Film: Flashdance

Flashdance is a 1983 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 the film grossed $150 million.
  • Bikini Bar: Mawby's.
  • Break the Cutie: Jeanie. Alex barely manages to bring her back to sanity.
  • 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 BSOD: 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.
  • 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.