Movie Review: Footloose (1984)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer.

Synopsis: A high school student moves from the big city to a small town with his mother. Shortly after arriving, he discovers the town has outlawed rock music and dancing because of a car accident that killed the local reverend's son. When he chooses to challenge the law and convince the town council to repeal it, he is met with unexpected resistance from the rest of the town.

Who's in it?


I watched the remake to this movie some time ago and, while it wasn't bad, I simply did not think it lived up to this 1984 original. This is because this film is much more than just the music and dancing. It is a great film because of the characters and the acting.

The thing that makes this particular movie so fun to watch is Ren McCormack (Bacon) isn't some confident, well-spoken character that has a great plan to take down an unfair law. He's just a teenager that has mood swings, lacks confidence in himself at times (especially when making a public speech or being around girls) and, because he doesn't really know how to achieve his goal, is a major underdog. This is what makes the movie somewhat unique and is pulled off brilliantly by Bacon.

Another thing I personally like in this film is Lithgow's performance as the Rev. Shaw Moore. A lot of other films probably would have turned him into a full-fledged villain that was enforcing the no dancing law for his own evil purpose. Moore, however, wasn't really that awful of a person and, even though he did do some questionable things, his motives were understandable and it was obvious he did care about his daughter and the people in his congregation. In fact, the only thing he was really guilty of was being overprotective. And, as a father myself, that's something that is easy for me to relate to.

Ironically, if there's anyone in this movie I'm not a big fan of, it's Ren's girlfriend Ariel (Singer). While the movie tries to make her into some sort of rebellious daughter, there were times (such as the scene with the train) when she seemed like she would benefit from some time at a mental institution. In fact, as much as Moore wanted to keep her away from Ren's "bad influence," I actually think he should have been grateful for Ren's calming influence on her and do think the writers went a little too far with her.

Footloose (1984)

Footloose (1984) (DVD)

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Final Opinion

This is a great movie that is memorable for the music and dance numbers. However, it is so much more than that and would be worth watching even if they never danced at all.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 06/27/2019, StevenHelmer
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Guest on 12/07/2014

Ahhh. Kevin Bacon back in the day, showing off his gymnastic prowess.

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