A Chorus Line (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

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.

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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.

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Cameron English
as Paul San Marco
Yamil Borges
as Morales
Nicole Fosse
as Kristine
Matt West
as Bobby
Sammy Smith
as Doorman
Jeffrey Cornell
as Reject Dancer
Timothy Scott
as Boy with Headband
Richard de Fabees
as Reject Dancer
Bambi Jordan
as Girl in Yellow Trunks
Peter Fitzgerald
as Dancer with Gum
John Hammil
as Advertising Executive
Jack Lehnert
as Posterman
Jennifer Kent
as Reject Dancer
Gloria Lynch
as Taxi Passenger
Gregg Huffman
as Misfit Boy Dancer
Karen Prunczik
as Reject Dancer
Melissa Randel
as Reject Dancer
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Critic Reviews for A Chorus Line

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (12)

If you were one of that legion who saw A Chorus Line more than once in the theater, the film is enough to make you doubt your judgment. If you've never seen the stage piece, you may come out wondering what in the name of goodness all the fuss was about.

March 6, 2019 | Full Review…

A Chorus Line: The Movie is like a soccer match seen only from the waist up. They've cut off the feet, which is all the more frustrating when you're supposed to be enjoying the fancy footwork.

March 6, 2019 | Full Review…

A Chorus Line is a kind of 'Murphy's Law: The Motion Picture' -- everything that can go wrong does.

March 6, 2019 | Full Review…

Richard Attenborough's movies are like the best-behaved guests at a Swiss embassy reception; they never offend, never impress.

March 6, 2019 | Full Review…

A classic play has been reduced a decent movie. It's a shame it couldn't be as good as the play; it's a small pleasure that it`s as entertaining as it is.

March 6, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

You want to know about the dancing? It's bad. Rather, the way it has been restaged and shot for the movie is bad.

March 6, 2019 | 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

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