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A struggling artist living in Los Angeles meets a girl who may hold the key to his happiness.

Director:

Robert Greenwald
1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olivia Newton-John ... Kira
Gene Kelly ... Danny McGuire
Michael Beck ... Sonny Malone
James Sloyan ... Simpson
Dimitra Arliss ... Helen
Katie Hanley Katie Hanley ... Sandra
Fred McCarren ... Richie
Renn Woods ... Jo (as Ren Woods)
Sandahl Bergman ... Muse #1
Lynn Latham Lynn Latham ... Muse #2
Melinda Phelps Melinda Phelps ... Muse #3
Cherise Bates Cherise Bates ... Muse #4 (as Cherise Bate)
Juliette Marshall Juliette Marshall ... Muse #5
Marilyn Tokuda Marilyn Tokuda ... Muse #6
Yvette Van Voorhees Yvette Van Voorhees ... Muse #7
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Storyline

In Los Angeles, artist Sonny Malone reluctantly returns to his job at Airflow Records - his job to do poster-sized exact renderings of album covers for on-site promotions, the renderings to be as close to the originals as possible - as he could not make a living as a freelance artist, where he could truly use his artistic vision. On his first day back at Airflow, he gets sidetracked by the thoughts of a young woman who literally roller skates into him. What he is unaware of is that their initial encounter and subsequent encounters are not by accident as she, Kira, a muse, was awakened by his lamentations about his art, she sent to help him achieve his artistic vision. This day, Sonny also meets aging Danny McGuire, a former big band musician turned construction company owner, he who wants to return to his roots by owning a live music venue. Danny initially and Sonny also do not know that their meeting is not by accident as Sonny will soon discover that Kira was part of his past. Sonny... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In Xanadu a golden goddess did decree... Welcome to your own musical fantasy. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 August 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Xanadú See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,471,595, 10 August 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,762,571
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (London premiere Print)| Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was adapted into a Broadway musical, which caused a lot of controversy due to the poor reception of the film. However, the musical was actually a satire of the film, and was therefore praised for its humor. It opened in 2007, starring Kerry Butler as Kira and Cheyenne Jackson as Sonny. The show ran for over 500 performances and was nominated for the Best Musical and Best Book Tony's. See more »

Goofs

When Sonny borrows the moped to follow Kira, the weather is warm and the sky is clear. A few moments later on the pier, the weather has become misty and the sky overcast. See more »

Quotes

Sonny: [Sonny hears a clarinet being played, and goes to investigate, finding Danny McGuire sitting on some rocks] Hey mister, what are you doing up there?
Danny McGuire: Hope you don't mind a little noon-time music, kid. A little lunch time serenade.
Sonny: Oh, I don't mind. It's kinda nice. But I was just wondering where they laid out the body. I mean, you got something a little more upbeat?
Danny McGuire: Sure!
[Plays a short, lively upbeat piece]
Danny McGuire: Better?
Sonny: [chuckles] Well, at least it's faster!
Danny McGuire: [chuckles] Here, gimme a hand kid.
Sonny: Sure.
Danny McGuire: Boy ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

"THE END" comes up on the screen, in big old fashioned letters, before the end credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in I Love the '80s: 1980 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Fall
Performed by Electric Light Orchestra
Words and Music by Jeff Lynne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Xanadu" is by no means the worst musical ever made.
8 July 2006 | by emmett-glennSee all my reviews

I have been a fan of ONJ since 1973. At that time, she had already been in three movies. She was only 18 years old when she appeared in an Australian flick called "Christmastime Down Under." In 1970, she starred in a film called "Toomorrow," a science-fiction fantasy that involved alien abduction. Then in 1972, she was in a movie with Cliff Richard where she sang her latest record ("Banks of the Ohio") and a duet with Cliff.

Flash forward 8 years and history is repeated with "Xanadu," only this time Olivia is the star and Cliff joins her for a song ("Suddenly").

Filming started on "Xanadu" with no script. All that existed was an 18-page treatment (plot summary) and an overarching theme: The Big Band Era meets the 80s Rock Era.

