DirectorMichael Chapman Initial DVD releaseMarch 5, 2002 Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateOctober 21, 1983 WriterPat Jordan (article), Michael Kane CastTom Cruise (Stefen Djordjevic), Craig T. Nelson (Nickerson), Lea Thompson (Lisa), Charles Cioffi (Pop) Similar moviesRocky IV, Rocky V, Pulp Fiction, Rocky III, Rocky, Rocky II
TaglineHe has everything at stake. He can't afford to lose. He's got to make all the right moves.
All the right moves trailer
All the Right Moves is a 1983 American sports drama film directed by Michael Chapman and starring Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson, Chris Penn and Gary Graham. It was filmed on location during WPIAL football season in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh.
Stefen "Stef" Djordjevic (Tom Cruise) is a Serbian American high school defensive back who is gifted in both sports and academics. He is seeking a college football scholarship to escape the economically depressed small western Pennsylvania town of Ampipe and a dead-end job and life working at the mill like his father and brother Greg. He dreams of becoming an engineer right after he graduates from college. Ampipe is a company town whose economy is dominated by the town's main employer, American Pipe & Steel, a steel mill struggling through the downturn of the early 1980s recession. Stef gets through his days with the love of his girlfriend, Lisa Lietzke (Lea Thompson), and his strong bond with his teammates.
Most of the film takes place after the big football game against undefeated Walnut Heights High School. Ampipe appears headed to win the game, when a fumbled handoff in the closing seconds—as well as Stefen's pass interference penalty earlier in the game—leads to a Walnut Heights victory. Following the game, Coach Burt Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) lambastes the fumbler in the locker room, telling him he "quit" the game. When Stefen retorts that the coach himself quit, the coach kicks him off the team.
In the aftermath, disgruntled Ampipe fans vandalize Coach Nickerson's house and yard. Stefen is present and is a reluctant participant, but is nonetheless seen by Nickerson as the vandals flee. From there, Stefen deals with personal battles, including dealing with the coach blackballing him among colleges because of his attitude and participation in the desecration of Nickerson's yard and house. Stefen gets in an argument with Lisa, and his best friend Brian (Chris Penn) declines college and plans to marry his girlfriend who is pregnant.
Stefen, frustrated by what Nickerson did, angrily confronts his former coach which ends in a shouting match out in the street. But Lisa decides to talk to Nickerson's wife to try and help. In the end, Nickerson realizes he was wrong for blackballing Stefan. He has accepted a coaching position at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and offers Stefen a full scholarship to play football there, which he accepts.
Tom Cruise as Stefen "Stef" Djordjevic
Craig T. Nelson as Coach Burt Nickerson
Lea Thompson as Lisa Lietzke
Charles Cioffi as Pop
Gary Graham as Greg
Paul Carafotes as Vinnie Salvucci
Chris Penn as Brian
Sandy Faison as Suzie Nickerson
James A. Baffico as Bosko
Mel Winkler as Jess Covington
Leon as Shadow
Terry O'Quinn as Freeman Smith
The film was produced by Stephen Deutsch, with Phillip Goldfarb as co-producer. Gary Morton of Lucille Ball Productions was executive producer. The production was filmed over seven weeks in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in mid 1983. A sixty-year-old, recently closed high school, formerly Johnstown High School, was used as the location of the film, along with the town's Point Stadium. Actress Lea Thompson was inserted as a new student at Ferndale Area High School for three days prior to shooting. Tom Cruise was similarly inserted into Greater Johnstown High School but was recognized immediately.
The film has a score of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews and a score of a generally favorable 62% on Metacritic based on 7 reviews. Jay Carr from The Boston Globe stated "Cruise is believable as an athlete," and Janet Maslin of The New York Times called it "a well-made but sugar-coated working-class fable about a football star."
Among the unfavorable reviews, TV Guide called the movie "cliche-riddled" and Richard Corliss of Time called it a "naive little movie (that) hopes to prove itself the Flashdance of football."