Strictly Ballroom is the name of a 1986 play and its 1992 film adaptation. The play was written by Baz Luhrmann and Andrew Bovell, and the film by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. The film was directed by Luhrmann. The film's tagline is: "A life lived in fear... is a life half lived."
is a romantic comedy
telling the story of an Australian ballroom dancer
, Scott Hastings. Scott comes from a family with a history of ballroom dancing and has been training since childhood. He has become very proficient but he encounters considerable resistance when he tries to dance his own steps in preference to the more traditional ballroom moves. Scott's steps are not strictly ballroom
. His dancing partner Liz leaves him, and he eventually finds a new dancing partner, and love, with the plain and ordinary dancing student Fran.
At the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix, it is discovered that the competition has been fixed by Barry Fife, chairman of the Australian Dancing Federation. Fife disqualifies Hastings and Fran, but they dance anyway and practically bring down the house dancing the Paso Doble, which they have learned from Fran's father and grandmother. In the end, it is not revealed whether Scott and Fran win or lose, as in the story, that is not an important factor.
A sub-plot involves Scott's discovery of his parents' hidden past - they too had been ballroom dancing champions until Scott's father (now a quiet and retiring type) had attempted to flout convention with novel dance steps. Scott and Fran end up together as well.
The film plays with clichés
, mocking and embracing them at the same time. Luhrmann has also commented that the film revolves around stories similar to David and Goliath
and The Ugly Duckling
The film was an adaptation of an original short play of the same name created by Luhrmann and first staged in 1986. At the end of 1988, Luhrmann was approached by producer Tristram Miall to transform his play into a movie.
Luhrmann told Playbill that he would revive the play onstage sometime in 2005, but this never happened.
was a huge hit at the Cannes Film Festival
, winning the "Award of the Youth" prize in the foreign film category. It was sought after by distributors from across the world. Immediately after its showing at Cannes, it was sold to 86 countries for more than $10 million. It has been placed as the film option on the British, South-African and Irish school leaving examinations for English, alongside such classics as On the Waterfront
and Ten Little Indians
, and is studied for the Australian Higher School Certificate English course.
- Paul Mercurio — Scott Hastings
- Tara Morice — Fran
- Bill Hunter — Barry Fife
- Pat Thomson — Shirley Hastings
- Gia Carides — Liz Holt
- Peter Whitford — Les Kendall
- Barry Otto — Doug Hastings
- John Hannan — Ken Railings
- Sonia Kruger — Tina Sparkle
- Pip Mushin — Wayne Burns
- Armonia Benedito Tapia — YaYa
- kylie hastings; Lauren Hewett
- Luke; Steven Grace
- ''For soundtrack details, see Strictly Ballroom (soundtrack).
Among the songs featured on the soundtrack are: