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Fame (1980)

tomatometer

40

Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

69

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 40,211

My Rating

Movie Info

Fame is set at New York's High School of Performing Arts, where talented teens train for show-business careers. The film concentrates on five of the most gifted students: singer Irene Cara, actors Paul McCrane and Barry Miller, dancer Gene Anthony Ray, and musician Lee Currieri. More so than the subsequent TV series Fame, the film emphasizes the importance of keeping up one's academic achievements in this specialized school. The faculty includes no-nonsense English teacher Ann Meara, erudite

R,

Musical & Performing Arts, Drama

Christopher Gore

Jun 1, 2004

WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Fame

April 3, 2009:
Trailer Bulletin: Fame
They can sing and dance, but can they make you remember their names, thereby living forever? Watch...
February 20, 2009:
Meet the Cast of the Fame Remake
Curious about the upcoming "Fame" remake? Satisfy your curiosity with new interviews with the cast...

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (6) | DVD (16)

Every once in a while what appears to be the entire student body pours out into the street to do song-and-dance numbers, some of which are cheerful enough, but all of which break faith with the film's realistic premise.

September 8, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is cut at such a frenzied pitch that it's often possible to believe (mistakenly) that something significant is going on.

September 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Alan Parker has come up with an exposure for some of the most talented youngsters seen on screen in years. There isn't a bad performance in the lot.

June 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a crack at the American Dream which carries all the exhilaration and depth of a 133-minute commercial break.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A genuine treasure, moving and entertaining.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Alan Parker has reinvented effectively the old musical movie genre of let's put on a show in a way that speaks directly to younger viewers

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Raw look at teen life more shocking than you might recall.

December 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

What recommends Fame to whatever degree that it doesn't totally suck is that Parker's still content at this point in his career to not resolve every single storyline

September 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The song and dance scenes are hard to beat in terms of sheer energy and atmosphere, but the dramatic storylines leave several loose ends.

September 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Nearly thirty years after its debut, Alan Parker's Fame remains, in its way, even fresher than its glossy 2009 remake

October 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Sadly, everything is predictable, which is to the detriment of the mostly fine, young talent that appears in this ineffective retread. I hope that their fame, unlike this film, isn't fleeting.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comments (6)
Film Threat

As Fame begins to unspool and you realize that the movie's a lot more endearingly grimy and profane than you recall...just blame it on that stupid TV knockoff.

April 11, 2004 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Infectious and moving and sometimes bittersweet.

September 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

A rambling, emotionally involving, and exuberent movie with flashes of cinematic poetry.

June 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's telling that this film is best remembered for its music and dancing: its attempts at serious ensemble drama have mixed results.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

One of the finest dramas ever about teen life

January 9, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

Not always believable, but energetic and enjoyable.

November 5, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Alan Parker manages to make this a fairly horrible story even while it remains entertaining.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source: BBC.com

Audience Reviews for Fame

I've always liked the song Fame. It took me 28 years to see the movie. I enjoyed the music and dancing. As a film I thought it was mediocre - too many draggy scenes.
April 20, 2014
Redlats

Super Reviewer

"I celebrate the me yet to come."
Recognizing all its flaws, I unabashedly love Fame. I understand that the characters fall into stereotypes, and I think many of their stories never reach a cathartic or dramatic conclusion; this is especially true of Ralph and Leroy. Also, these are oh-so-clearly adults playing teens; it even seems written that way most of the time. However, Fame achieves a complexity found in few films and almost no musicals. How is it that - for me - this film worked as both a cautionary tale and an inspiration? How is it that I recognized so many people from the acting world in these loosely drawn characters?
Parker's direction and the rather spontaneous musical numbers embody the passion, ambition, dedication, triumphs, disappointments, and blindnesses that afflict these people. More to the point, I've known some artists whose talent amazed me, but yet you don't know them. You know talentless hacks, many of whom can't act dead. Each of these people recognizes that what most likely awaits them is a boulevard of broken dreams, spoiled ambitions, and a life counting their tips, hoping enough is there for rent, but each is also driven by an indomitable spirit. Fame's achievement is capturing all that on film, even to some degree into one fantastic scene toward the end (Irene Cara's nude scene - you'll know what I mean if you see the film).
Additionally, I enjoyed the peripherals: the stage mother, the broken home, the absent but financially generous parents. All of these exist in varying forms.
Overall, it takes some effort to see past this film's flaws, but once you do, you won't be disappointed with what lies at its core.
January 15, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Wildly entertaining, contains vivid musical sequences, and has all the repressed teenage emotion and show business catastrophe involved in a performing arts high school, or even Hollywood in general. The title song was a winner, and the breakthrough actors, who dealt with such issues as poverty, ethnic prejudice, and homosexuality, are sadly less known then they should be. A teen survival tale like none other.
January 13, 2011
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

If you're an arts student, or have been one at one point, you'll be able to relate to this movie like I did. It's a good drama for the most part, and the songs are great too, but the movie is split up into many different stories, which I found made it hard to watch. Today that style is more popular, but it gets on my nerves. If you like those kinds of stories, and love musicals, you'll like this movie.
January 8, 2011
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

    1. Miss Berg: Where's the sweat, Lisa?
    2. Liza Monroe: I'm working on it.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (3 months ago)
    1. Montgomery MacNeil: Never being happy isn't the same as being unhappy. Is it.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (3 months ago)
    1. Doris Finsecker: I'm about as flamboyant as a bagel.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (3 months ago)
    1. Leroy Johnson: I'm young, I'm single, and I love to mingle!
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (13 months ago)
View all quotes (4)

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