Footloose (1984 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Picture of Footloose (1984) movie poster
Directed by Herbert Ross
Produced by Lewis J. Rachmil
Craig Zadan
Written by Dean Pitchford
Music by Tom Snow
Jim Steinman
Kenny Loggins
Dean Pitchford (lyrics)
Miles Goodman (adaptor)
Cinematography Ric Waite
Edited by Paul Hirsch
IndieProd Company Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
February 17, 1984 (1984-02-17)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8.2 million
Box office $80,035,402 (USA)

Footloose is a 1984 American musical-drama directed by Herbert Ross. It tells the story of Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), an upbeat Chicago teen who moves to a small town in which, as a result of the efforts of a local minister (John Lithgow), dancing and rock music have been banned.

The film is loosely based on events that took place in the small, rural, and religious community of Elmore City, Oklahoma.[1]


Ren McCormack, a teenager raised in Chicago, moves to the small town of Beaumont to live with his aunt and uncle. Soon after arriving, Ren makes a friend named Willard, and from him learns the city council has banned dancing and rock music. He soon begins to fall for a rebellious girl named Ariel, who has a boyfriend, Chuck Cranston, and a domineering father, Reverend Shaw Moore, an authority figure in the town.

After trading insults with Ariel's boyfriend, Ren is challenged to a game of chicken involving tractors, and despite having never driven one before, he wins. Rev. Moore distrusts Ren, grounding Ariel and forbidding her to see him. Ren and his classmates want to do away with the no dancing law and have a senior prom.

Ren goes before the city council and reads several Bible verses to cite scriptural support for the worth of dancing to rejoice, exercise, or celebrate. Although Rev. Moore is moved, the council votes against him. Moore's wife is supportive of the movement, and explains to Moore he cannot be everyone's father, and that he is hardly being a father to Ariel. She also says that dancing and music are not the problem. Moore soon has a change of heart after seeing some of the townsfolk burning books that they think are dangerous to the youth. Realizing the situation has gotten out of hand, Moore stops the burning.

On Sunday, Rev. Moore asks his congregation to pray for the high school students putting on the prom, which is set up at a grain mill outside of the town limits. Moore and Vi are seen outside, dancing for the first time in years.


Kevin Bacon portrayed Ren McCormack.


Dean Pitchford wrote the screenplay (and most of the lyrics) for Footloose, Herbert Ross directed the movie, and Paramount Pictures co-produced and distributed it.

Michael Cimino was hired by Paramount to direct the film when negotiations with Ross initially stalled. After four months working on the film, the studio fired Cimino, who was making extravagant demands for the production, including demanding an additional $250,000 for his work, and ended up rehiring Ross.[2]


Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were both slated to play the lead. The casting directors were impressed with Cruise because of the famous underwear dance sequence in Risky Business, but he was unavailable for the part because he was filming All the Right Moves.[3] Lowe auditioned three times and had dancing ability and the "neutral teen" look that the director wanted, but injury prevented him from taking the part.[4] Bacon had been offered the main role for the Stephen King movie Christine at the same time that he was asked to do the screen test for Footloose. He chose to take the gamble on the screen test. After watching his earlier movie Diner, the director had to convince the producers to go with Bacon.[3]

Footloose also starred Lori Singer as Reverend Moore's independent daughter Ariel, a role for which Madonna also auditioned. Daryl Hannah turned down the offer to play Ariel in order to play Madison in Splash. Elizabeth McGovern turned down the role to play Deborah Gelly in Once Upon a Time in America. Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Tilly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Heather Locklear, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jodie Foster, Phoebe Cates, Tatum O'Neal, Bridget Fonda, Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane and Brooke Shields were all considered for the role of Ariel. Dianne Wiest appeared as Vi, the Reverend's devoted yet conflicted wife.

Footloose featured an early film appearance by Sarah Jessica Parker as Ariel's friend Rusty, for which she received a Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama nomination at the Sixth Annual Youth in Film Awards. It was also an early role for Chris Penn as Willard Hewitt, who is taught how to dance by his friend Ren.


The film was made at various locations in Utah County, Utah. The high school and tractor scenes were filmed in and around Payson, Utah and Payson High School. The church scenes were filmed in American Fork, Utah. The steel mill was the Geneva Steel mill. The drive-in scenes were filmed in Provo at what was then the "High Spot" restaurant. The restaurant was closed in the late 80s and there is now an auto parts store located at 200 N 500 W. The final sequence was filmed in Lehi, Utah, with the Lehi Roller Mills featured in the final sequence.

For his dance scene in the warehouse, Bacon said he had four stunt doubles: "I had a stunt double, a dance double [Peter Tramm][5] and two gymnastics doubles."[6]


The soundtrack was released in cassette, 8-track tape, vinyl, and CD format. The soundtrack was also re-released on CD for the 15th anniversary of the film in 1999. The re-release included four new songs: "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" by Quiet Riot, "Hurts So Good" by John Mellencamp, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner, and the extended 12" remix of "Dancing in the Sheets".

