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Footloose (1984) Poster

(1984)

Trivia

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Loosely based on events that took place in the small, rural, and extremely religious farming town of Elmore City, Oklahoma in 1978. Dancing had been banned for nearly ninety years, until a group of high school teenagers challenged it.
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In a 2013 interview with Howard Stern, Kevin Bacon admitted that he has actually tipped DJs at weddings NOT to play Footloose. He stated that people expect him to dance the song as he did in the movie. In truth, while he did do some of the dancing there was also a dancing double for him as well.
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The scenes where Chris Penn's character had to learn how to dance were added to the script because Penn really could not dance.
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The dancing feet in the opening credit sequence contained many of the cast and crew. Over 150 different pairs of feet were shot. The dancer with the gold shoes was Kenny Loggins.
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Chris Penn could not dance, so they had to teach him in terms of what he already knew: wrestling.
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Kevin Bacon was offered the leading role for the Stephen King movie Christine (1983), at the same time that he was asked to do a screentest for Footloose (1984). The producers had to convince Bacon that turning down a sure role in "Christine" for a part he might not even get in "Footloose" was the wiser choice. The producers told him that if he got the part for "Footloose", the role would make him a star. Thirty seconds into the screentest, Bacon was offered the part. And then he had to fight to keep it because producer Shari Lansing said he wasn't sexy enough to headline a youth oriented movie like this. It took Herbert Ross weeks of pleading with her that he WAS sexy; and it took various new screentests to change her mind. But it did work and the rest is history.
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Kevin Bacon based his hairstyle on rocker Sting's spiky hairdo as he was a big fan of The Police at the time. He mentioned the band in one of the scenes.
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During the filming of 3rd Rock from the Sun: Dr. Solomon's Traveling Alien Show (1998), one of the characters playing a circus strongman took John Lithgow aside to share a personal story with him. He confided that he was from a small town in Louisiana where his own father, a Baptist minister, would not allow the kids dance or listen to rock 'n' roll music. When he saw 'Footloose' he explained that Lithgow's 'reverend' was the epitome of his own father. After he brought his father to see the film, without any warning of its plot, his father was so touched by Lithgow's performance, the man said that he was the first of 6 children that were permitted to attend their high school prom.
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According to Kevin Bacon, his credited main dance double in the famous warehouse scene, Peter Tramm, was married at the time to Marine Jahan, who was the famously uncredited dance double for Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (1983).
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With the Principal's knowledge, 24-year-old Kevin Bacon attended the Payson Utah High School as "Ren McCormack", a transfer student from Philadelphia to get into his role. With his narrow tie and new-wave haircut, he was treated pretty much like in the film. Bacon gratefully left with the location scouts on the afternoon of the first day.
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John Lithgow filmed scenes for Terms of Endearment (1983) while on a break from shooting this film.
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The character of Willard Hewitt (not even called by that name in the original script) was specifically re-written by screenwriter Dean Pitchford with Chris Penn in mind.
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In the DVD commentary, Kevin Bacon revealed that the co-ed extras in the locker room scene were paid twenty dollars apiece to appear nude.
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Kevin Bacon broke out in hives around his midsection when he had to film the City Council scene where he makes the case for holding a prom dance. The actor says he is uncomfortable when speaking in public, but has never had a reoccurrence of hives.
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Lehi (named from a Book of Mormon prophet) is the town where the Lehi Roller Mills resides. The Lehi Roller Mills is an actual historic grain house as depicted in the film. It is still operating in Utah (as of 2021). This film is often considered Lehi's claim to fame.
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Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow are only nine and twelve years older, respectively, than Lori Singer, who plays their daughter.
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Daryl Hannah turned down the offer to play Ariel Moore in order to play Madison in Splash (1983). Elizabeth McGovern turned down the role of Ariel in order to play Deborah Gelly in Once Upon a Time in America (1984). Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Tilly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Heather Locklear, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jodie Foster, Phoebe Cates, Tatum O'Neal, Bridget Fonda, Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, and Brooke Shields were all offered the role of Ariel, but turned it down.
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In the liner notes for the re-released "Footloose" soundtrack (1999), there's a brief introduction by Kenny Loggins, which mentions that the script for the film was loosely based on actual events which transpired in the young life of his longtime friend, Dean Pitchford.
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Gene Siskel was one of the few critics that liked this movie. Although he complained, "parts of the plot are silly. For instance, if the preacher is so strict, why does he let his daughter walk around with tight jeans and no bra? But then, that's really for us. (The audience)."
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The Footloose story was based by writer Dean Pitchford on a real town: ". It Was Based on a True Story. Footloose's Bomont is loosely based on Elmore City, a town in Oklahoma known for the saying "If the South is the Bible belt, then we are the buckle." Dancing really was outlawed, until the juniors at the local high school asked to allow dancing at their prom.". The characters of Ariel, Ren, The Reverend and Chuck Cranston all had real life prototypes. Said one resident, "the movie was just a Hollywood exageration of the truth."
