A Chorus Line (1985)



Critic Consensus: On stage, A Chorus Line pulled back the curtain to reveal the hopes and fears of showbiz strivers, but that energy and urgency is lost in the transition to the big screen.


Want to See

Not Interested

Add Rating
My Rating    

A Chorus Line Photos

Movie Info

Broadway's celebratory musical about rejection makes it to the screen in a fizzless adaptation by Richard Attenborough that misses the whole point of the Broadway show -- i.e. the dancing and the dancers. Instead, the dancers become a limp Greek chorus for the dead love affair between a choreographer, Zach (a pre-Gordon Gekko Michael Douglas) and his old flame, Cassie (Alyson Reed) the star dancer. Zach is holding try-outs for a new Broadway musical and, as armies of dancers are brought on stage to audition for Zach, he sits in the darkened recesses of the theater, puffing on a cigarette, as he winnows out hopeful dancers who want to become part of the chorus line for Zach's new show. Finally, Zach has reduced the dancers to 16 men and women, and he asks each of them to step to the footlights and tell him about their lives and their dreams. But backstage, while the dancers are confessing their pasts to Zach, Zach's past walks through the stage door. Cassie, Zach's ex-lover, whom Zach met, courted and broke up with in the theatrical environs, has returned. Once a big star, Cassie has returned to the theater -- not to see Zach but to audition for Zach's musical. She needs the work.

Watch it now


Critic Reviews for A Chorus Line

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

If all they did was get it on film, that's not so bad.

Dec 4, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The grit and drive of the original have been dissipated into studiously unkempt glitz as empty as plasticised pop.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Mr. Attenborough is listed as the director of 'A Chorus Line,' but what he seems actually to have done is to act as the escort to the screen of a reasonable facsimile of the show, not noticing that it was dying en route.

Aug 30, 2004 | Full Review…

The result may not please purists who want a film record of what they saw on stage, but this is one of the most intelligent and compelling movie musicals in a long time.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

probably worked much better as a live production

Jan 23, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

'A Chorus Line' will certainly give people who think they want a career in dance some idea of whether they're up to the challenge. And the rest of the audience will never look at a musical chorus line the same way.

Jan 18, 2014 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Chorus Line


Who knew making a musical could be so dull? Filled with the all the horrendous hair and clothing fashions of the 1980's, "A Chorus Line" falls flat with poor acting and inept screenwriting. Although there is much admirable in the music, the 80's electo-orchestration is atrocious and there aren't strong enough voices to sing through the weaknesses. This ain't "off Broadway" -- it's just "off".

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

17 hopefuls are auditioning for 4 males and 4 females chorus roles. Each one of them were asked about why they wanted to be a dancer. Some stories were funny, some were heartbreaking but all of them needed this job. The film adaptation focused way too much on the sub-plot of Zach and Cassie which made the film lost its magical touch of the stage version. it's still enjoyable to watch nonetheless.

Sylvester Kuo
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer


I recently saw a 30 minute excerpt of the play at a community theater conference. This got my wife and I interested in watching the DVD. Unfortunately, some songs were added in the movie that were not in the stage musical and some songs were excluded from the movie that were in the stage musical. This all came together to mean that the audience doesn't get a chance to know all of the core group of auditioning dancers as well here as in the stage version and that the emotional impact seemed diminished. I ended up thinking that the 30 minute excerpt with some of the highlights of the show was a better piece of entertainment than this two hour movie. That being said, I did like Michael Douglas's performance. The drama happening between the director, the choreographer, and the returning star is something I missed in the excerpt I saw. I missed the song from the stage production though where the director asks the performers what they would do if they couldn't dance. The way the camera captures the dance numbers, the often used mirrors, the backstage areas, and the dark shadows of the house where the director sits made the movie visually interesting especially since I love theater. I only really fell in love with three of the musical numbers here in the movie, so that's not a very large percentage. Overall a disappointment.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

Good fun, lovable characters, fantastic dance. Cop out of a story, but hey it's Broadway. Worth the watch. P. S. The DVD box looks like shit.

meril lupin
meril lupin

Super Reviewer

A Chorus Line Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features