I’m so glad I got to grow up in the 1980s. I remember the soundtrack to Footloose and especially the brilliantly infectious theme song by Kenny Loggins but I had never seen the film it belonged to. Until now. Would the film be the huge piece of 80’s goodness that I hoped it would be?
The answer is YES! This film is so 80’s it instantly took me back.
John Lithgow plays a preacher who has outlawed rock n roll music and dancing from the small town of Bomont that he presides over. Thankfully his daughter, Ariel, is a free-spirited teen played by Lori Singer. These bans also jar with Ren (played by Kevin Bacon) who has just moved from Chicago. Can the teens of this small town turn things around?
Footloose may be 80’s cheese but it’s aged incredibly well. Gorgeously photographed (those mountain landscapes are beautiful), a soundtrack to die for (there’s a game of chicken whilst Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler blares out from a boombox) and a storyline which seems to be mirroring and criticising real-life organisations who were also trying to ban certain pop music (the PMRC was formed the year before Footloose was made and released). There’s also scenes that have a massive emotional pull. The ever-brilliant John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest are fantastic.
Ironically, the events depicted in Footloose met the ire of the British Board of Film Classification. CIC who distributed the film wanted a PG rating but were told by the BBFC that it would, if not cut, be released as a 15 certificate. CIC relented and more than 2 minutes were cut from the film. These cuts were reinstated years later and Footloose can now be seen fully uncut here in the UK. A film depicting a puritanical preacher who seems to hate people having fun comes under fire by a puritanical censorship board in the UK. Life imitates art imitates life.
4 stars out of 5