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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.48%
Average: 1.7%
Pretty Bad: 0.57%
Total Crap: 8.52%

1 review, 170 user ratings

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by Thom

"Venice beach babe as immortal muse. Charming."
4 stars

And no, I don't mean Pamela Anderson-Lee. Disco was dead, theoretically, in 1979 so this film about a roller-disco turned into a film about a New-wave themed roller rink. When I was 10 years old, I thought it was fucking brilliant. and now that I'm 30, I still think its pretty cool.

Xanadu is a MUSICAL complete with spinning twirling dance sequences and songs a-plenty. Some of which made it to the top of the billboard charts. This film was a big smash success that helped secure Olivia Newton-Johns position as a constellation in the Hollywood sky. She'd already made her mark with the GREASE (co-starring John Travolta). Olivia Newton-John took her cash back to Sydney and opened up a chain of boutiques called "Koala Blue". John Travolta was resurrected by an unknown magician through some arcane and deadly incantation called "Pulp Fiction" and his spiritless yet animated corpse has been staggering through miles of celluloid ever since looking for his brain.

ELO recorded the soundtrack. History Lesson. ELO stands for Electric Light Orchestra, and any band that used synthesizers in 1980 were almost like enlightened beings who were operating on a frequency far superior and incomprehensible to mere rock bands.
Electro-synth bands were shrouded in mysterious clouds of incense and billowing robes that hinted of eastern secrets and forbidden knowledge. That was the stage gimmick at any rate. Computers made anything seem so futuristic, there must be a UFO nearby.

To be fair, ELO and indeed the musical-movie XANADU did explore the realm of dreams without ever once including a rainbow or a unicorn. Okay, so Xanadu, even though it was about a straight guy and a greek goddess, is really about the liberation of the spirit and an inclusive (albeit mostly white, black if you just dance and don't talk) society which allows for people to wear hot pants and glitter and sing about being magic and dancing hand in hand and loving life. So yeah, its about Gay Hippies.

And at 10 years old, I needed to know there was a world where it was okay to be a gay hippy.

Because Gene Kelly is in this film, its got an authentic vaudevillian this-is-how-we-used-to-do-it feel. Olivia Newton-John was the tart du jour and Micheal Beck, who played Sonny Malone, the drifter with a dream and a pair of roller-skates had his one big shot with Xanadu. Word on the street is that he is living in Texas and getting parts now and again on television and crappy features.

Gene's character, Danny McGuire is more than just a convenient way to show that Kira the muse (Newton-John) is immortal. He also acts as an inspirational link to help Sonny weave the best of entertainment elements into the ultimate experience, aptly named XANADU! Danny and Kira show Sonny that he should not worry so much about context, or content, but to discover something deeper that grabs people and makes them feel alive. That spirit is universal, and transcends time. Capture that in a bottle and you will be a hero and a rich man. Which he does, and calls his bottle Xanadu.

Thus the Gods instruct man in the ways of success. Who knew Xanadu had an underlying spiritual theme? Its not roller skates that make people happy, or spandex hot pants (although they do make me happy) but some ineffible quality that transcends the elements to become a spirit, a gestalt of joy. Because it is something that you discover through inspiration, it is difficult to explain by writing but once it happens, there is no denying it. You can discover it through drama. Or song and dance routines on rollerskates. More recently, "Pleasantville" worked with a similar idea although they were more explicit about the sexuality part whereas in Xanadu sexuality was more implied.

So now that you see the man behind the orange curtain, does it make the experience any less magical? No, it makes it more awesome that you can know the mechanics of a thing and still be astounded that it affects you in spite of knowing how and why.

I still love this movie. I identified with it then and it has managed to maintain its effect on me in spite of all the changes I've gone through over the past 20 years. The costumes are a little dated, but the theme is timeless.