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Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were both slated to play the lead. The casting directors were impressed with Cruise because of the famous underwear dance sequence in Risky Business (1983), but he was unavailable for the part because he was filming All the Right Moves (1983). Lowe auditioned three times and had dancing ability and the "neutral teen" look that director Herbert Ross wanted, but he pulled his knee, and the injury prevented him from taking the part. After watching Diner (1982), Ross had to convince the producers to go with Kevin Bacon.
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Frances Lee McCain, who plays Ren's mother, is only fourteen years older than Kevin Bacon.
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The two girls who play Ren's little cousins, Mimi and Meghan Broadhead, are actual sisters and are residents of Utah. In addition to Mimi and Meghan Broadhead, their father J. Paul Broadhead appears as Mayor Dooley in the town hall scene and their mother and two brothers play extras.
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John Travolta was offered the role of Ren McCormack, but turned it down.
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Craft services had a very hard time keeping Pepperidge Farms Mint Milanos stocked for the cast. Mint Milanos were the favorite snack food for everyone working on the movie. They had to go as far as Salt Lake City, 30 miles to the north, to search stores for these cookies.
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Kevin Bacon sheepishly admits in interviews that five different people "wore the suit", i.e., five different stunt dancers did stand in for Bacon during the dance scenes.
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The movie was adapted to a Broadway musical and opened on October 22, 1998 at the Richard Rodgers Theater and ran for 709 performances. It was nominated for four Tony Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Dee Hoty as Vi Moore), Best Choreography, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical.
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Madonna and Haviland Morris auditioned for the role of Ariel Moore.
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Michael Cimino was originally hired as director. He was fired when he asked for a $250,000 advance for re-writing the entire screenplay prior to shooting. (The movie's total budget was only $7.5 million.)
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The high school in this film is located in Payson, Utah, 23 miles away from Lehi Roller Mills where Ren works.
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Hollywood scribe Dean Pitchford penned this movie. His last big movie before this was Fame; for which he co-wrote the lyrics with composer Michael Gore.
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In his biopic "Still Alright", Kenny Loggins explained that at the final scene where the kids dance off their prom night, the actors weren't actually dancing to his song "Footloose", but rather to Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode". Loggins' song was added in during post-production.
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None of the stars in this movie are professional dancers. Lori Singer, Kevin Bacon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Penn, Diane Weist and John Lithgow are not dancers. Although Singer and Parker at least have some musical experience; Singer was in the TV show Fame (1982) before this and Parker starred in Annie on Broadway.
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Christopher Atkins was originally signed to play Ren McCormack.
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Kevin Bacon played an Omega Theta Pi fraternity pledge for the fictional Faber College in National Lampoon's Animal House six years prior to his High School role in Footloose.
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This is the first movie that John Lithgow has played a preacher. The second time was in the movie Kinsey (2004). Coincidentally, in both movies he is seen at the beginning of each movie preaching to a congregation about the corrupt values of that period's society.
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Christopher Penn would later co-star with Lori Singer again in Short Cuts.
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Michael Cimino's proposed re-imagination of the film was said to be a musical-comedy inspired by The Grapes of Wrath (1940).
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Although based on the true story of banned dancing in tiny Elmore City, OK, Dean Pitchford actually did research on small-town high school life in nearby Ardmore, OK, a town of about 25,000. Pitchford spent time at one of the city's high schools (Ardmore HS) interviewing students and spending time socializing with them after school hours. Dancing, however, never had been banned by the city or the largest school district in Ardmore.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2004 list of the top 100 America's Greatest Music in the Movies for the song "Footloose."
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The song "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler features in Shrek 2 (2004) Jennifer Saunders does a cover of the song. John Lithgow voiced Lord Farquaad in Shrek (2001).
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One of three dance/musical films with the letter 'F' on its title to get released during the 1980's. The other films of the Triple F are Fame (1980) and Flashdance (1983).
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Both Dianne Wiest and Sarah Jessica Parker have played witches. Dianne Wiest played Aunt Jet in Practical Magic (1998). Sarah Jessica Parker starred in Hocus Pocus (1993) as Sarah Sanderson.
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Herbert Ross choreographed Funny Girl along with many other Hollywood musicals. He also directed another homespun ode to Americana, Steel Magnolias, five years later; which was another big hit for him. Although behind the scenes he was accused of being a very cruel taskmaster and bullying his leading ladies.
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Martha Quinn unsuccessfully auditioned for a role in this movie.
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The MPAA originally rated the film "R" due to a single use of the f-word and some male nudity. After this was removed the film was re-rated "PG". The 1984 releases predates the PG-13 rating by several months which is the rating the film would likely gotten uncut.
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Final film of Michele Laurita.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

In the scene where Reverend Shaw shows Ren a picture of his deceased son Bobby, John Lithgow showed a photograph of his real son.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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