Equal parts drama and musical, Fame treated viewers to a look inside the New York City High School for the Performing Arts to watch a group of talented teens struggle for their chance at stardom. For anyone who ever entertained a dream of seeing their own name in lights, this captivating 1980 film offered a glimpse of the hard work and dedication required to achieve that hallowed name recognition.

Though there was an entire high school of supporting characters, the movie focused on the lives of six students: brazen Coco (who sang the title track, and whose voice still resonates in our memory at the mere mention of “Fame”), shy, plain Doris, the macho and often abrasive Raul Garcia (who went by the name of Ralph Garcey), newly out-of-the-closet Montgomery, talented-yet-shy keyboardist Bruno, and a diamond in the rough dancer named Leroy.

As the film opens, each of characters goes through the grueling audition process, barely making the cut. Next, each of their four collective years of education gets its own film segment, as we watch to see which students have what it takes to reach the coveted graduation day.

Each future performer struggles in their own way, some with the rigorous demands of the school, others with the dangers of the outside world, and some forced to realize that they just don’t have what it takes. They survive by learning to lean on each other for support and comfort in a city that isn’t always kind. Any lest anyone question their talent, the film’s many musical numbers prove that it’s only a matter of time before they see their name in lights.

Fame did quite well at the box-office, and won two of the six Acadamy Awards for which it was nominated – one for Best Original Music Score, and one for Best Original Song. The popularity of the film led to an equally-successful television series of the same name. Debuting in 1982,, the show featured two teachers (Debbie Allen and Albert Hague) and two students (Bruno and Leroy) from the original film. The series ran for six seasons, winning an astounding nine Emmy Awards along the way.

A modernized remake of Fame was released in 2009 and did reasonably well in theaters, but it didn’t quite capture the gritty charm of the original, a film that still resonates with anyone who ever wanted to achieve immortality through their art, or simply have someone remember their name.

If you were a fan of this musical movie, or the tv show it spawned, we hope you’ll take a moment to share all of your Fame memories with us in our comments section below.

One Response to “Fame”

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  1. Lisa Greeley says:

    Wow!! I haven’t thought of this movie in years….My best friend and I LOVED this movie. We wanted to attend that HS in the worst way (of course we had no singing/dancing/acting/musical talent, we just wanted to dress cool and dance on cars, haha). “Out Here On My Own” is my absolute favorite song and scene from the movie..I wonder what ever happened to all of them? Thanks for the memories 😀

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