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originally posted: 03/17/00 08:15:44
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User Comments

6/06/18 bored mom A really underrated musical. Gotta love its peculiar mix of inspiration, camp, and charm. 5 stars
8/17/12 Mark Vanselow NOT a "big smash success" at the time. View it as an epic music video and it's great fun. 5 stars
3/23/11 Sandy & Stephanie (twins) a really cute, lovable movie! it really needs more love! 5 stars
6/21/10 Sarah Good music but terrible film. 1 stars
1/03/10 Jeff Wilder A better title would've been Xanadudu 1 stars
7/19/09 SailorStrawberryKagome I love this movie! Ilove Olivia Newton-John! 5 stars
6/29/09 Carol Baker It's the music that makes the movie and Olivia Newton Johns is one of the best female singe 4 stars
10/13/08 ashley i love this movie today it is still fun to watch and the music and micheal beck are great 5 stars
10/04/08 David Fowler Gorgeous music, incredible, enveloping ambiance. Fuck those who don't like it! 5 stars
1/23/08 Shelly AWESOME! STILL WATCH IT NOW!! 5 stars
12/03/07 Screwball My favorite movie music. I LOVE ELO !!! 5 stars
9/21/07 John W. They needed a goddess to play Kira, so naturally they chose Olivia 4 stars
1/15/07 JOANN GOFF I really loved the movie. It puts you in another world thats so beautiful. 5 stars
11/27/06 bridget Loved this movie as a kid and still do!!! I had such a crush on Micheal Beck back then!! 5 stars
11/16/06 Renee Still watching at 34. Micheal Beck is hot! 5 stars
9/21/06 louis olivia is so fucking hot in Xanadu, worth watching for that alone 5 stars
9/10/06 David Cohen Gene Kelly desered a much better swan song than this 1 stars
8/14/06 Heather This is the greatest movie ever made. No, I'm not kidding. 5 stars
7/19/06 Sandy + Stephanie (twins) love it! 5 stars
6/12/06 sbelara Romantic,entertaining and just fun 5 stars
4/17/06 joe borne Rendered me blind and turned me gay. 1 stars
1/03/06 Wiseman I hate musicals, i havent seen this movie, but the Poster looks trippy... 5 stars
7/20/05 Chris ELO rules, Xanadu sucks 1 stars
4/03/05 saw it ,age 9-10. fell in love with it , all of it. olivia , E.L.O. , gene kelly..... 5 stars
12/31/04 Xana"do" The film was a victim of bad timing. If it'd come out 18mos earlier,it woulda been a hit 5 stars
8/18/04 Alan One of cinemas finest acomplishments!!! 5 stars
7/07/04 crap detector absolute, total crap. a complete waste of time. 1 stars
3/04/04 blue No! 1 stars
1/01/04 The Talking Elbow What the FUCK was this 1 stars
11/30/03 Courtney TOTALLY AWESOME!! 5 stars
11/01/03 Daniel Grant Xanadu yourself a favour, let your mind shift into neutral & slip back in time... go Livvy! 5 stars
8/17/03 Andrew Xanadon't! Xanadon't! Sorry, this movie is just bad, bad, bad.... 1 stars
4/28/03 Eeon This is on par with Omega Doom (starring Rutger Hauer, no less) for the worst film EVER. 1 stars
4/11/03 Jonah Falcon My site gave it a special award: Best Music in a Bad Film. Love ELO and ONJ. :) 4 stars
1/09/03 Patrick Knowles (Phoebe on Friends "got" Xanadu, too.) Loved it at 10, still do. Soundtrack truly sublime. Double feature: this + Altered States 5 stars
12/12/02 Charles Tatum Hokey, awful, great songs, I loved every minute of it 5 stars
12/05/02 kim hughes loved it 5 stars
11/18/02 DAVID L. GRANT To me the film was brillant. I LOVE ELO and OLIVIA the combo was perfect!!!! 5 stars
