Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama, Music
  • 1980
  • 134 mins

Fame

Fame

Synopsis

Alan Parker's popular musical mixes troubled teens with infectious musical numbers to award-winning effect - even if it was eclipsed by its soundtrack and spin-off TV series

About

Somewhat darker than the TV series it spawned, musical drama Fame punctuates its bright and breezy song and dance sequences with gloomy observations on inner city life.

No less than eight central characters compete for the limelight as they enrol at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts: there's ambitious singer Coco (Cara), who forms a hesitant bond with sensitive pianist Bruno (Curreri); there's downtrodden Doris (Teefy) who gains confidence through friendship with troubled gay Montgomery (McCrane) and romance with troubled straight Ralph (Miller); then there's rebellious dancer Leroy (Ray) who gets it on with spoiled ballerina Hilary (Franceschi), and - out on her own - Lisa (Dean), whose dancing ambitions are questioned by her teacher.

Alan Parker's film attempts to cram all their stories into brief, dramatic scenes rarely prepared for by sufficient characterisation - although Doris and Montgomery are introduced more thoroughly and are subsequently at the centre of some of the film's more effective plot strands. Fame is at its strongest, though, when pushing the feelgood buttons: the spontaneous jamming session in the lunch room is winningly uplifting, ditto the street dancing scene - if you're able to suspend your disbelief even further.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Paul McCrane, Barry Miller, Maureen Teefy, Albert Hague, Irene Cara, Antonia Franceschi, Lee Curreri, Gene Anthony Ray, Laura Dean
  • Director: Alan Parker
  • Writer: Christopher Gore
  • Producer: Alan Marshall, David DeSilva
  • Photographer: Michael Seresin

In a nutshell

It's telling that this film is best remembered for its music and dancing: its attempts at serious ensemble drama have mixed results. Not exactly an 80s classic, but a memorable film that won awards for its songs and kicked off something of a phenomenon (the series, the audience participation screenings, the stage shows).

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Maidan

    Documentary portrait of the winter 2013/14 Ukrainian demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and for a greater integration with Europe.

  • Film4

    The Confessions Of Thomas Quick

    Brian Hill's chilling documentary about Sweden's most notorious serial killer

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Guests announced for Film4 FrightFest 2015

    Barbara Crampton, Rick Wakeman, James Cosmo, Toyah Willcox, Neil Marshall and Bernard Rose amongst dazzling array of guests set to re-animate FrightFest... Scream Queen legend Barbara Crampton is F

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Toby Amies on The Man Whose Mind Exploded

    Ahead of the TV premiere of The Man Whose Mind Exploded, Film4.com editor Michael Leader speaks with director Toby Amies about his fascinating documentary about the friendship he forged with the colou

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share