All the Right Moves (1983)

All the Right Moves (1983)

“Scholarship here, no scholarship here. Who the hell gave you that power?”

A high school football star (Tom Cruise) hoping for a college scholarship clashes with his coach (Craig Nelson) and gets kicked off the team.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Coming of Age
  • Dick Miller Films
  • Football
  • High School
  • Mining Towns
  • Teenagers
  • Tom Cruise Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
1983 was a busy year for young Tom Cruise; he starred in no less than four feature films, including Losin’ It, The Outsiders, Risky Business, and All the Right Moves, a “sadly underrated ‘youth film’ set in a poor Pennsylvania mining town.” Ostensibly about football, All the Right Moves is actually a poignant coming-of-age fable: its protagonist, Steff (Cruise), faces a life-altering challenge, and must learn to renegotiate his relationships with his girlfriend, his coach, his parents, and himself. Cruise does a fine job as Steff, but it’s Lea Thompson who truly shines here; it’s too bad her character’s story isn’t given equal weight.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Tom Cruise as the young football star itching for a ticket away from home
  • Lea Thompson’s “mature and appealing” performance as Cruise’s musician girlfriend
  • Craig Nelson as Cruise’s coach

Must See?
No, but it’s worth watching.


One thought on “All the Right Moves (1983)

  1. Tho this may hold some interest for ffs as a rare film directed by the very talented DP Michael Chapman (‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’, etc.), it should also be noted it was written by Michael Kane, the man who gave us ‘Smokey and the Bandit II’ and ‘Jaws 3-D’. …Not a must.

    Achingly paint-by-number, this manipulative, blue-collar underdog tale comes complete with an oppressive yet very ’80s soundtrack and, at times, you may start to think you’re watching a combination of ‘Rocky’ and ‘Flashdance’.

    Plus, it’s all so earnest (at times, laughably so), you could spit.

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