Because everyone hired to work on the film was given this overall theme to work with, they all went off to their respective departments and started working: Set designers began designing sets, location scouts went out looking for shooting sites, costume designers started their work...and while all this was going on, development of the script was largely ignored.

The music was written and recorded long before what can be called the "final script" was written. On each day of shooting, the actors were handed a few pages of the script that had been written only the night before. By the time principal filming was done and the film was assembled, so many incongruities and inconsistencies in the film were apparent that scenes had to be rewritten, re-shot, or cut entirely.

Olivia was somewhat of a phenomenon by 1980. She was already named the most successful female recording artist, out-selling even Barbra Streisand. And she happened to star in the most successful musical film of all time: "Grease." At the time, studios came at her from every which way, offering handsome deals so that they could cash in on her enormous commercial appeal.

The producers of "Grease" also approached Olivia with another project, but Olivia's management balked at the money they offered. Allan Carr, the more vocal of the "Grease" producers, said of Olivia's refusal, "She's a pretty face, but she ain't no Streisand." The film Allan Carr wanted Olivia Newton-John to star in was called "Disco Heaven," which was later retitled as "Can't Stop the Music." Instead, the lead role went to Valerie Perrine ("Superman: The Movie"). Her costars...none other than The Village People.

"Can't Stop the Music," although not without a charm of its own, is arguably THE worst musical motion picture of all time.

Another strong contender for worst musical motion picture of all time would have to be Olivia's other film, "Toomorrow." The movie was produced by the same folks who played a role in creating "The Monkees." Because "The Monkees" was such a money-making concept in the US, producers felt they could repeat the success in England. While The Monkees were enjoying success on television in the United States, Toomorrow (also the name of the musical quartet) would star in a series of big screen films in the cinema. Toomorrow would never enjoy such success. Their first outing lasted only a week in theaters before it was pulled from theaters.

Perhaps its failure had something to do with the music. The songs and the singing in "Toomorrow" are poor. The only member of the four-member group that does not sing off key is Newton-John. There is no choreography to speak of. Instead, people dance in place and, I must admit, it is amusing to see Newton-John gyrate like Goldie Hawn did on "Laugh-In." Don Kirshner, the man credited for having invented The Monkees, The Archies, and Toomorrow, still holds the rights to the 1970 movie. He is rumored to have said that he will never allow the film to be released as long as he is alive. In fact, during her own hey-day, Olivia refused to acknowledge she ever made the film. Today, however, she embraces it, having recently hosted a successful and fun midnight showing of the movie.

Many people feel the saving grace of "Xanadu" is its music. Critics said the only positive thing to say about "Toomorrow" was its special effects. For its time, the special effects were cutting edge (it was one of the first movies to incorporate CGI on film). Vic Kemper (who recently passed away) is the man behind the cinematography and special effects for both "Xanadu" and "Toomorrow." "Xanadu" effectively put a huge black mark on Newton-John's credibility as a big screen actress ("Two of a Kind" put to rest any doubt on the matter), but I am glad that Olivia is still alive to see "Xanadu" and "Toomorrow" finally get the acknowledgment and recognition the films deserve, even if their worth as works of art is found only in their nostalgic value.

For a musical that had its songs written before the script, the film came together nicely in the final analysis. And while Newton-John is no longer bad-mouthing the movie when asked, co-star Michael Beck ("Sonny") is still bitter. He made a telephone appearance during a "This Is Your Life" program honoring Newton-John a few years back and his snide comments made Newton-John squirm in her seat.

Gene Kelly never mentioned regret for having participated in the film, although he did say something was terribly wrong with the way modern movies are made. God rest his soul.

Sadly, it was announced that another member of the "Xanadu" cast has passed away. Fred McCarren, the young actor who played Richie (Sonny's co-worker artist friend) died of cancer on July 2, 2006. He was 45. God rest his soul.

I am deducting two stars because the makers of this film should have known better than to start filming without a script.


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