Xanadu Poster

Xanadu (1980)

Fantasy | Romance 
Rayting:   5.1/10 12.2K votes
Country: USA
Language: English
Release date: 10 November 2012

A struggling artist living in Los Angeles meets a girl who may hold the key to his happiness.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

jan-wiberg 3 October 2004

A word of advice to any movie producer: if you have a big-budgeted production that you hope will become a hit, don't hire a director whose only previous experience is on TV. Director Robert Greenwald had directed only TV movie dramas before being assigned to this job, and it shows painfully. The camera either stays still or moves slowly and gracefully, when they should have flung it around and experimented with camera angles to create some oomph for the movie-going audience to feast upon. The only department that really tried here was the art department that created the arty scene-shifts with the accompanying sound effects, and the neon-colored special effects flashing around Kira and the other muses. Don Bluth also provided an animated sequence that offers the only magical moment in the whole film - makes you wish the whole movie had been made in the same style. That would have had so many advantages: the whole superficial story would have been easier to take for instance. Michael Beck would have had a movie career, and we would have been spared from watching "Oh-I'm-so-cute-but-so-poor-at-moving-my-legs-around" Olivia in a second film (or maybe not).

That said, I'm particularly ashamed to admit that I actually like "Xanadu". Very much. The music is the main reason - years before I had seen this film or even heard of it, I had heard "Magic" in the radio, and managed to get a two-minute snippet of it on tape, thinking it was an Abba song I hadn't heard before (no, I'm not an Abba fan - they have a few good songs, but I hate their albums). One day years later, "Xanadu" was on TV in the hotel room I stayed at during a holiday in Sweden - and I happened upon the very scene where "Magic" is heard, where Sonny meets Kira for the first time. Sadly, I couldn't stay to watch the rest, but I immediately wanted to catch the film from beginning to end. Now I have it on tape, and I regularly pop it on my VCR and enjoy the pretty photography, beautiful music, and the irresistibly corny 1980 kitsch "Xanadu" is so chock-full of. A guilty pleasure of the highest magnitude - after all, I'm a nostalgia freak and always will be one.

DallasPeggy 12 September 2004

The first time I saw this movie, I was entranced. At the time, buying a copy of the movie was not an option, but I would have bought a copy if I could have. I spent many happy hours roller skating to the pulsing beats of the soundtrack. Later, I learned that the "critics" had panned it, and I was shocked. Well, what do THEY know, anyway? As ONJ said, in the movie, '…use your imagination.'

What is there to hate about this movie, anyway? ;) The movie contains: people following their dreams, roller skating (and roller dancing), love, the beauty of the California coast, talented artists (painters, musicians, actors, singers, dancers, etc.), a wide variety of cultural experiences, a sound track that is the ultimate in great music, energetic dancing in many different forms, vivid colors, interesting special effects, good-looking people, an upbeat and positive message, and a general appreciation for all forms of art. There's even something for the intellectual in the crowd - the mythical city of Xanadu, discussed in many cultures, was always a place of sparkling jewels, art and beauty. I admit that the acting could have been better. For that, I lowered the rating from a 10 to an 8. But, come on - it wasn't THAT bad.

To me, Xanadu is a piece of art to be appreciated. This is quite a fitting tribute to muses, when you think about it. Now that I own a copy, I will let the beauty of the art surround me whenever I enter the world of Xanadu.

muse31 3 April 2004

When I saw this movie when I was 8yrs. old, I was wonderstruck. There was definitely a magic to it that held me. Of course, I was already awe-struck with Olivia, seeing her in "Grease". I remember looking up the word "Muse" in the dictionary and highlighting it. Yes, I was 8 and impressionable, but the movie has held a "magic" over me ever since and inspired me to write poetry and even use the word Muse in a license plate. It may be campy to some, but for me it was a good movie. I saw Olivia in Concert at Saratoga in 2001. It was a starry night and when she sang "Magic" and "Xanadu" I had tears in my eyes. It was great to hear her sing those songs perfectly and still look like a Muse.