11/16/02 chris Burke this is one of my favortie movies and the soundtrack is too f ing terrific. Olivia reigns 5 stars
9/22/02 jurgen janssens Great movie but hard to find 5 stars
9/03/02 Shannon A must-own! Corn and camp, but f-ing awesome sdtk! 5 stars
7/31/02 Dee This is my favorite movie since I was just a couple of months old. 5 stars
6/26/02 PyThomas Indeed my guiltiest pleasure. 4 stars
6/18/02 Ryan Lopez Comparing it with movies at that time, I may say that they made quite wonderful movie. 5 stars
5/27/02 R.W. Welch Rather an odd piece of work but has some good tunes, and I'll watch Kelly in anything. 3 stars
5/13/02 Konni I was 5 when I first saw it I identified with it then and it has managed to maintain its e 5 stars
4/28/02 Brian day I just love the move it was great 5 stars
4/24/02 Duane Carter I really loved Xanadu. The music was so cool and I love Olivia 5 stars
4/06/02 NeuroManson The irony is, this movie both brought roller disco to the mainstream, AND killed it! 2 stars
4/03/02 Delfina Bermudez It's a great movie 5 stars
3/25/02 Paul Jesser Elo Is Eternal And SO os Olivia 5 stars
3/18/02 TammyP I Loooove This Movie 5 stars
3/06/02 Mark Love this movie! 5 stars
3/04/02 nicholas nowitski I was only 9 when i first saw it and that's when i fell in love with her. well not now,but 5 stars
2/21/02 Stephen Whiting Even after all these years Xanadu still captures my heart and inspires me to dream. 5 stars
2/20/02 Doug Mc Connell Yes, Fucking Awesome movie. Olivia Newton John Rulz! 5 stars
2/12/02 Maureen The best flashback to my childhood I've ever had. 5 stars
1/22/02 Adam i found it was exciting 4 stars
1/20/02 Tim Cutright great music from elo ; a movie that has class and moves! 5 stars
1/20/02 Juli It#s one of the best films in the world 5 stars
1/16/02 Ray Rivera Yes it's so chessy, but in a Utopian for once we all get along in another place/time. 5 stars
1/16/02 Siobhan Doherty I saw this move when I was 5 years old, and the magic still hasn't left. Absolutely luv it 5 stars
1/10/02 Scott H. I agree with Faith Myers...Baz Luhrman should do a re-make! 5 stars
1/08/02 Jane benson Tacky, yet timeless! 5 stars
1/08/02 max cubero castro very gooooood, excelent 5 stars
1/05/02 faith myers killer movie i'd love to see it remade by baz luhrman 5 stars
12/30/01 wendy hill love the skating,music, and yes the clothes!!!! 4 stars
12/27/01 m w gatch good show 4 stars
12/27/01 Jen It is indeed a timeless movie. Watched it as a young girl & still love it, the music & ELO. 5 stars
12/19/01 Rebecca Dolan Saw it when I was 4, will never forget it, I still love O.N.John today, I am now 25! 5 stars
12/17/01 Garold Hosselton I love ONJ and ELO, The movie showcased Olivia'a talent. Bad film editing, too choppy. 5 stars
12/14/01 kenneth barrett good movie excellent music by ELO.everything they do is fantastic. 5 stars
12/11/01 Ennyl Yerffej So bad it's fun to watch. In a MST3000 kinda way 4 stars
12/09/01 andromeda must see for olivia newton john's fan--great soundtrack!!! 4 stars
12/08/01 Lynn Absolute bull shit. 1 stars
12/07/01 Carol B. Pallazolla I love the music from this movie - it is one of my favorites. G. Kelly is great! Miss him 5 stars
12/06/01 j lin here is the news 1 stars
11/24/01 Fabian de León An excellent movie and an even better soundtrack 5 stars
11/23/01 Michael Dixon discovered the film recently although I had heard the hit title song before. Brilliant. 5 stars
