Fame (film)

Fame (film)

Infobox Film

caption = Original theatrical release poster
director = Alan Parker
producer = David De Silva
Alan Marshall
writer = Christopher Gore
starring = Irene Cara
Debbie Allen
Maureen Teefy
Gene Anthony Ray
Lee Curreri
Laura Dean
Paul McCrane
Barry Miller
Antonia Franceschi
music =
cinematography = Michael Seresin
editing = Gerry Hambling
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
United Artists
released = May 16, 1980
runtime = 134 min.
language = English
budget =
amg_id = 1:16668
imdb_id = 0080716

"Fame" is a 1980 musical film conceived and produced by David De Silva, directed by Alan Parker, and written by Christopher Gore. The film follows a group of students through their studies at the New York High School of Performing Arts (which later merged with the High School of Music and Art to become the current Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts). The film is split into sections corresponding to auditions, freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. This movie ranked number 42 on "Entertainment Weekly"'s list of the [http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,1532588_1_0_,00.html 50 Best High School Movies] .

Plot summary


The film opens with students auditioning for admittance. Those admitted include:
*Doris Finsecker - Drama (Maureen Teefy)
*Ralph Garcy/Raul Garcia - Drama (Barry Miller)
*Coco Hernandez - Drama, Music and Dance (Irene Cara)
*Leroy Johnson - Dance (Gene Anthony Ray)
*Bruno Martelli - Music (Lee Curreri)
*Montgomery MacNeil - Drama (Paul McCrane)
*Lisa Monroe - Dance (Laura Dean)

Several of the teachers are also introduced:

* Miss Berg - Dance (Joanna Merlin)
* Mr. Farrell - Drama (Jim Moody)
* Ms. Grant - Dance (Debbie Allen)
* Mrs. Sherwood - English (Anne Meara)
* Mr. Shorofsky - Music (Albert Hague)

Freshman year

Students learn on the first day of classes that academics are weighted equally with performance. Leroy clashes with Mrs. Sherwood in English class. Doris is overwhelmed by the energy and spontaneity in the lunchroom and flees, meeting Montgomery.

As the year progresses, Coco tries to convince Bruno to book performing gigs with her. Doris and Montgomery become friends, and Doris worries that she's too ordinary against the colorful personalities of the other students. Leroy and Mrs. Sherwood continue to clash over Leroy's refusal to do homework (Leroy is illiterate and ashamed to admit it). Bruno and his father argue over Bruno's reluctance to play his music publicly. Coco tells Bruno of her belief that she's "doing my last dance on this dark little planet" so it has to be spectacular. Miss Berg warns Lisa she is not working hard enough. Graduating senior Michael (Boyd Gaines) wins a prestigious scholarship and tells Doris that the William Morris Agency wants to send him out for auditions for television pilots.

ophomore year

New student Hillary van Doren (Antonia Franceschi) joins the school, and she and Coco clash over Leroy. Hillary seduces him. Bruno and Mr. Shorofsky debate the merits of traditional orchestras versus synthesized instruments. As an acting exercise, students have to divulge a painful memory. Ralph tells of learning about the death of Freddie Prinze. Doris relates her humiliation at being forced by her stage mother to sing at a child's birthday party. Montgomery discusses discovering his homosexuality, in the process coming out to the school, for which he is teased by Ralph wearing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"-style drag. Bruno's father plays Bruno's music (the title song "Fame") outside the school, inspiring the student body to dance in the streets. Miss Berg drops Lisa from the dance program, and Lisa, after initially apparently considering suicide, instead drops her dance clothes on the subway tracks and declares "Fuck it, if I can't dance I'll change to the drama department."

Junior year

Ralph and Doris discover their mutual attraction, but their growing intimacy leaves Montgomery feeling excluded. Hillary brings Leroy home to shock her father and stepmother. Ralph's young sister is attacked by a junkie, and so he lashes out at his mother's attempts to comfort the child by taking her to the local Catholic church. Doris also begins to question her Jewish upbringing, changing her name to "Dominique DuPont." She and Ralph attend a screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the 8th Street Playhouse, and during the "Time Warp" Doris rips off her blouse and joins the stage show. She becomes giddy the next day as she realizes that as an actress she can put on any personality she wants, but is sobered upon running into Michael, struggling as an actor and waiting tables.

enior year

Ralph follows in the footsteps of his idol Freddie Prinze and performs stand-up comedy at Catch a Rising Star and garners some initial success. He falls into a hard-party lifestyle and strains his relationship with Doris. Given a prime spot at a comedy club, he bombs, but Montgomery comforts him by telling him that bombing is part of the entertainment business. Hillary is offered a spot with the San Francisco ballet and, to take it, has an abortion. Coco is approached in a diner by a sleazy guy claiming to be a director. She goes to his apartment for a "screen test" and he manipulates her into undressing. Leroy is offered a spot in Alvin Ailey's dance company, but to be accepted he must graduate. He finds Mrs. Sherwood outside her husband's hospital room and lashes out at her. She lashes back and, chagrined, he comforts her.

At graduation, the student body performs the finalé, "I Sing the Body Electric".


:"For details, see Fame (soundtrack).

The score of the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

* Academy Award for Best Song - "Fame", Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford (winner)
* Academy Award for Best Score - Michael Gore (winner)
* Academy Award for Best Song - "Out Here On My Own", Michael Gore and Lesley Gore (nominated)
* Academy Award for Best Sound - Michael J. Kohut, Aaron Rochin, Jay M. Harding, Christopher Newman (nominated)
* Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay - Christopher Gore (nominated)
* Academy Award for Best Film Editing - Gerry Hambling (nominated)

BAFTA Awards

* BAFTA Award for Best Sound - Christopher Newman, Les Wiggins, Michael J. Kohut (won)
* BAFTA Award for Best Editing - Gerry Hambling (nominated)
* BAFTA Award for Best Direction - Alan Parker (nominated)
* Anthony Asquith Award for Best Music - Michael Gore (nominated)

Golden Globes

* Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song - "Fame", Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford (won)
* Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy - Irene Cara (nominated)
* Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score - Michael Gore (nominated)

Grammy Awards

Best Album of Original Score Written for A Motion Picture or a Television Special - Michael Gore, Anthony Evans, Paul McCrane, Dean Pitchford, Lesley Gore, Robert F. Colesberry (nominated)


"Fame" spawned a successful television show and a Musical that ran on London's West End for ten years. It also spawned a non-musical play featuring the title song from the film as its lone musical number.

External links


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