Footloose (1984)

PG | 106 mins | Drama, Romance | 17 February 1984

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Dean Pitchford

Cinematographer:

Ric Waite

Editor:

Paul Hirsch

Production Designer:

Ron Hobbs

Production Companies:

Paramount Pictures , Indieprod
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HISTORY

Inspired to create a new approach to the movie musical, writer and lyricist Dean Pitchford originated the idea for Footloose around 1979, according to production notes in AMPAS library files and a Feb 1984 Esquire article. During the research process, he learned of actual bans on dancing and rock ‘n’ roll music in several U. S. locales, and recognized an ideal context to introduce a story about individual freedom in a repressive community. After Pitchford received an Academy Award in 1980, with Michael Gore, for writing the title song to Fame (1979, see entry), he earned the opportunity to present the concept for Footloose, which marked his feature screenplay debut.
       Pitchford began working on the script after selling the idea to executive producer Daniel Melnick. As reported in a 14 Dec 1982 DV article, Melnick originally developed the project at Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation through his company Indieprod. When the script went into turnaround, Paramount Pictures acquired the property, offering Melnick a “pay-or-play” commitment around mid-1982.
       According to the Esquire article, director Herbert Ross was initially enlisted for the project, but during extended negotiations for his deal, he left Footloose to direct another picture. Paramount and its president Michael Eisner offered the directing job to Michael Cimino, whose reputation was tarnished after helming the $44 million box-office disaster, Heaven’s Gate (1980, see entry). To protect itself, the studio included a “substantial penalty” in Cimino’s contract if he went over-budget, and a sizable bonus for completing the film under the $7.5 million budget, as reported in ... More Less

