All the Right Moves (1983)

All the Right Moves (1983)

Taglines: He plays to win.

Stefan “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.

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 Stefan’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 Stefan 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. Stefan is present and is a reluctant participant, but is nonetheless seen by Nickerson as the vandals flee. From there, Stefan deals with personal battles, including dealing with the coach blacklisting him among colleges because of his attitude and participation in the desecration of Nickerson’s yard and house. Stefan gets in an argument with Lisa and his best friend Brian (Chris Penn) drops out of school after getting his girlfriend pregnant.

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.

Considered a male version of Flashdance (1983), both movies were about a young person central character living in a Pennsylvanian town and following their dream to become a success and get out of their town. She was a welder in Pittsburgh, he was destined to stay in his mill town unless he can score a scholarship. The film replaced flash dancing with American football and both films had a distinctive rock soundtrack.

All the Right Moves Movie Poster (1983)

All the Right Moves (1983)

Directed by: Michael Chapman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Lea Thompson, Craig T. Nelson, Charles Cioffi, Gary Graham, Sandy Faison, Chris Penn, Mel Winkler
Screenplay by: Michael Kane
Cinematography by: Jan de Bont
Film Editing by: David Garfield
Set Decoration by: Ernie Bishop
Art Direction by: Mary Ann Biddle
Music by: David Campbell
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 21, 1983