Footloose (1984)

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Footloose (1984) Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
A dated rebellion tale.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 26 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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."

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).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the music and movement in Footloose 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRosaelf2006 January 3, 2019


Footloose is a good movie and it is only rated PG. This movie was from 1984, most kids should know not to do what they see in tv.
Parent of a 4, 11, 14, and 16-year-old Written bytheprincessmommy October 26, 2012

Disappointed in the Other Reviews Here

I am so disappointed with CS's review as well as the kids' and other parents' reviews of this movie. I definitely should have previewed it mysel... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBecca90210 June 15, 2020

Great Movie

The movie is really great! Sure there's some swearing, people smoke & drink but we already talk about this at school so whats the big deal? I kne... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 20, 2021

Good I Guess.

This movie is a chick flick but i guess it is good. great for kids. innuendo. language.

What's the story?

In FOOTLOOSE, 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 Footloose 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how we stand up for our values. How do the characters stand up for their values in Footloose?

  • 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dancing and music

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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