Inspired to create a new approach to the movie musical, writer and lyricist Dean Pitchford originated the idea for Footloose around 1979, according to production notes in AMPAS library files and a Feb 1984 Esquire article. During the research process, he learned of actual bans on dancing and rock ‘n’ roll music in several U. S. locales, and recognized an ideal context to introduce a story about individual freedom in a repressive community. After Pitchford received an Academy Award in 1980, with Michael Gore, for writing the title song to Fame (1979, see entry), he earned the opportunity to present the concept for Footloose, which marked his feature screenplay debut.
       Pitchford began working on the script after selling the idea to executive producer Daniel Melnick. As reported in a 14 Dec 1982 DV article, Melnick originally developed the project at Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation through his company Indieprod. When the script went into turnaround, Paramount Pictures acquired the property, offering Melnick a “pay-or-play” commitment around mid-1982.
       According to the Esquire article, director Herbert Ross was initially enlisted for the project, but during extended negotiations for his deal, he left Footloose to direct another picture. Paramount and its president Michael Eisner offered the directing job to Michael Cimino, whose reputation was tarnished after helming the $44 million box-office disaster, Heaven’s Gate (1980, see entry). To protect itself, the studio included a “substantial penalty” in Cimino’s contract if he went over-budget, and a sizable bonus for completing the film under the $7.5 million budget, as reported in the 14 Dec 1982 DV. However, the terms of the contract were never realized since Cimino left the project about a month later, according to an announcement in the 18 Jan 1983 DV. Reportedly, he wanted to rewrite the script for an additional $200,000-$250,000, but the studio and Melnick were opposed, due to concerns about meeting a spring 1983 start date and avoiding disruption from a potential Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike that summer. Producer Craig Zadan added in the Esquire article that Cimino had a much “darker” concept for the story compared to the “entertainment” version envisioned by the producers. Herbert Ross returned to Footloose when his other project was postponed.
       According to a 24 May 1983 HR production charts, principal photography began 9 May 1983 in UT. The fictional town of “Bomont” incorporated the following UT locations: American Fork, Lehi, Payson, and Provo, as stated in production notes.
       To prepare for what the 2 Mar 1984 LAT called his “first major role,” Kevin Bacon went undercover for a few hours as a high school student in Payson. The experience helped convince the twenty-five-year-old actor that he could pass as seventeen-year-old student “Ren MacCormack.” According to a 23 Jan 1984 People magazine item, approximately ten percent of Bacon’s performance required stunt doubles or dancers. Peter Tramm was responsible for filling in during the complicated dance numbers, and gymnastic consultant Chuck Gaylord was used during the horizontal bar scene.
       Pitchford contributed lyrics to the nine original songs in the film. Production notes reveal that all the compositions, except for the title track Footloose, were written after the film’s completion, allowing the music and lyrics to directly refer to the character and action. During shooting, Herbert Ross used “role model” songs, which reflected the type of music the scene required, as explained in the Esquire article. Later, a musician would compose a similar sounding, original song that would be dubbed into the scene and synchronized with the visuals. Pitchford explained in an 11 Feb 1984 Billboard article that he “wanted the songs to be a subtext for the film,” and departed from the conventional method of using existing or leftover tracks to build a soundtrack album. On 20 Jan 1984, HR announced that CBS Records would release three singles from the Footloose album before the film opened in theaters on 17 Feb 1984, which marked a “first” for the record company. Later that year, the 31 Aug 1984 LAT noted that the popular album had produced six singles in the Top 40 charts, and sold approximately 5.3 million copies.
       As reported in the 22 Feb 1984 Var, the picture took in approximately $8.5 million on 1,384 screens during its debut weekend. A 1 Aug 1984 Var article announced that Paramount would re-release the film in theaters on 31 Aug 1984, the same day as the home video launch.
       A 16 Mar 1984 LAHExam article revealed that producer Melnick would be donating two percent of his proceeds from the film to People for the American Way, a non-profit organization that advocates for the First Amendment and protests censorship in the U.S. The group provided research to the production about current prohibitions involving dancing, books, and records.
       The film received two Academy Award nominations in the category of Music (Original Song), for “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy.” The title track from Footloose ranked #96 on AFI’s 2004 list of 100 Years…100 Songs.
       A 28 Mar 2003 DV article reported that Footloose ultimately earned $81 million at the domestic box-office.
       On 22 Oct 1998, the musical Footloose debuted on Broadway and ran for 709 performances, until 2 Jul 2000. The production was based on Pitchford’s original screenplay. He provided the lyrics and co-wrote the stage adaptation with Walter Bobbie. Pitchford was also involved in the 2011 feature film remake, also titled Footloose (see entry), and starring Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough.
       The last name of “Cartoon Music” composer, J. [Jeff] Michael, is misspelled in end credits as “Michale.” J. Michael was a pseudonym for composer Norman Prescott.
       End credits state: “The producers wish to thank The Utah Film Development Office.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Billboard
11 Feb 1984.
---
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1982
p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
18 Jan 1983
