Footloose (1984)

  • Review Date: March 13, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1984

Common Sense Media says

A dated rebellion tale.
  • Review Date: March 13, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1984





What parents need to know

Positive messages

To keep fighting for what you believe in... or keep dancing for what you believe in.

Positive role models

A girl straddles a moving car and a pickup truck. Two boys play a game of chicken in tractors, but ultimately Ren is a charismatic bad-boy gone good.


Fisticuffs. One bloody nose and one person knocked out.


Teens talk about ordering diaphragms through the mail, masturbation, and going all the way. Two teens are seen getting dressed after they've obviously had sex. We see bare male bums in a shower. There are numerous comments about the preacher's daughter's promiscuity.


Fairly mild, including "asses" and "bulls--t." The worst is probably "bitch in heat."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens talk of "sniffing spray starch" as a means of getting high. The cool kids smoke cigarettes, drink, and even use a little pot (though smoking dope is mostly frowned upon).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the music and movement will keep preteens entertained, but the sexual material and profanity may be too mature for the youngest. Teens will enjoy the energy of it, but the music is dated and the central conflict (to hold a dance or not) is a bit hard for teens to buy.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) moves to a small Iowa town where a fundamentalist preacher (John Lithgow) has banned dancing, rock 'n roll, and immoral books. He chafes at the restrictions and also runs into difficulties with some of the locals who aren't fond of outsiders. But Ren's rebellious streak catches the eye of the preacher's libertine daughter, Ariel (Lori Singer). Frustrated, Ren leads a group of teens across the border for some illicit dancing. Then he petitions the town council for permission to hold a dance, but his impassioned speech falls on deaf ears. Fortunately, the preacher turns the other cheek when his wife (Dianne Wiest) and Ariel tell him he's being a bad father and a poor minister. With the preacher's consent, the dance goes forward, and some local good old boys even learn how to shake it.

Is it any good?


Released at the dawn of the music video age, the movie shows the definite influence of MTV. With extended dance sequences that are only tangentially related to the plot, the movie plays, in parts, like an early rock video. Teens of the 1980s loved this movie and its music, but today's teens might be bored with the contrived plot, cookie cutter characters, and outdated music.

The love story between the two leads and the preacher's change of heart are unconvincing. But more importantly, why would anybody ban dancing? In this very strange town, drinking and smoking are pretty much ignored, but dancing is definitely a no-no. And the conversion of the preacher is implausible -- a raving tyrant in one scene, he is the voice of reason in another. Poor John Lithgow gives it all he has, but even this fine actor cannot make sense of the character. Kevin Bacon has a lot of fun with his part, but the same cannot be said for Lori Singer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how we stand up for our values.

  • What would you have done in Ren's shoes?

  • How do you relate to authority figures similar to the one portrayed by John Lithgow?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1984
DVD release date:July 23, 2003
Cast:John Lithgow, Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer
Director:Herbert Ross
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Topics:Arts and dance, Friendship, High school
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mature themes.

This review of Footloose (1984) was written by

About our rating system

  • 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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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bybaconbrother4 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 14 years old Written byDarkdani17 August 29, 2009

Cut loose Footloose = )

This shows fight for what you love. I don't know if they'll ruin this movie with the remake but this version is awesome. The preacher in this movie is over protective but at the end he says " How can our children become trustworthy if we don't trust them" I like that

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old Written by4kidshater May 31, 2010

I like this movie. It has good messages. It does have language and sexual references. Remember ignore the critics. They don't know stromboli from pie. I highly recommeded it

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models


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