11/21/01 Amanda I love this movie!! 5 stars
10/31/01 kurt fell none 4 stars
10/30/01 Ronda Magical. Romantic. Fun for all ages. 5 stars
10/30/01 marcy yeah baby 5 stars
10/23/01 PomPomBoy Maybe not the best movie ever, but my favourite film though. JUST LIVE THE MAGIC ! 5 stars
10/05/01 briony i love it!! i am 15 and its my favorite movie, the soundtracks great as well! DVD DVD DVD!! 5 stars
9/30/01 claire louise jones very good film if you understand it 4 stars
9/28/01 Courtney Murphy All around feelgood film 5 stars
9/22/01 Jacky Rogers It is my favourite Olivia movie, always has been! the music is great , olivia looks great a 5 stars
9/21/01 Christopher I only wish they'd re-release it on DVD. 5 stars
9/19/01 Sherry Frey Great film 5 stars
9/18/01 Rich I loved it as a kid and still find a lot of magic(no pun intended!!!)within this film!!! 5 stars
9/16/01 Amber Stepp would love to see it!! my mom loved it too! got any idea where i can BUY it??? 4 stars
9/14/01 Adam Pope Magical. Olivia skates up and kisses you-a dream! 5 stars
9/14/01 rubenas fine 5 stars
9/14/01 karen steel love it! 5 stars
9/08/01 clyde slason An inspiration 5 stars
9/07/01 james cult classic love it forever, Olivia isa real Goddess 5 stars
9/06/01 michelle freis loved it, i have the the soundtrack on record and on cd both 5 stars
9/03/01 Carlie One of the most insane movies to come out of the eighties, a definite favourite 5 stars
8/29/01 Cristina Pure, unadulterated FUN! I wore out my original soundtrack, now working on a second 4 stars
8/23/01 mark Joseph Livvy, Roller Skates, and ELO, what more could you ask for 5 stars
8/22/01 DJ_BIGNIGE i am 40 this year,this is my all time fave elo flick 5 stars
8/17/01 Carmen I love this movie and the sound track is the best 5 stars
8/12/01 Sean Work Saw it years ago! Fantastic...from what I can remember. 5 stars
8/09/01 Heather Wilson Thought it was awesome then - still do, it's my favourite movie!! 5 stars
8/08/01 Greg Bates I loved it. It has a great soundtrack, and inspires us to pursue dreams. 5 stars
8/06/01 Jules spiritually erotic 5 stars
8/05/01 Anthony Nations Greatest musical ever made !!! It gets better every time I watch it 5 stars
8/04/01 John Walton Xanadu is my all time favorite musical. Definately eye and ear candy. 5 stars
8/04/01 Aimy Screw the critics!!! I love it! Great Music! Cute love story. Love the Muses! 5 stars
8/02/01 Natasha I was 7 then I'm 27 now and it still takes me back to this magical happy place in side. 5 stars
7/19/01 jess ortega a sound musical, makes me want to get my rollar skates on and go down the disco in them. 4 stars
7/16/01 James Schelnick Leg warmers and Roller skates...HOW CAN YOU BEAT THAT? 5 stars
7/12/01 annie i was 14 then 34 now, i still know the words to the songs 5 stars
7/04/01 Bronson T. Smith MY ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE 5 stars
6/27/01 Rachel i love this movie. its a bit cheesy but the message is still the same. 5 stars
6/23/01 Robert Osterloh I loved this movies and the songs. Wish they were easier to obtain. 5 stars
6/21/01 andrew christian i liked the music the best 4 stars
6/06/01 Dave Awesome Movie, Awesome Music, Awesome Olivia Newton-John 5 stars
6/05/01 Leeanne Ross Great movie !! 5 stars
5/31/01 Ian Durie Magical soundtrack from superstar Olivia 5 stars
5/26/01 Jill Cooper Love it and love the music!!! 4 stars
