A Chorus Line - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Chorus Line Reviews

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May 18, 2019
This musical film is based on the award-winning Broadway musical of the same name about a group of dancers auditioning to be part of a chorus line in a musical. Starring Michael Douglas as choreographer Zach, and featuring some of the best showtunes musical theatre has to offer. The highlights from of the film include "I Can Do That", "Dance Ten; Looks Three", and "What I Did For Love". A Chorus Line manages to be a stirring and fun musical film that's pretty entertaining thanks to the musical performances and songs.

I've only listened to a cast recording album of the 2006 Broadway revival of the musical. That's how I became acquainted with the show's music, but have not had the pleasure to see a production of the show live as of yet. Anyways, This film adaptation will have to hold me over until then. It stars Michael Douglas who plays Zach a choreographer who puts sixteen hopeful dancers through a demanding audition process where they display their personal stories through song and dance. The acting from Douglas and the rest of the cast are well done, especially with the musical performances.

The songs are quite fantastic, but did wish the film had included "Sing" from the stage version in the film. Although that's just my opinion on that, the film does feature most of the well known songs from the musical. Some of my favorites are the zappy "I Can Do That", "Dance ten; Looks three", and the heart rending "What I Did for Love". Even though the last song's original meaning was altered in the film to showcase Cassie's love interest, instead of her expressing gratitude in doing what she loves to do that being dancing. Other honorable mentions include, "At the Ballet", "One", and "I Hope I Get". It's an exhilarating musical film with plenty of memorable songs to spare.

Overall, I had a very good time watching this movie musical even though some of the songs from the stage version did not make the cut. However, the absorbing performances in the musical numbers from the cast make it worth watching. The songs are very good, and enthralling to listen to. It's an incredibly engaging musical drama film that's also highly entertaining at the same time.
April 28, 2019
The best movie song ever sung: One!
August 18, 2017
Richard Attenborough's film adaptation of the beloved Tony award-winning musical about dancers and their sob stories only perks up when the cast breaks into songs with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban.
½ November 8, 2016
The classic 1975 Broadway hit A Chorus Line is has been a staple for generations of actors, dancers, performers, and arts enthusiasts. When a show gets as big as A Chorus Line did, what happens? They make it into a movie of course! Unfortunately, we all know that a lot is lost in adaptations from stage to film and these productions can end up being a total disaster, A Chorus Line is no exception.
Richard Attenborough's A Chorus Line is the story of veteran dancers who "need this job", auditioning for the ensemble of a Broadway show. The film has a large cast of very intricate characters, that aren't explored as much as they could be. The solidarity of the characters is discarded in favor of extra dance numbers abandoning many of the monologues and songs that really show us who these dancers are. The film also fashions the dead romantic plotline between Cassie (Alyson Reed) and Zach (Michael Douglas) into a much larger part of the story than it's supposed to be, eclipsing some of the more meaningful and interesting characters. The story is meant to show the people behind the resume and headshot, and the film does a subpar job at expressing this.
One simple change also ruined the delivery of the message of the show, giving Cassie What I Did For Love. In the original Broadway production, What I Did For Love is sung by all the dancers, lead by Diana (Yamil Borges) after Paul (Cameron English) hurts his leg and Zach asks the auditioning dancers "But if today were the day you had to stop dancing, how would you feel?" The song symbolizes their love of dancing and theatre and that they won't regret spending so much time working for it, and that that wasn't wasted time. They say that the "love is never gone" and it's a part of them that shaped how they are that they will cherish, which is one of the main messages the story tries to get across. In the film doesn't completely abandon this message, but the give the song to Cassie, and put it after she has a fight with Zach over why she left him at the end of One, and overtop the rest of the dancers doing The Tap Combination. After Paul injures himself in the film, Zach asks the question, but instead a couple dancers only merely respond with thin less meaningful responses.
The cast itself had a wide range of talents, they were of course all amazing dancers. The choreography was spectacular and the dancers were insanely talented. Unfortunately, many of the actors weren't actors, they were simply really good dancers, therefore the overall acting suffered heavily. Many of the auditioning dancers were emotionless and simply reading their lines. The worst performance aspect however, was the singing, the normally best part of a musical. A lot of the songs were spoke-sung and it was hard to listen to a lot of the singing, particularly Mike (Charles McGowan). However, Michael Douglas' performance was very captivating and interesting, seeing all the layers of the Zach.
Where the story and casting fall sickening and flat, the visuals that were created by Richard Attenborough make up for it. The transitions between shots during I Hope I Get it was timed so perfectly that it gave the scene itself it's own sort of musicality. The lighting of At The Ballet was particularly captivating, the transition of Sheila (Vicki Frederick) stepping out of the line into the black space, really let you focus on the story the character was telling in the moment without the distractions of a noisy background or unnecessary characters. Surprise! Surprise! had a great shot of Richie (Gregg Burge)'s side aerials across the row of mirrors, and Let Me Dance For You had a spectacular shot of Cassie dancing in front of the mirrors were all her reflections are shown. The lighting during the group part of One with all the circle spots gives it the great artificial feel that was intended to show Zach's view of ensembles. They also repeat a shot of the line of auditioning dancers after every number that it a great portrayal of the inhuman view of actors and dancers, view them as this plastic commodity.
Despite it's flaws this movie is still enjoyable to watch, simply to see all the dances and listen to the songs (even though some of the best songs are cut). It's a great film to watch with the family, when the kids are older however (ie. "tits and ass, get the bingo-bangos done"), I'd rate it PG-13. Overall, this is an enjoyably bad film.
April 22, 2016
A group of people all coming from different backgrounds with each their own sob story all audition for a chorus line with a director who cares, thought it doesn't seem so at first. Great musical numbers full of life and energy
½ April 10, 2016
For what it is--a slice-of-life of a group of people, trying to make the big-time and at least be able to say that they were on Broadway--it's a fine work. I admit I haven't seen the stage play--which many sources say is far superior to this filmic adaptation.