SteveNo96 31 March 2001

Gene Kelly and Olivia-Newton John were really good in this movie. The movie itself may be a bit dated, but it is still well-done, and the music is timeless! I will say that most people have to be in the right mindset to watch it. Most musicals require intelligence to stay through and this is one that was just good, period. I could easily think of a hundred movies that are worse than this.

emmett-glenn 8 July 2006

I have been a fan of ONJ since 1973. At that time, she had already been in three movies. She was only 18 years old when she appeared in an Australian flick called "Christmastime Down Under." In 1970, she starred in a film called "Toomorrow," a science-fiction fantasy that involved alien abduction. Then in 1972, she was in a movie with Cliff Richard where she sang her latest record ("Banks of the Ohio") and a duet with Cliff.

Flash forward 8 years and history is repeated with "Xanadu," only this time Olivia is the star and Cliff joins her for a song ("Suddenly").

Filming started on "Xanadu" with no script. All that existed was an 18-page treatment (plot summary) and an overarching theme: The Big Band Era meets the 80s Rock Era.

Because everyone hired to work on the film was given this overall theme to work with, they all went off to their respective departments and started working: Set designers began designing sets, location scouts went out looking for shooting sites, costume designers started their work...and while all this was going on, development of the script was largely ignored.

The music was written and recorded long before what can be called the "final script" was written. On each day of shooting, the actors were handed a few pages of the script that had been written only the night before. By the time principal filming was done and the film was assembled, so many incongruities and inconsistencies in the film were apparent that scenes had to be rewritten, re-shot, or cut entirely.

Olivia was somewhat of a phenomenon by 1980. She was already named the most successful female recording artist, out-selling even Barbra Streisand. And she happened to star in the most successful musical film of all time: "Grease." At the time, studios came at her from every which way, offering handsome deals so that they could cash in on her enormous commercial appeal.

The producers of "Grease" also approached Olivia with another project, but Olivia's management balked at the money they offered. Allan Carr, the more vocal of the "Grease" producers, said of Olivia's refusal, "She's a pretty face, but she ain't no Streisand." The film Allan Carr wanted Olivia Newton-John to star in was called "Disco Heaven," which was later retitled as "Can't Stop the Music." Instead, the lead role went to Valerie Perrine ("Superman: The Movie"). Her costars...none other than The Village People.

"Can't Stop the Music," although not without a charm of its own, is arguably THE worst musical motion picture of all time.

Another strong contender for worst musical motion picture of all time would have to be Olivia's other film, "Toomorrow." The movie was produced by the same folks who played a role in creating "The Monkees." Because "The Monkees" was such a money-making concept in the US, producers felt they could repeat the success in England. While The Monkees were enjoying success on television in the United States, Toomorrow (also the name of the musical quartet) would star in a series of big screen films in the cinema. Toomorrow would never enjoy such success. Their first outing lasted only a week in theaters before it was pulled from theaters.

Perhaps its failure had something to do with the music. The songs and the singing in "Toomorrow" are poor. The only member of the four-

praxagora 28 January 2006

I originally saw "Xanadu" when it was released in 1980. Gene Kelly was in it, so I had to see it. It didn't hurt that Michael Beck was in it as well. Wow - was I disappointed! I love musicals, especially Kelly's, and "Xanadu" really did not appeal to me - at all.

It really isn't a very good movie. It has almost no plot at all and no real antagonist. What little plot there is, I always felt was just lifted from "Down to Earth" (1947) with Rita Hayworth, and "Cover Girl" (1944) with Hayworth, and Gene Kelly (in which he also plays a character named Danny McGuire, which was a nice homage). The soundtrack is great though, and it is nice to see that Kelly can still dance.

Fast forward to 2006. I got a chance to see "Xanadu" again, on a big screen. Specifically, the wonderful Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The print was gorgeous, and the crowd, which filled the theatre almost to capacity, was incredible.

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! The crowd really got into the movie and I just had a blast! What a great experience! The music is still great, and it was a really, really fun movie.

Anyway - "Xanadu" still isn't a "good" movie, but if you can see it under the right circumstances (ie., on a big screen with an audience) it is a great deal of fun.

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