Where was Footloose filmed?
Original Footloose - Utah; Remake - Covington, Georgia
Americana, Contemporary, Rustic, Churches, School Gym
Americana/Anywhere America, Factory/Manufacturing, Modern Building, Modern Car, School
Footloose is a musical drama film that was originally produced in 1984, starring Kevin Bacon. However, the film was remade a re-released in 2011.
Footloose is the story of Ren McCormack, a young man from Chicago who moves to a small southwestern town. A local pastor has helped to pass a town ordinance that outlaws dancing, and McCormack makes a point to see that the ban is reversed.
Footloose is best known for its soundtrack, which included songs by Kenny Loggins (who had just had a run of success when he wrote and performed most of the songs for the Top Gun soundtrack). However, Footloose also has a cult following.
When Ren and his mother move in with Ren’s aunt and uncle, he learns of the pastor’s ban on dancing. Having always enjoyed dancing, Ren convinces his friends Willard, Ariel, and Rusty to go to a country bar about one hundred miles away from town. It’s during the trip that the motivation behind the pastor’s ban is revealed - Ariel’s brother, the pastor’s son, was killed in an accident after a night of drinking and dancing.
Much of the film revolves around Ren and the other teens sneaking around to learn how to dance or go dancing. Eventually, Ren is asked to teach the town kids how to dance. At the same time, Ren’s actions are becoming the talk of the small town. Ariel and Ren began a romance, and eventually, the two will appear at a town council meeting. There, Ariel and Ren use scriptures to prove that dancing is a way to celebrate and rejoice.
It takes the members of Pastor Shaw’s congregation burning library books that they “find dangerous to the town’s youth” that Pastor Shaw sees he must change.
At the prom, Shaw himself decides to dance, and the townspeople realize they can still enjoy dancing without going against their religious beliefs.
The main Footloose film scene is set in the town of Bomont, a city in the Southwestern United States. Bomont should represent Everytown, USA in the early 80s. However, the bulk of shooting for the 1984 version of Footloose takes place in Payson, Utah.
Many of the best scenes in Footloose revolving around Bomont High School were actually shot at Payson High School, located on South Main Street in Payson. Other scenes, such as the arrest of Ren, are filmed at one of the main landmarks of the city, Payson Memorial Park. Many outdoor scenes were filmed on the grounds of the park.
Some filming took place in the capital city of Utah, Provo. Scenes involving Ren’s house were shot in Provo. The home used in most shots is located at the intersection of East 100 North and North 500 East.
One other important scene shows Kevin Bacon as Ren dancing away his anxiety as a new student in a new town. This scene was shot in Lindon, Utah at an industrial-type location off US Route 89.
One of the last Footloose locations takes place at Lehi Roller Mills, a factory that is still in operation today. The mill, which produces flour, is located in the town of Lehi, Utah.
Most of the filming for the remake of Footloose (2011) takes place in Georgia. Some film shoot scenes are done in Hiram, Georgia, but the bulk of scenes are shot in Covington, Georgia.
Footloose is “loosely” based on the town of Elmore City, Oklahoma.
The opening scene in Footloose
American Fork Presbyterian Church, 75 N 100 E, American Fork, UT
The original opening Footloose film scene begins with several dancers enjoying Kenny Loggins’ title song from the soundtrack. (Fun Fact: the gold shoes at 1:18 of the scene are Kenny Loggins himself!)
From the dancing feet at the beginning of the scene, viewers are introduced to John Lithgow as Pastor Shaw. During his sermon, Pastor Shaw leads the congregation in the hymn What a Friend we have in Jesus.
He’s also preaching about the evils of rock and roll, and the “sorry state of our society.” Shaw blames all evils in the world - the proliferation of rock music. He relates crime, and all the evils of society on music - and dancing.
While the pastor says he can’t “get bored” and stop preaching and discussing the evils of music and dancing, his daughter Ariel is painting her nails a bright red.
The opening scene is filmed at American Fork Presbyterian Church on North 100 E in American Fork, Utah. It is only a 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City, the state’s capital city. To visit this Footloose filming location, use Interstate 15 South to West Main Street. You can also take the Frontrunner Bus to Bus 850 or the Blue Line Bus to Bus 871.
The final dance scene in Footloose
Payson High School, 1050 S Main St, Payson, UT
Pastor Shaw has decided he’ll support dancing in Bomont, and the prom is ON! Ren runs into the gym, shouting “Let’s get this party on!” Of course, Ren and the others - Ariel, Rusty, and Willar - all join in a group dance. The other students join in the dance.
It’s the perfect ending to a classic 80s movie. The hair is big, and the dresses are poofy! Different characters take turns on the prom dance floor showing their dance moves.
Outside, Pastor Shaw and Vi share a dance themselves. The preacher finally acknowledges that it is his grief over his son that has brought about his decision to ban dancing. He realizes he’s been wrong all along, and he no longer wants to punish the town for his grief.
Payson High School is on South Main Street in Payson, Utah. Once you get to Payson, leave Interstate 15 and travel about five minutes into town on Main Street.
The tractor competition scene in Footloose
Lehi Mills, 833 E Main St, Lehi, UT
Always in competition, Ren and Chuck decide to play chicken. Chuck has been a thorn in the side of Ren since Ren arrived in town. The “chicken” game will prove whether Ren or Chuck is a coward.
The entire crowd from school shows up to watch the game of chicken. Since Ren is considered a city boy by Chuck, Ren’s nemesis chooses the game of chicken while riding tractors because, certainly, Ren won’t be able to outmaneuver Chuck on a tractor, right?
What Chuck doesn’t realize - but the audience does in a great example of dramatic irony - is that Ren is actually contemplating hopping off the tractor much sooner than Chuck. It is his shoelace caught in the mechanics of the tractor that force him to stay seated on his tractor. Ren never lets on to anyone else that he intends to jump; he has the perfect game face although Ren had to be scared.
Chuck will eventually jump into the creek, and Chuck’s tractor plunges down the side of the hill. All the kids are cheering Ren on for winning the game of tractor chicken, which makes Ren the hero. It also makes Chuck even more determined to defeat his nemesis.
This Footloose filming location was done at the Lehi Roller Mills Flour Mill on East Main Street in Lehi, Utah. It is a 25-minute drive from Salt Lake City going south on I-15. Or you could take the FrontRunner bus to Bus 850 or the Blue Line Bus to Bus 871.
Footloose is a popular film, even more than three decades after its initial release. Kevin Bacon is the original Ren, and he went on to become a household name after the film’s release. The popularity of Footloose carried over into other entertainment genres as well. Kenny Loggins, who sang a great many of the songs on the soundtrack, had already been popular in the 1970s, but his popularity reached new heights with the success of Footloose.
Footloose is so popular that it was remade in 2011. However, the remake did not garner the same attention as the original.
Fans who want to visit the filming locations of Footloose in either Utah or Georgia will find neat places to visit, including many sites around Payson or in Covington. These cities can be easily accessed via a private car, and you can dance the night away in some of the same places as did Kevin Bacon or Kenny Wormald!