A Chorus Line

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
A Chorus Line Movie Poster Image
Sexy Broadway classic gets disappointing 1980s remake.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A pretty powerful message: What you do, you do for love. And that’s what sustains when the day-to-day grind seems overwhelming and difficult.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nearly everyone on the cast is a role model in one form or the other: the actress who tasted success but isn’t too proud to go back to her roots; the boy who decided he could dance as well as, or even better than, his sister and isn’t daunted by other people’s expectations; the choreographer who reminds everyone to “be yourself.” Some characters appear somewhat traumatized by their past, but they have found an outlet to set them free: dancing.


A whole song talking about what a guy’s “first time” making love was like, and what subsequent couplings were like. Another song mentions “t-ts and ass,” and how a woman is measured primarily by looks and not talent, necessitating breast implants and a nose job so she can trade on her looks. Another song about physical transformations that happen when one is a teenager. A dancer sings about how he learned about sex. Also, some suggestive dance moves.


“Bullsh-t,” “friggin,” “sh-t,” “g-dd-mn,” and the F-word.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this 1985 movie inspired by the long-running, award-winning Broadway musical is filled with the memorable music and characters that made the show the icon it is today. That said, the subject matter—finding one’s sexuality, the toll of dysfunctional families, the drudgery and joy of a chorus member’s life— may go over the heads of tweens and younger. (There are some songs that pertain to bodily changes that happen when one is a teenager.) There’s some swearing, suggestive dancing, and numerous references to sexual awakening and body parts. Some frank discussion of sex, too.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byDemi-Time-Detective October 17, 2015
So, I've never seen the Broadway production, but I liked this movie pretty well. As a dancer and a professional singer, I know the challenge of auditions a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 10, 2015

Mostly good but obviously MGM from the 80s

I first saw A Chorus Line live when I was eleven, and was very excited to receive the movie adaptation for Christmas. I have to say, it was obviously an MGM fil... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this cinematic retelling of the Broadway classic, dancers auditioning for a famous choreographer (Michael Douglas) show off their skills. But for the finalists, the dance steps quickly give way to more personal, and affecting, confessions about life: wayward fathers; embarrassing moments; and the hardship of constantly hustling for chorus jobs, among others. In the group is Sheila (Vicki Frederick), a thirtysomething dancer who proves she’s not past her prime; Diana (Yamil Borges), who sings of an acting teacher who made her feel nothing; and Cassie (Alyson Reed), a stage actress who sought Hollywood fame, only to return and start over.

Is it any good?

Let’s start with the complaints: Though the Broadway version does somewhat hint at its age, this one outright screams it -- the lighting, the leg warmers, the cheesy keyboard and guitar riffs. And it’s not exactly faithful to the original, with flashbacks to bone up one romantic storyline, though it’s close. As for the actors, though they do a fine enough job, especially with the dancing. But one gets the feeling that, with few exceptions, they’d be understudies if they were onstage. There’s little electricity, no momentum. And the show’s signature song, “What I Did for Love” is sadly misused.

Nevertheless, one can’t argue with the brilliance of the show itself, whose basic essence is intact (though some songs, sadly, haven’t been transferred to the screen). The stories of triumphs and failures, of lives perpetually on the brink between stardom and chorus-line anonymity have survived, and, with some major caveats, so has this movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of hearing other people’s troubles and secrets. Many of the characters in the film (and the stage version) reveal personal difficulties. Does it show that one can’t judge a book by the proverbial cover?

  • How does this film compare to other movies inspired by Broadway plays and musicals? Does it do a good job? What are the challenges and payoffs of adapting a stage show?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

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