p. 1, 42.
Daily Variety
28 Mar 2003
p. 1, 32.
Esquire
Feb 1984
p. 94.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1984
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1984
p. 3, 68.
LAHExam
16 Mar 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Feb 1984
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
2 Mar 1984
p. 1, 16.
Los Angeles Times
31 Aug 1984
Section H, p. 1, 12.
New York Times
17 Feb 1984
p. 12.
People
23 Jan 1984.
---
Variety
15 Feb 1984
p. 24.
Variety
22 Feb 1984
p. 3, 36.
Variety
1 Aug 1984
p. 3, 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Daniel Melnick Production
A Herbert Ross Film
An Indieprod Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
Women's costumer
Men's costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Score adpt
Mus ed
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed, Wallaworks
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Supv A.D.R. ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec services by
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opticals by
Titles by
Titles by
DANCE
Assoc choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Pub
New York casting by
Loc casting by
Assoc to Messrs. Rachmil and Zadan
Secy to Mr. Schwartz
Gymnastic consultant
Transportation coord
STAND INS
Stunt dancer
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
Original songs: “Footloose,” performed by Kenny Loggins, written by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford, produced by Kenny Loggins with Lee DeCarlo, Kenny Loggins courtesy of Columbia Records
“The Girl Gets Around,” performed by Sammy Hagar, written by Sammy Hagar and Dean Pitchford, produced by Sammy Hagar, Sammy Hagar courtesy of Geffen Records
“Dancing In The Sheets,” performed by Shalamar, written by Bill Wolfer and Dean Pitchford, produced by Bill Wolfer, Shalamar courtesy of Solar Records
+
SONGS
Original songs: “Footloose,” performed by Kenny Loggins, written by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford, produced by Kenny Loggins with Lee DeCarlo, Kenny Loggins courtesy of Columbia Records
“The Girl Gets Around,” performed by Sammy Hagar, written by Sammy Hagar and Dean Pitchford, produced by Sammy Hagar, Sammy Hagar courtesy of Geffen Records
“Dancing In The Sheets,” performed by Shalamar, written by Bill Wolfer and Dean Pitchford, produced by Bill Wolfer, Shalamar courtesy of Solar Records
“Holding Out For A Hero,” performed by Bonnie Tyler, written by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford, produced by Jim Steinman, Bonnie Tyler courtesy of CBS Records
“Never,” performed by Moving Pictures, written by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford, produced by John Boylan, Moving Pictures courtesy of Network Records and Wheatley Records P.T.Y. LTD.
“Somebody’s Eyes,” performed by Karla Bonoff, written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, produced by John Boylan, Karla Bonoff courtesy of Columbia Records
“Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” performed by Deniece Williams, written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, produced by George Duke, Deniece Williams courtesy of Columbia Records
“I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man),” performed by Kenny Loggins, written by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford, produced by David Foster and Kenny Loggins, Kenny Loggins courtesy of Columbia Records
“Almost Paradise…Love Theme From Footloose,” performed by Mike Reno (of “Loverboy”) and Ann Wilson (of “Heart”), written by Eric Carmen and Dean Pitchford, produced by Keith Olsen, Mike Reno courtesy of Columbia Records, Ann Wilson courtesy of Epic Records
Additional Music: “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” performed by Foreigner, written by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Hurts So Good,” performed by John Cougar Mellencamp, written by John Cougar Mellencamp and George Green, courtesy of Riva Records, Inc. and Polygram Records, Inc.
“Bang Your Head (Metal Health),” performed by Quiet Riot, written by Carlos Cavazo, Kevin DuBrow, Frankie Banali and Tony Cavazo, produced by Spencer Proffer for Pasha, courtesy of Pasha/CBS Records
“Cartoon Music,” By Y. Blais and J. Michale.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 February 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 17 February 1984
Production Date:
began 9 May 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
17 April 1984
Copyright Number:
PA207390
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27174
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Following the break-up of her marriage, Ethel MacCormack and her teenage son, Ren, move to the small town of Bomont from Chicago, Illinois, and stay with relatives, Wes and Lulu. On Sunday, they attend Reverend Shaw Moore’s frenzied sermon, which includes comments about “obscene” rock ‘n’ roll music. Although the preaching bores Ren, he is intrigued with Moore’s beautiful daughter, Ariel. When Ren arrives for his first day at Bomont High playing loud music in his car and wearing a leather jacket, the other students stare. He befriends Willard Hewitt, who informs him that public dancing is illegal in Bomont, ever since a group of teenagers were killed in a car accident, while partying. Believing rock ‘n’ roll and dancing provoked the tragedy, the entire town supported the new law. Ren experiences the strict principles when police stop him and confiscate his cassette tape. After talking back to Ariel’s conceited boyfriend, Chuck Cranston, Ren is challenged to a “chicken race” on tractors. Before the start, Chuck smokes marijuana, while “city boy” Ren receives a quick lesson on operating the equipment from Willard and his other new friend, Woody. At the height of the race, Ren prepares to give in, but realizes his shoelace is caught on the pedal and is unable to leave the seat. He wins the bravery contest when Chuck jumps off his tractor before they collide. Ren’s victory encourages Ariel’s crush on the cute newcomer. Meanwhile, Ren continues to draw unwanted attention at the school, despite his best efforts to remain out of trouble. Although he does not use illegal drugs, a ... +


