Shag (film)

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Shag the movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Zelda Barron
Produced by Julia Chasman
Stephen Woolley
Screenplay by Lanier Laney
Terry Sweeney
Robin Swicord
Story by Lanier Laney
Terry Sweeney
Cinematography Peter MacDonald
Edited by Laurence Méry-Clar
Palace Pictures
Distributed by Hemdale Film Corporation
Release date
  • April 14, 1989 (1989-04-14) (Sweden)
  • July 21, 1989 (1989-07-21) (U.S.)
Running time
98 mins.
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $5,000,000[1]
Box office $6,957,975[1]

Shag (also known as Shag: The Movie) is a 1989 American comedy film starring Bridget Fonda, Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish, Page Hannah, Jeff Yagher and Scott Coffey. The film features Carolina shag dancing and was produced in cooperation with the South Carolina Film Commission. The soundtrack album was on Sire/Warner Bros. Records.


The film is a lighthearted story of four teenage girlfriends of various temperaments who escape from their parents for a few days in 1963 for an adventure in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where the big spring festival promises a dance contest, beer blasts and lots of cute boys. Carson (Phoebe Cates) is engaged to a rich but square young man, Melaina (Bridget Fonda) fancies herself as a Hollywood sexpot, Luanne (Page Hannah) wears glasses and is a prim and proper senator's daughter, and Pudge (Annabeth Gish) has recently lost weight but has always been called "Pudge" and suffers from low self-esteem.

The trip is spurred by the upcoming marriage of Carson. During their busy weekend at Myrtle Beach, the four find romance, dance up a storm, and make serious life decisions. Their story chronicles their final farewell to girlhood, and entree into womanhood and focuses on both the girls' moral quandaries and their budding sexualities.


  • Phoebe Cates as Carson McBride, the beautiful socialite who is set to marry a tobacco executive's son
  • Bridget Fonda as Melaina Buller, the promiscuous preacher's daughter with bigger dreams
  • Annabeth Gish as Caroline "Pudge" Carmichael, the formerly overweight, hometown cutie
  • Page Hannah as Luanne Clatterbuck, the uptight senator's daughter
  • Robert Rusler as Buzz Ravenel, the townie boy whose come-ons snare Carson
  • Scott Coffey as Chip Guillyard, a future service member and excellent shagger
  • Tyrone Power, Jr. as Harley Ralston, a tobacco executive's son- as straight-laced as they come
  • Jeff Yagher as Jimmy Valentine, a semi-famous Elvis Presley wanna-be
  • Carrie Hamilton as Nadine, a white-trash townie who is jealous of the girls
  • Leilani Sarelle as Suette


The film grossed approximately $6.9 million at the US Box Office. It was not a big hit when initially released, and commercially was considered a flop. Despite the film's box office failure, the film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that, out of 15 critics in total, 64% gave the film a positive review.[2]

Roger Ebert, who gave the film 3 stars, praised the actors of the film, calling them "best of the younger generation in Hollywood, and they treat their material with the humor and delicacy it deserves."[3] TV Guide also enjoyed the actors, who called them "uniformly attractive and energetic, and deliver performances that range from likable to delicious."[4]

Production notes[edit]

  • The movie was filmed between July 9 and September 15, 1987 and released initially in Europe in April 1989. It was not released in the United States until July 21, 1989.
  • While filmed primarily in Wilmington, North Carolina and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a sequence was filmed at the late Skyview Drive-In located in Florence, South Carolina (which operated until it burned down in 2007). The senator's Spartanburg mansion was actually on Ocean Boulevard downtown Myrtle Beach (since demolished) with Pudge's parents and Carson's parents houses only a few blocks away in a nearby neighborhood.
  • The Myrtle Beach Pavilion was not used in the film. A building in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach was dressed by the producers as a stand-in.
  • The Atlantic Beach Pavilion, in North Myrtle Beach was used for the final dance contest. Not long after the movie was completed, it burned down.


Sire/Warner Bros Records soundtrack cover

The original soundtrack album was released by Sire/Warner Bros Records on August 2, 1989. It was available on vinyl, cassette and CD.

Tracks on the original soundtrack album.
  1. The Shag - Tommy Page
  2. I'm In Love Again - Randy Newman
  3. Our Day Will Come - k.d. lang and The Reclines
  4. Ready To Go Steady - The Charmettes
  5. Shaggin' On The Grand Strand - Hank Ballard
  6. Oh What A Night - The Moonlighters
  7. Saved - La Vern Baker
  8. I'm Leaving It All Up to You - La Vern Baker, Ben E. King
  9. Surrender - Louise Goffin
  10. Diddley Daddy - Chris Isaak
Songs in the film, not on the soundtrack
Songs in the original theatrically released film, (Not on the copyright compliant home video}
* The ShirellesMama Said
* Sam CookeAnother Saturday Night
* The ChiffonsHe's So Fine
* The DupreesYou Belong to Me
Songs added on the copyright-compliant home video (Not in the original film)
* The TamsWhat Kind of Fool
* k.d. lang and The Reclines – Seven Lonely Days

Home media releases[edit]

The initial VHS home video version was released on June 3, 1997. However, legal copyright infringements led to a second VHS release on January 13, 1998 that features different songs, or no music at all in some scenes compared to the original theatrical release. The 1997 home video version has a box cover almost identical to the theatrical poster; the modified copyright-compliant version has different cover artwork.

Shag was released on Region 1 DVD on May 22, 2001. The Blu Ray of the movie was released on June 27, 2017 by Olive Films.


  1. ^ a b "Shag: Box office / business for". IMDB. Retrieved March 31, 2017. 
  2. ^ Shag on Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 21, 1989). "Shag". The Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Shag: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]