• Review Date: March 28, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 1983

Common Sense Media says

Cinderella tale with sex, Spandex, and '80s pop.
  • Review Date: March 28, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 1983





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though she works as an exotic dancer (for the politest crowd of guys you'd ever want in such an establishment), the self-sufficient heroine is an empowered, urban-Cinderella type whose independent streak even makes her refuse any Fairy-Godmother-ish offers to make her career path easy for her.


One fistfight.


The heroine has a passionate affair with her boyfriend/boss, and there is a brief visit to a nudity-filled strip club.


Some strong Language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking (especially in the club scenes), and the heroine smokes cigarettes when upset.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite its R rating, Midwest working-class setting, and sexy vibe, FLASHDANCE is largely fairy tale, a glamorous wish-fulfillment pop fantasy for teen girls on what being an adult is like. There is a brief visit to a graphic, downscale nudie bar, strong language, and drinking and smoking. You might point out to your teens that working at a strip club is not as glamorous as it appears to be here.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In FLASHDANCE Jennifer Beals plays Alex, a parentless 18-year-old who yearns to be a dancer with the city's ballet company even though she has no formal training, just an intense adoration of music and dance and a mentoring friendship with a long-retired showgirl. Alex lives alone in a huge loft apartment and holds down two jobs. By day she's a welder in an ironworks. By night she's an exotic dancer in a bar/night club called Mawby's. One of the guys at Mawby's watching Alex is Nick (Michael Nouri), her daytime boss at the foundry, handsome, young, wealthy, well-connected and divorced. Most of the non-musical interludes in Flashdance concern their love affair and Alex overcoming her fears to audition for a ballet troupe.

Is it any good?


Despite its R rating, Flashdance is largely a fairy tale. Through the glitz and glamour and a vision of Pittsburgh that's somehow both a smoke-filled steeltown and the Emerald City of Oz, we can see a sly updating of the Cinderella tale, albeit with sex, Spandex, and lots of '80s pop-rock. Note that MTV was only a few years old when this movie came out; this was one of the first movies to successfully (and profitably) combine the visual razzmatazz of music-videos with a plot. The movie's slender, go-for-it premise proves a sturdy construction for all the music/dance scenes and inventively edited montages of blast-furnace steam, sizzling nightlife, and willowy Pittsburgh welder/dancing girl/ballet diva reverie.

Mawby's seems akin to all those escapist Golden Age of Hollywood musicals of the 1930s/'40s/'50s, where Broadway chorus girls did impossible "stage" routines on ice, underwater, on airplanes, places only an energetic movie camera could go. Alex and a few other dancers, briefly clad, do elaborate, self-choreographed avant-garde routines that mostly just bring polite applause from the working stiffs at the bar. If parents are bothered by the benign treatment of an erotic girlie club as a nurturing environment, there's a contrast provided later in the film between the risque but non-risky Mawby's, and Zanzibar, a strip joint where the less-empowered and less-fortunate girls seem to end up, explicitly nude and degraded.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this version of adulthood and pursuing your dreams vs. what to expect out in the real world. Why do people like cinderella stories?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 28, 1983
DVD release date:September 18, 2007
Cast:Jennifer Beals, Lilia Skala, Michael Nouri
Director:Adrian Lyne
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:nudity, sex and profanity

This review of Flashdance was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Teen, 13 years old Written by80sfreak October 2, 2009


I love this movie the dancing the music it makes me smile inside!!!

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviegeek April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 13 years old Written by4kidshater August 31, 2010

A dated and sorta mediocre very good 80's movie with very good pop music

I like this movie. It's kind of mediocre at times, but it still has a heart. I also recommeded Can't Stop the music(1980) a three star movie in my opinion. I highly reccomded it

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages


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