Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

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.

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/Streaming 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

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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 just good to laugh at, but a lot of it is genuine entertainment that has you smiling and tapping your feet. The whole plot of the movie is about teenage rebellion against authoritative figures, so if you think your kids will be inspired negatively by that, for sure don't let them watch. However, for mature pre-teens and teenagers, this movie is a lot of fun. There is some questionable content. Teenagers smoke (both cigarettes and weed), drink, and do dangerous stunts with their cars without any apparent consequences. The drugs are a big problem in the movie. Although a teen with marijuana is portrayed as a negative role model, the main protagonists of the film drink and smoke, and are praised for being rebels when they do so. Make sure your kids are mature enough to know that this is wrong. In addition to that, there is some brief non-sexual nudity (naked guys are seen in a locker room from the back and side), and some talk is made of how the pastor's daughter is promiscuous (she is seen putting boots back on after sex with her boyfriend). The same girl tells her father that she's not a virgin, and he uses words like "fornication" to describe sexual behavior. There is some suggestive dancing, but nothing major. There is constant teenage language like "s**t" and "d**n", but it's nothing that your kids aren't exposed to in school. A teenage girl is beaten up by her boyfriend (we see her with a black eye and cuts on her face), and two boys play chicken with tractors.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 highly recommeded it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bybaconbrother4 April 9, 2008