By Randy White,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
A dated rebellion tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
Fisticuffs. One bloody nose and one person knocked out.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Fairly mild, including "asses" and "bulls--t." The worst is probably "bitch in heat."
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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).
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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.
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Based on 13 parent reviews
I liked it but it's not for impressionable young teens.
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Dont ignore the kid reviews with this one
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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?
- In theaters: January 1, 1984
- On DVD or streaming: July 23, 2003
- Cast: John Lithgow, Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer
- Director: Herbert Ross
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Friendship, High School
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mature themes.
- Last updated: April 3, 2023
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