Following the break-up of her marriage, Ethel MacCormack and her teenage son, Ren, move to the small town of Bomont from Chicago, Illinois, and stay with relatives, Wes and Lulu. On Sunday, they attend Reverend Shaw Moore’s frenzied sermon, which includes comments about “obscene” rock ‘n’ roll music. Although the preaching bores Ren, he is intrigued with Moore’s beautiful daughter, Ariel. When Ren arrives for his first day at Bomont High playing loud music in his car and wearing a leather jacket, the other students stare. He befriends Willard Hewitt, who informs him that public dancing is illegal in Bomont, ever since a group of teenagers were killed in a car accident, while partying. Believing rock ‘n’ roll and dancing provoked the tragedy, the entire town supported the new law. Ren experiences the strict principles when police stop him and confiscate his cassette tape. After talking back to Ariel’s conceited boyfriend, Chuck Cranston, Ren is challenged to a “chicken race” on tractors. Before the start, Chuck smokes marijuana, while “city boy” Ren receives a quick lesson on operating the equipment from Willard and his other new friend, Woody. At the height of the race, Ren prepares to give in, but realizes his shoelace is caught on the pedal and is unable to leave the seat. He wins the bravery contest when Chuck jumps off his tractor before they collide. Ren’s victory encourages Ariel’s crush on the cute newcomer. Meanwhile, Ren continues to draw unwanted attention at the school, despite his best efforts to remain out of trouble. Although he does not use illegal drugs, a teacher falsely accuses him of possessing a marijuana cigarette. At home, Ren defends himself when the stern Wes hears about the incident. Needing to release tension, Ren drives to a warehouse and dances to loud music blaring from his car, until the flirtatious Ariel interrupts him. She takes him to a secret hideout, called “the Yearbook,” where the walls are lined with forbidden writings. As Ariel arrives home late, her disappointed father forbids her to see Ren again, calling him a “troublemaker.” The reverend later arranges to have Ren removed from the gymnastics team. Tired of the attacks, Ren prepares to fight back and suggests to Willard that they organize a prom dance. The personable Rev. Moore, meanwhile, routinely visits residents around Bomont, confirming his influence and authority. One night, Ren drives Ariel, Willard, and Willard’s girl friend, Rusty, across the state line to introduce them to a dance club. Everyone enjoys the evening, even though Willard is embarrassed about his inability to dance. On the way home, Ariel reminds Ren about the daredevil stunt at Crosby Bridge that killed a group of teenagers, prompting the town to outlaw public dancing. She informs him that her older brother, Bobby, was one of the victims. At the Moore residence, the reverend slaps his daughter for the first time when she is impertinent regarding her whereabouts the previous night. Moore’s unassuming wife, Vi, speaks up and criticizes her husband for his failure to communicate with Ariel. To get approval for the prom dance, Woody informs Ren that he must face the town council, whose members include Rev. Moore. In the meantime, Ren teaches his friend Willard how to dance. When Chuck confronts Ariel about her relationship with Ren, a brawl ensues and Ariel is left with a black eye. She seeks support from Ren and gives him a music box for standing up to her father. Their relationship progresses as Ren finally kisses her. The night before the council meeting, a group of bullies throw a brick with the phrase, “Burn in Hell” through the window of Ren’s residence. The brick lands in bedroom of Wes and Lulu’s young daughters, who wake up screaming. Blaming Ren, Wes mentions other incidents of harassment against the family. Although Ethel loses her job on account of Ren’s actions, she supports her son’s cause. The meeting room is packed as Ren calls for the abolishment of the public dancing ban. When Moore explains that alcohol, drugs, and “spiritual corruption” often accompany certain types of music and dancing, several adults in the audience applaud, and the council appears ready to oppose Ren’s motion. However, Ren is given the chance to respond and cites passages from the Bible that refer to dancing. His argument leaves everyone speechless. At the mill where Ren works part-time, his boss, Andy Beamis, suggests he hold the dance on the other side of the railroad tracks, which marks the town limits of neighboring Bayson, and prove to Moore that no one will be corrupted. At the church, Ariel argues with her father about his position and confesses she is not a virgin. Before the shocked reverend can react, he is called to the library where members of his congregation are burning “unsuitable” books. He objects to their actions and orders everyone to go home. In a final appeal, Ren visits Moore, and the two appear to develop more respect for each other, but the reverend tells Ariel he is still struggling with the issue. At his Sunday sermon, a repentant Moore discusses the lessons of parenting and learning to trust one’s children. He concludes by accepting the plan to host the dance at a warehouse in Bayson. The senior class immediately begins decorating the space. On the night of the event, Moore and Vi drive to the warehouse, but remain outside. They embrace, realizing the conflict has brought them closer together. The bully Chuck and his friends start a fistfight with Willard, but Ren comes to his friend’s aid, and they defeat the thugs. The two return to the party with their girl friends and show off their dance moves, along with the rest of their classmates. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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