I'm rather surprised that: a) Michael Douglas gets star status here, or is even involved. He doesn't dance here. The film would have worked so much better if it showed his character showing some dance moves and getting across to the dancers what he wanted. Both his character would have connected better with the dancers, and he would have connected better with filmgoers; and b) that Lord Richard Attenborough got involved with this: It's definitely not his forte or cup of tea. Perhaps he wanted to expand his directorial palette, or that some of his influences were masters of the genre, such as Lubitsch or Minnelli. Personally, I wish I knew, for he has done much better work in his career.

Overall, not one of the better of contemporary (post-1970) musicals, but worth seeing once, if renting or seeing that it's coming on TV. Not a top purchase priority, unless you are a Douglas or Attenborough completest, and then prepare to be disappointed.
½ April 10, 2016
For what it is--a slice-of-life of a group of people, trying to make the big-time and at least be able to say that they were on Broadway--it's a fine work. I admit I haven't seen the stage play--which many sources say is far superior to this filmic adaptation.

I'm rather surprised that: a) Michael Douglas gets star status here, or is even involved. He doesn't dance here. The film would have worked so much better if it showed his character showing some dance moves and getting across to the dancers what he wanted. Both his character would have connected better with the dancers, and he would have connected better with filmgoers; and b) that Lord Richard Attenborough got involved with this: It's definitely not his forte or cup of tea. Perhaps he wanted to expand his directorial palette, or that some of his influences were masters of the genre, such as Lubitsch or Minnelli. Personally, I wish I knew, for he has done much better work in his career.

Overall, not one of the better of contemporary (post-1970) musicals, but worth seeing once, if renting or seeing that it's coming on TV. Not a top purchase priority, unless you are a Douglas or Attenborough completest, and then prepare to be disappointed.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2015
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".
Super Reviewer
May 2, 2015
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.
½ April 24, 2015
It Begins With Great Energy, But Can't Keep It Going. The Middle Fades To An Overall Boring Picture. Unsurpringly, None Of The Main-Cast Went Onto Anything Else.
February 3, 2015
If Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin can make a musical work, why not A Chorus Line. I'm more inclined to see this as one long unending section of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles; but, I am more inclined to see a film where things blow up and there are car chases. My wife loves this movie. I remember Michael Douglas from The Streets of San Francisco. I remember when he was trying to launch an action career. Then he switch to drama, like this. He spends the entire movie YELLING and BARKING. But, he's not the focus of the story. The stories each character tells is interesting.
October 5, 2014
never really cared for musical movies but i took a chance & watch it and it's one of my favourite now i can't find it anywhere
July 27, 2014
This movie would make you NOT see the live version. It was a terrible disappointment. I felt ZERO empathy for the characters and I used to be a stage manager!. Like someone else mentioned, it needs to be REMADE or better yet, DON't!. Go see it LIVE if it's ever revived!. Far from being a prude, (remember, I'm a theater guy), I wouldn't want to take a kid OR my grandmother to it.
April 25, 2014
"Let's take a Pulitzer prize winning musical about the little people and cast a major movie star who can neither sing or dance, because people are clamoring to see THAT! What a disaster!
February 19, 2014
It's definitely not the worst movie musical. "The Wiz" still holds that title. But "A Chorus Line" is the most disappointing movie musical. The show exposed the harsh reality of auditioning in theatre with a nice tinge of humor. The movie does that a little bit, but not enough. It becomes less about the auditionees and more about the auditioner and his relationship with one of the dancers. Both the stories of the dancers and the story between director Zac and Cassie need to equal each other out, and the movie fails to do that. Then comes the problem with the music. There are still some great songs here, but most of them ultimately feel like a missed opportunity, especially the show's signature number "What I Did For Love". A wonderful Broadway score gets traded in for cheesy 80's pop, and some of these actors don't have enough voices to match with these songs. Overall, this "Chorus Line" is not God-awful like "The Wiz" but, sadly, it could have been so much more.
January 8, 2014
The music and choreography are undoubtedly impressive. It may have somehow lost stir on its undue sentimental displays that makes it less pleasing.
August 1, 2013
Music was fun, but not much of a story here.
½ July 11, 2013
Even though the film is EXTREMELY outdated (hello 80s!!), the dancing was freakin' awesome! I love this musical and it's definitely in my top 5, but I wasn't real happy on how the film switched some stuff and downplayed some songs or just left them out completely. The story became really weak because of it. But I enjoyed it.
June 16, 2013
1. I have a soft spot for musicals.
2. I have never seen or heard anything from the stage show before.

That said, I really enjoyed this film. The dance numbers are just spectacular. I'm not much for dancing, but even I found myself impressed, especially the opening audition number and even more so the finale where they did four different lines, of the same actors, all with mirrors. Not sure how they did it, but it was flat out amazing.

I liked that it was one long audition. The film is two hours long and it felt like a real time story.

In the end I felt the best 8 dancers were picked, but a few of the women I was sad to see didn't get it.

Douglas was quite good, but don't expect to see him either dance nor sing. I thought a few of the dancers were given less to do, but everyone else got a good song or moment in.

I think my favorite song, and I thought a lot of music was great, was Dance: Ten; Looks: Three.

I don't get all the bad reviews I've read, as I thought this movie flew by and was super entertaining. BUt again, I dig musicals and have never seen the original play it's based on.

I will say the song they added for Oscar bait was the worst song in the film.
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