Footloose (1984) Movie Poster

Trivia for Footloose (1984)

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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.
  • 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.
  • The movie was adapted to a Broadway musical and opened on October 22, 1998 at the Richard Rodgers Theater, 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.
  • Chris Penn could not dance, so they had to teach him in terms of what he already knew: wrestling.
  • 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.
  • John Travolta was offered the role of Ren McCormack, but turned it down.
  • 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.
  • Lehi (named for a prophet described in the Book of Mormon) is the town where the Lehi Rollermills resides. The Lehi Rollermills is actually an old time grain house as depicted in the film and it's still (2012) operating in Utah. The film is often considered Lehi's claim to fame.
  • 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.)
  • Daryl Hannah turned down the offer to play Ariel Moore in order to play Madison in Splash (1984). 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Christopher Atkins was originally signed to play Ren McCormack.
  • The scenes where Chris Penn's character had to learn how to dance were added to the script because Penn really could not dance.
  • John Lithgow filmed scenes for Terms of Endearment (1983) while on a break from shooting this film.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Madonna and Haviland Morris auditioned for the role of Ariel Moore.
  • 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.
  • Frances Lee McCain, who plays Ren's mother, is only fourteen years older than Kevin Bacon.
  • 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 scene.
  • Per Kevin Bacon, Peter Tramm, his credited main dance double in the famous warehouse scene, was married at the time to Marine Jahan, the famously uncredited dance double for Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (1983).
  • Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow are only nine and twelve years older, respectively, than Lori Singer, who plays their daughter.
  • The song "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler features in Shrek 2 (2004). John Lithgow voiced Lord Farquaad in Shrek (2001).
  • The high school that is in film is located in Payson, Utah, 23 miles away from Lehi Rolling Mills where Ren works.
  • Michael Cimino's proposed re imagination of the film was said to be a musical-comedy inspired by The Grapes Of Wrath.
  • 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.
  • This is the 1st movie that John Lithgow has played a preacher. The 2nd time was in the 2004 movie Kinsey. Coincidentally, in both movies he is seen at the beginning of each movie preaching to a congregation about the currupt values of that periods society.
  • During the filming of 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.
  • Food craft had a very hard time keeping Pepperidge Farms Mint Milanos stocked for the cast. Mint Milanos were the favorite go to snack food for everyone working on the movie. They went as far as Salt Lake City, 30 miles to the north, to search stores for the cookies.
  • Dianne Wiest and Sarah Jessica Parker have both played witches. Dianne Wiest played one in "Practical Magic" as Aunt Jet and Sarah Jessica Parker starred in "Hocus Pocus" as Sarah Sanderson.
  • 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)."
  • This is basically Flashdance meets The Music Man, with a dash of Rock and Roll High School added.
  • 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."
  • Christopher Penn would later co-star with Lori Singer again in Short Cuts.
  • 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.
  • Kevin Bacon sheepishly admits in interviews that five different people "wore the suit"; (i.e. 5 different stunt dancers did stand in for Bacon during the dance scenes).
  • None of the stars in this movie are professional dancers; Lori Singer; Kevin Bacon; Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn; Diane Weist and John LIghthgow; are not dancers. Although Singer and Parker at least have some musical experience; Singer was in Fame the TV show before this and Parker starred in Annie on Broadway.
  • 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).
  • Herbert Ross choreographed Funny Girl along with many other Hollywood musicals.
  • Dianne Wiest was in Edward Scissorhands (1990) which was directed by Tim Burton who also directed Planet of the apes (2001), John Lithgow was in the reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011).


  • 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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