Fame (1980): Alan Parker’s Youthful, Inventive Musical

A charming musical film about life in New York’s High School of Performing Arts, Fame centers on showbusiness as a process, from auditions through rehearsals all the way to graduation.

Director Alan Parker and screenwriter Christopher Gore have reinvented the musical movie genre effectively, in a way that speaks directly and emotionally to youngsters today.

The plotline is routine and the movie may be too episodic, but the performers, including Irene Cara and Laura Dean, are all endearing, their struggles creditable, and some of the songs are highly melodic.

Oscar Alert:

Oscar Nominations: 6

Screenplay (Original): Christopher Gore

Song (Original): “Fame,” music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford

Score (Original): Michael Gore

Sound: Michael Kohut, Aaron Rochin, Jay M. Harding, and Chris Newman

Film Editing: Gerry Hambling

Song (Original): “Out Here on My Own,” music by Michael Gore; lyrics by Lesley Gore

Oscar Awards: 1

Song: “Fame”

Oscar Context:

In 1980, Bo Goldman won the Screenplay Oscar for “Melvyn and Howard,” Thelma Schoonmaker the Editing Oscar for “Raging Bull,” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” received the Sound Oscar.