In 1984, a teen film about music and dance became the summer hit of the season: Footloose.
Loosely based on real-life events that occurred in a small Oklahoma town, Dean Pitchford’s screenplay was put on the big screen by director Herbert Ross and producers Lewis Rachmil and Craig Zadan.
The production had hoped to have Tom Cruise as the lead for Footloose, but he was filming All The Right Moves, while Rob Lowe, who also was considered, was then injured and couldn’t do the dance moves.
The male lead went to Kevin Bacon, based on his work in the film Diner.
For the female lead, the producers considered many – initially it was Daryl Hannah, but decided to make the film Splash, while Elizabeth McGovern turned it down to make Once Upon a Time in America. Other actresses considered include Madonna, Heather Locklear, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Tilly, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Lori Loughlin. In the end, they chose Lori Singer.
And the plot – Ren, a big city boy from Chicago (Kevin Bacon) as moves to small farm town to live with his Uncle and family and finds out that its so conservative, the local preacher has forbidden dance and popular music.
And of course, the daughter of the preacher (Lori Singer), Ariel, is a wild child, who immediately lures Ren’s attention, as well as gets him to prove he is worthy by going up against her older crowd of party-loving farm boys.
Ren slowly makes friends and battles the preacher (John Lithgow) and tries to prove that teenagers desperately needs music and dance to survive. Because of course they do!
Released in February 1984, the film was made for $8.2 million and became a box office success despite its mixed reviews and lack of critics support.
Teen fans loved it, and loved the film soundtrack, which hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart, thanks to singles Footloose, the title track by Kenny Loggins and Let’s Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams.
Almost Paradise, the love song duet for the film, sung by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson, reached number seven on the Billboard charts.
And in the end, the film kept up its success well into the summer, grossing over $80 million in the US – and becoming a worldwide hit for its teen story and catchy songs.