Fame (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes


Fame (1980)



Critic Consensus: Just because Fame is a well-acted musical doesn't mean it flinches against its surprisingly heavy topics.

Fame Photos

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 musical instructor Albert Hague, and martinet dance teacher Debbie Allen. Of the film's cast, Ray, Currieri, Allen and Hague were carried over to the TV version of Fame, which premiered in 1981. The score for the film version of Fame was honored with an Academy Award. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Albert Hague
as Shorofsky
Anne Meara
as Mrs. Sherwood
Tresa Hughes
as Mrs. Finsecker
Paul McCrane
as Montgomery
Boyd Gaines
as Michael
Steve Inwood
as Francois Lafete
Joanna Merlin
as Miss Berg
Jim Moody
as Farrell
Teresa Hughes
as Mrs. Finsecker
Frank Bongiorno
as Truck driver
Bill Britten
as Mr. England
Eric Brockington
as Plump Eric
Nora Cotrone
as Topless Ballet Student
Mbewe Escobar
as Phenicia
Victor Fischbarg
as Harvey Finsecker
Frank Penny
as Dance Teacher
Willie Henry Jr.
as Bathroom Student
Steve Hollander
as Drama Student
Sang Kim
as Oriental Violinist
Darrell Kirkman
as Richard III
Meg Tilly
as Dancer
Ted Lambert
as Drama Student
Anthony Evans
as Musician
Nancy Lee
as Oriental Student
Sarah Malament
as Dance Accompanist
James Manis
as Bruno's Uncle
Isaac Mizrahi
as Touchstone
Raquel Mondin
as Ralph's Sister
Alba Oms
as Ralph's Mother
Frank Oteri
as Schlepstein
Traci Parnell
as Hawaiian Dancer
Sal Piro
as Rocky Horror M.C.
Leslie Quickley
as Towering Inferno Student
Ray Ramirez
as Father Morales
Loris Sallahian
as Drama Student
Ilse Sass
as Mrs. Tossoff
Dawn Steinberg
as Monitor on Stairs
Jonathan Strasser
as Orchestra Conductor
Yvette Torres
as Ralph's Little Sister
F.X. Vitolo
as Frankie
Stefanie Zimmerman
as Dance Teacher
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Critic Reviews for Fame

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (9)

Numerous performance scenes are expertly woven into Christopher Gore's screenplay following the audition-to-graduation fortunes of a handful of students, and the result is a joyful celebration of youth, hope and talent.

July 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Fame isn't only the best musical of the summer, it's one of the best films of any genre -- a fresh and funky, sassy and brassy, gutty and gritty, slick and smart piece of work.

April 28, 2018 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 3/5

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…

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…

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…

Audience Reviews for Fame

A delightful and compelling drama with a wonderful soundtrack and a gallery of characters that we really learn to care about, and the best is to see that it is told so fluidly in loosely organized fragments and never loses its pacing thanks to the great editing.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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.

Red Lats
Red Lats

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.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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