDb
  • Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again at AllMovie
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