5/25/01 louis cunningham OLIVIA is Totally Hot- What A Babe 5 stars
5/23/01 Tim Maness great 5 stars
5/23/01 michael (France) a definite ONJ classic 5 stars
5/23/01 Glenn's fag hag Definetly the gayest Classic 4 stars
5/21/01 droit elo was fabulous/ beck sucked 3 stars
5/20/01 Glenn Gay Classic! 5 stars
5/12/01 j.mortell THIS MOVIE SUCKED ASS 1 stars
5/11/01 Anthony loved it, own the soundtrack, great film 5 stars
5/05/01 MARY JO JERKINS Love this movie! Would watch it over and over again! 5 stars
5/04/01 julie rawls i love michael beck to the max. 5 stars
5/02/01 Jorge Olivia, great music, cute story, ELO, Olivia...need I say more! 5 stars
4/24/01 Brian Mc Namara saw it loved Olivia and it introduced me to Jeff Lynn and E.L.O 5 stars
4/17/01 janet my fave movie even named my daughter Keira 5 stars
4/16/01 Corey Q Cheese, cheese, cheese... And my favourite movie EVER! 5 stars
4/12/01 Mark McLean Absolutely Fantastic, I Love this film!! 5 stars
4/09/01 Carole Bell I loved it, the music was fantastic 5 stars
4/09/01 Jason I actually totally enjoyed this movie. Yes, it may be a bit campy but it's all in fun. 4 stars
4/07/01 Sara Classic, I will always love this movie 5 stars
4/04/01 j.mortell this movie sucked ass,give me a break 1 stars
4/04/01 Jennifer Roberts I love this movie...I was born In 1981 so I grew up with this movie and i love it 5 stars
3/27/01 EDWARD M. GARAY Excellent Choreography & Effects for its Time. 5 stars
3/27/01 Thomas Liebold great flick do not get tired of seeing it 5 stars
3/26/01 Lauren Bell I LOVE THIS MOVIE! It is what my childhood is all about! I wish they had made more! 5 stars
3/26/01 Arturo Bosquez a movie every body should watch some time 5 stars
3/19/01 susan bangert lighthearted fantasy good music 4 stars
3/18/01 CHRIS LOVED IT!! 5 stars
3/02/01 Michael Bursztin Olivia Newton-John is extremely pleasant on the eye and her songs are top standard pop tune 4 stars
3/01/01 Mark. Burrows. HATED THE FILM.. LOVED THE ELOMUSIC. 3 stars
2/17/01 Xanadu is based on a poem by Samuel Coolidge called Kubla Khan 5 stars
2/17/01 Miss Christie Hope Brannon Xanadu was my childhood idolic movie, and today I can think of nothing but Magick! 5 stars
2/14/01 cherryann99@hotmail. com I thought this movie was terrific! Who can go wrong with Oliva? 5 stars
2/11/01 Sarah Kubichko I love this movie! I love the soundtrack and am looking to buy it.. any clues? 5 stars
2/05/01 samuel castillo terrific 5 stars
2/03/01 anja it`s my favorite film,i like the music,the dance and the actors.where i can buy this film 5 stars
1/27/01 Jorge Great music, entertaining visuals, nice dancing, cute story and Olivia...GREAT! 4 stars
1/16/01 logan one of the best love storys of the 80's 5 stars
10/22/00 Jed Sorry B.69 but I DEFINTELY have to disagree with you this time. 4 stars
10/21/00 Lee Kramer I was the exec.producer 5 stars
9/06/00 Ken Masterson I've loved this movie since 1981. 5 stars
7/31/00 Elijah Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton-john, ELO, greek mythology? I still love this movie 20 years on? 5 stars
4/30/00 Willie No limit to # times I'll watch it 5 stars
4/06/00 Jed Bit "lame" campy but otherall fascinating. 4 stars
3/12/00 The Bomb 69 P.U. 1 stars
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  08-Aug-1980 (PG)
  DVD: 20-Jul-1999



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