The soundtrack includes five rock singles—the title song, "Footloose" and "I'm Free", both by Kenny Loggins, "Holding Out for a Hero" by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, "Girl Gets Around" by Sammy Hagar, and "Never" by Australian rock band Moving Pictures (the song played during Bacon's solo dance scene); three singles—"Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Deniece Williams, "Somebody's Eyes" by Karla Bonoff, and "Dancing in the Sheets" by Shalamar; and the love theme "Almost Paradise" by Mike Reno from Loverboy and Ann Wilson of Heart. Some of the songs were composed by Eric Carmen and Jim Steinman and the soundtrack went on to sell over 9 million copies in the USA.

The first two tracks both hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received 1985 Academy Award nominations for Best Music (Original Song). "Footloose" also received a 1985 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

The late film composer Miles Goodman has been credited for adapting and orchestrating the film's score.[7][8][9][10][11][12]


Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews, holding a 56% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews, with the critics consensus: "There's not much dancing, but what's there is great. The rest of the time, Footloose is a nice hunk of trashy teenage cheese.".[13]

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert called it "a seriously confused movie that tries to do three things, and does all of them badly. It wants to tell the story of a conflict in a town, it wants to introduce some flashy teenage characters, and part of the time it wants to be a music video. "[14] Dave Denby in New York rechristened the film "Schlockdance", writing: "Footloose may be a hit, but it's trash - high powered fodder for the teen market... The only person to come out of the film better off is the smooth-cheeked, pug-nosed Bacon, who gives a cocky but likeable Mr. Cool performance."[15]

Jane Lamacraft reassessed the film for Sight and Sound '​s "Forgotten pleasures of the multiplex" feature in 2010, writing "Nearly three decades on, Bacon's vest-clad set-piece dance in a flour mill looks cheesily 1980s, but the rest of Ross's drama wears its age well, real song-and-dance joy for the pre-Glee generation."[16]

Box office[edit]

Despite critical reviews, the film grossed $80,035,403 domestically.[17]

American Film Institute lists[edit]

Musical version[edit]

Main article: Footloose (musical)

Starting in 1999 a musical version of Footloose, that features many of the same songs from the movie, has been presented on London's West End, on Broadway, and elsewhere. The musical is generally faithful to the film version, with some slight differences in the story and characters.


Main article: Footloose (2011 film)

Paramount Pictures announced plans to fast-track a musical remake of Footloose. The remake was written and directed by Craig Brewer.

Paramount revealed the full cast on June 22, 2010,[19] with Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormick, Julianne Hough as Ariel, and Dennis Quaid as Rev. Shaw Moore. It is set in the fictional town of Bomont, Georgia, and was filmed in Georgia.[20]

Filming started in September, 2010. It was budgeted at $25 million.[21] The release date was October 14, 2011.


  1. ^ Demaret, Kent (18 May 1980). "You Got Trouble in Elmore City: That's Spelled with a "t," Which Rhymes with "d" and That Stands for Dancing". People 13 (20). Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  2. ^ Holleran, Scott (12 October 2004). "Shall We Footloose?". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Footloose (1984) - Trivia". Internet Movie Database. 
  4. ^ Wenn (16 January 2013). "Rob Lowe: 'I refused to sing Footloose karaoke duet with Loggins". Retrieved 11 March 2014. Years ago I auditioned for Footloose and I blew out my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), so I have post-traumatic stress with anything having to do with Footloose. 
  5. ^ "Hoofers Hidden in the Shadows Dream of the Limelight". People. Time Inc. 2 April 1984. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Jones, Oliver (14 October 2011). "Kevin Bacon 'Furious' over Having a Dance Double in Footloose". People. Time Inc. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Miles Goodman, 47, Composer for Films". The New York Times. 20 August 1996. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Jablon, Robert (18 August 1996). "MILES GOODMAN, FILM COMPOSER AND JAZZ RECORD PRODUCER, DIES". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Oliver, Myrna (20 August 1996). "Miles Goodman; Record Producer, Film Composer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Miles Goodman: Composer". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 22 August 1996. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Record producer, composer Miles Goodman dies at 47". The Daily Gazette. 21 August 1996. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Miles Goodman, Composer For Films". Sun-Sentinel. 21 August 1996. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Footloose Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Footloose". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  15. ^ Denby, David (February 27, 1984). "Schlockdance". New York 17 (9). p. 60. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  16. ^ Lamacraft, Jane. "forgotten-pleasures-of-the-multiplex". Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Box office/business for Footloose (1984)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  18. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees
  19. ^ "Footloose Remake Gets A Cast". The Film Stage. June 22, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  20. ^ Woodman, Tenley, "Kicking it old-school: Stoughton dancer says accent helped him land 'Footloose'", Boston Herald, October 12, 2011
  21. ^ John Beifuss. "'Footloose' runs off with well-heeled suitor: Georgia". MCA. 

External links[edit]