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Take the Lead (2006)



Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 67

Banderas is charismatic in the lead, and the dance sequences are captivating, but the story is too familiar and predictable.


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 22

Banderas is charismatic in the lead, and the dance sequences are captivating, but the story is too familiar and predictable.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 369,131

My Rating

Movie Info

Inspired by a true story, Antonio Banderas stars as internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulane. The film revolves around a professional dancer who volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. But when his classic methods clash with his students' hip hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance and becomes their mentor in the process. "Take the Lead" co-stars Alfre Woodard and marks the feature directing debut of veteran music video helmer Liz


Musical & Performing Arts, Drama

Aug 29, 2006


New Line Cinema - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (67) | DVD (10)

While their transformation is predictable, it's quietly enjoyable, and the teen angle opens the door to romance and gritty gang-war subplots.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

it's just ridiculous, it's just ridiculous. One cliché right after another. Not for one second did I believe any of this.

April 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While we may be able to pretty much guess everything that's going to happen in Take the Lead, its considerable charm lies in the way it fulfills, rather than bucks, our expectations.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Think of it as the fictionalized version of last year's engaging documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, with teen dancers and sexier moves. It is also more formulaic and clichéd, thanks to the predictable plot and theme.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Take the Lead is pure entertainment, if only for the endless amusement of watching Banderas spread the gospel of ballroom like he was born wearing a tuxedo.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A predictable and yet thoroughly enjoyable drama about the redemptive power of dance for a group of inner-city teenagers.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lean on Me meets Strictly Ballroom. Tough two-step replaces tough love.

June 16, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Post
San Francisco Post

Feels like a product, with decisions made for audience appeal rather than creativity.

April 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinematical

For the most part, Liz Friedlander's direction and frenetic pacing mitigate any real performance opportunities.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A fun romp of a flick that showcases the power of dance and the human spirit.

November 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

The poster says 'Never follow', while the movie itslef follows every cliche in the book.

June 11, 2006 Full Review Source:

A feel-good story using music and dance to guide problem kids onto the straight and narrow.....entertaining, although not the showstopper we might hope for

May 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A bogus, trumped-up 'inspirational' ending goes on forever and all but ruins everything.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

A scattering of dance sequences that fuse hip-hop and classical beats provide a few shots of energy, but Take The Lead otherwise plods through the motions.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source:

It's still enjoyable, but never as strong as it should be.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Take the Lead offers few if any surprises to anyone who's seen either the aforementioned Breakin', Beat Street, or, most obvious of all, Dangerous Minds.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The energy and rhythm keep it moving along gracefully.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Liz Friedlander's "Take the Lead" is a fine example of how all the good intentions in the world can't make a poorly conceived movie good, though a good central performance can at least make it bearable.

May 5, 2006
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Their acceptance of the tango and foxtrot never seems like much of a dance dance revolution; if you're looking for more than just impressive dancing, well, you got served.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source: goes through it's checklist, epitomized in 80's inspirational student-triumphs-over-socioeconomic-pseudoreality films like "Lean on Me" and its lesser-known predecessor "Stand and Deliver"...

May 3, 2006 Full Review Source:

As even the film's dance students note in an aside designed to preempt exactly this criticism, this Michelle Pfeiffer plot is corny.

April 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

This is never less than watchable but it's shockingly cliched throughout and let down by a badly directed, disappointing climax.

April 21, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Banderas, sans Zorro mask but still dressed in black, goes gamely into a screenplay and film that, frankly could be better.

April 17, 2006

With very little dancing, this is a highly entertaining, feel-good 'Blackboard Jungle'.

April 15, 2006 Full Review Source:

This conventional cross of Dangerous Minds and Mad Hot Ballroom can be beholden to the inspiring teacher movie formula, but Banderas' quiet grace keeps the film from pushing the motivational message too insistently.

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Audience Reviews for Take the Lead

The sole reason for seeing this film: Antonio Banderas in a charismatic lead role, and looking like he was born in a tuxedo. The dance sequences are captivating and entertaining to watch, but it's probably one of the most uninspired inspiring stories I've seen. It's full of cliches, and a formulaic plot line that couldn't hold my interest past an hour.
October 20, 2012
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

Another great dance film. The fact that it was a true story made me like it more. Made it much more honest and happier.
June 23, 2011
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

The whole bring-culture-to-the-inner-city-kids thing is so overdone, but the dances are nice.
May 1, 2011

Super Reviewer

really moving story about a dance teacher. the only difficulty the movie shows is trying to keep track of and further so many different stories and characters.
August 2, 2009
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

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