Film / Flashdance
Nope, that's not her welding outfit.

A 1983 Paramount film directed by Adrian Lyne, scripted by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas (from a story by Hedley), and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

The film stars Jennifer Beals as Alexandra "Alex" Owens who, in quite possibly the greatest film premise ever, works as a factory welder by day and an exotic dancer by night. Her aspiration, however, is to enroll in a prestigious dance conservatory. Dreams are chased, pull chains are yanked, and tears (and sweat) are shed.

The film was a monster success (only Roger Ebert dared to slam it) and a Star-Making Role for Beals. This is partly attributed to the then-newfangled MTV, which played excerpts from the film's dance numbers on a continuous loop. In effect, Flashdance became the standard for music videos produced in conjunction with big-budget movies.

The soundtrack sold over 20 million copies and produced two hit singles, Irene Cara's "Flashdance...What a Feeling" and Michael Sembello's "Maniac", both of which have remained in the pop culture consciousness.

Tropes associated with Flashdance include:

  • Based on a True Story: The film is based on the biography of Maureen Marder. She was paid $2300 for the right to make a movie about her life story, and then filed a lawsuit when Jennifer Lopez mimicked the film frame for frame and it was discovered that she did not secure licensing rights from Paramount Studios to use the story in her music video. As Marder signed only non-exclusive rights with Paramount, it seemed that Lopez had infringed on Marder's rights to her own life-story as well as infringing on Paramount's rights to the story in the film. The lawsuit was with Lopez, Sony, and Paramount to establish copyrights in the film. The wealthy studios and star won the case against a small, poor plaintiff of course, despite stellar representation by Marder's LA law firm.
  • Break the Cutie: Jeanie. Alex barely manages to bring her back to sanity.
  • But Not Too Black: Beals to the point where many white viewers didn't know.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Alex hurls a rock through the window of Nick's house after she glimpses him entering a car with another woman.
  • Cool Car: Nick's black Porsche.
  • The Corrupter: Johnny C. tries luring both Alex and Jeannie into being dancers in his armpit of a bar. Jeannie takes the carrot when Johnny flashes some cash.
  • Cross-Cast Role: In a weird variation, a portion of Alex's climactic audition dance was actually performed by a teenage boy! The reason? Said teenager (name of Richard Colón, alias Crazy Legs) had invented a move the producers decided to include in the performance, and they believed he was the only one who cold possibly pull that one off.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: Then again, Alex's goal IS to go pro.
  • '80s Hair: Most prominently seen on the women, of course, but check out Lee Ving's pineapple forelock as the villainous Johnny C.
  • Empathic Environment: The interior of the Zanizbar has an infernal red glow.
  • Erotic Eating: Alex's...erm, 'interesting' way of eating lobster.
  • Fanservice: LOTS of it, since the main character is a pretty and very fit girl who trains a lot to be a dancer.
    • Reportedly, Jennifer Beals was cast by then Paramount president and COO Michael Eisner who showed pictures of the three finalists for the part — Beals, Leslie Wing, and Demi Moore — to a group of construction workers and asking them "Which of these women do you most want to fuck?"
    • Fan Disservice: Jeanie dancing in the buff.
  • Hard Work Fallacy: Underprivileged girl is finally given a chance to prove herself at a prestigious conservatory... and gets in. To do so, she hones her dancing skills and auditions.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Jeanie, when she horribly loses the skating auditions. Alex herself, when Hannah dies.
  • Improbable Age: Many reviewers found it highly implausible that an 18-year old girl would be allowed to work full-time as a welder.
  • Interclass Romance: Working class Alex and wealthy Nick.
  • Leotard of Power: A famous, non-superhero example, especially in the Signature Scene.
  • Love Interest: Nick, who also happens to be Alex's boss.
  • Male Gaze: When a customer starts extolling the virtues of Alex's ass to his pals ("Soft... round... snug..."), the audience gets to see him groping it as well, in closeup yet. (Until she pours a beer into his lap.)
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Alex is stunned to learn that Hannah died in the rest home while she was away.
  • Naughty by Night
  • Nice Hat: Richie's porkpie hat.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Richie.
  • Redemption in the Rain: When Alex forcibly drags Jeanie out of the Zanzibar nudie bar, the two girls tearfully embrace each other in a downpour.
  • Rich Bitch: Nick's ex-wife.
  • Self-Made Man: Nick previously worked as a hoodlum for Johnny C. before going legit.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Richie, an aspiring comic, should probably stick to flipping burgers. Most of his jokes revolve around non sequitur insults toward the Polish.
  • Society Marches On: Richie's So Unfunny, It's Funny humor definitely qualifies.
  • Sweater Girl: The famous cover photo.
  • Talent Double: Virtually all of Alex's dancing is courtesy of uncredited Marine Jahan, not Jennifer Beals.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alex and Jeanie.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Alex, Jeanie, and Jeanie's boyfriend Richie.
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: Nick poses the question to his Exotic Dancer cum Welder.
  • Woman Scorned: Jeanie leaves to work for the Zanzibar on account of Richie leaving her to chase his dreams in L.A. (Losing the skating auditions didn't help, either.)
  • Wrench Wench: Alex.