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Footloose (1984)

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

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 17 reviews

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
Parent of a 15 year old Written byTsion August 29, 2010

Ultra Corny and Ultra Fun!

FOOTLOOSE is a nostalgia joyride that takes the form of a 80s quasi-musical. It's a ton of fun to watch, especially with friends. I admit, some of it is... Continue reading
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
Kid, 12 years old 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 hi... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byGothicchild September 28, 2012

Footloose, A Film Of The Greatest Childhoods

This film was one of the greatest childhood memories of myself and my family. It inspired so many people to not care what others thought and just be themselves... Continue reading

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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love dancing and music

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