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Take the Lead
Take the Lead
Actors: Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, Alfre Woodard, John Ortiz
Director: Liz Friedlander
Genres: Drama
PG-13     2006     1hr 58min

Inspired by a true story, Antonio Banderas stars as internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulane in the energetic and moving film Take The Lead. When Dulane volunteers to teach dance in the New York public schoo...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, Alfre Woodard, John Ortiz
Director: Liz Friedlander
Creators: Christopher Godsick, Diane Nabatoff, Mark Kaufman, Mathew Hart, Matt Moore, Michelle Grace, Dianne Houston
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: New Line Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/29/2006
Original Release Date: 04/07/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 04/07/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 58min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 22
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
See Also:

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Member Movie Reviews

Russ B. (Happyfeet) from BENSALEM, PA
Reviewed on 1/10/2015...
I enjoyed the dancing.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Klava D. (bookfan1)
Reviewed on 6/21/2012...
This is a great movie based (I would imagine loosely) on a life of a great person who taught a multitude of kids to dance and about life. Antonio Banderas shines in this role of a ballroom dance teacher who, instead of reporting a teenager he witness vandalizing a car, goes into a public high school and volunteers to lead an after-school detention program. It's a good family film, though it does have some rough language.

This excellent movie includes a lot of dancing, a winner in my book!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Daniel P. from MILACA, MN
Reviewed on 6/9/2011...
An awesomely unorthodox way to teach mutual respect!!!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA
Reviewed on 1/20/2011...
Great Movie :-)
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Flaws and all, I enjoyed it!
L. Quido | Tampa, FL United States | 04/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I agree with many of the reviewers that "Take the Lead" could have benefitted with more dance and less "action". I agree that the plotline's been done before....inspirational teacher arrives at a tough school in a tough situation, is initially mistrusted by a cast of student characters, and prevails because he/she really cares to show up, to teach, and to provide an example and inspiration to the students. Yeah, Sidney Poitier did it, yeah, Michelle Pfeiffer did it, Robin Williams - but still, the story of Pierre Dulaine is real, and it is compelling. And the current ballroom dance "craze" allowed it to be brought to the screen.

Banderas always brings it to his films. He's somewhat of a caricature; the hot, smoky Spaniard with the true heart. I choose to believe his public persona, that he's like this in real life, as well. Banderas is more than fine as Pierre Dulaine - he has a light, believable touch. He inspires. It feels as though making this movie was not just another job, another role to him. I think that quality in Banderas is like the indefinable charm that Hugh Jackman brings to a role....and it's why they're as successful on stage as they are on screen. They're living it.

His student cast - a permanent, multicultural cast of detention junkies (why Yaya Dacoste as LahRette is in detention is anybody's guess), including Rob Brown as Rock (he was good here, fantastic in Finding Forrester), is quirky but endearing (yes, that's a tired clich?, from movies and TV as well).

Dulaine's got a somewhat successful dance studio; he's a widower, his life is busy but not full and these kids strike a chord with him. There's a little mix of hip hop with his ballroom in the classroom, but by far the most fascinating scene in the film takes place at the final competition, when dancer Jenna Dewan (a bit player in the saga of the romantic life of Justin Timberlake) heats up the floor dancing the tango with not ONE, but two partners (small role successes Lyriq Bent, as Easy and Dante Basco, who has big screen potential galore, as Ramos). This trio absolutely makes the audience, both in the film and in seats in the theater stand up and cheer for a sensuous, serious and memorable dance sequence.

I loved both Japanese and American versions of "Shall We Dance?", I was mad for "Mad Hot Ballroom", I even own the DVD of Vanessa Williams' and Chayanne's hot and sexy "Dance With Me" which aired out Latin Ballroom Dancing well before the current film and TV craze. And I loved, "Take the Lead", as well. Formulaic, yes, a little misdirected by first time film director Liz Friedlander, but still a great movie for dance-lovers, and, similar to "Shall We Dance?" and "Dance With Me", it will be a popular DVD for a wider audience.

4 Stars!
4 1/2 stars : inspirational and entertaining
Movie_Fan | Texas | 06/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If I had to describe this movie, I'd call this a mix between the basics of Dirty Dancing : Havana Nights (it combines different types of dancing, Take the lead mixes hip hop and ballroom dancing) and Dangerous minds/Sister Act 2 (in the way the teacher tries to inspire students).

The movie is based on a true story. Mr.Dulane (Antonio Banderas), a ballroom dancer with his own teaching studio, decides to become a detention supervisor in an inner-city school, and then to inspire and teach these kids trust and hope (among others) through ballroom dancing. In exchange, of course, these kids teach him a little something as well. Antonio Banderas is great and is believeable as a ballroom dancer/teacher. The supporting cast also helps carry the movie and does an amazing job.

I really enjoyed this movie. It's an inspirational story, but it also manages to keep clear of corniness and still be entertaining thanks to Banderas' great performance, but also in large part thanks to the dancing and the mix of different styles of music. There's funny parts, there are dramatic parts, it has all the makings of a good movie, and it succeeds, even though I thought it lost its pace once or twice, but nothing the movie doesn't recover from.
I also liked the fact that while it reaches wide audiences, it also has an underlying message, criticizing today's society for setting up a certain outcasting of inner-city schools. But not to worry, the movie has no political agenda, it's all underlying. It's an inspirational movie that's made for entertaining the audience, not beating them on the head with criticism, and in that sense the movie does exactly what it's meant to do.

I highly recommend this movie. (And if you enjoyed this one, you'll probably enjoy "Save The Last Dance", and vice-versa)
Take The Lead Leads The Pack
Steven Hedge | Somewhere "East of Eden" | 01/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Inspired by a true story, this film does not make a saint out of the main character who does make a few missteps as he judges people without really knowing them at times, but his heart is in the right place. Except for Banderas and Woodard who are stars in their own right and perform well here, this film is also dominated by a number of unknowns who are very convincing in their roles. This film does not shy away from the tragedies some of these inner city youths experience everyday of their lives as we witness one girl nearly assualted by a "customer" of her prostitute mother and one boy who witnessed his brother's death and his father's descent into alcoholism. None of these are pretty pictures and none of these problems are solved at the end of the film.

In addition, a fair commentary is made about the way many view our education system both by the public and those in the system. In this film that commentary is embodied in a math teacher who won't cover his after school detention time as he views those kids as losers not worthy of his time and he'd rather be teaching kids that care about what he has to say. How sad that is. I have been teaching for 16 years now and while I enjoy it, I don't do it because my "audience" cares. Wow, that sounds like an awfully big ego trip to only want to teach to the elite of the school; I hate to admit that I know such teachers. One thing I've learned in my time in education is that the moment students (any child) say that they don't need you, then that's when they need you the most. Ironically, this very same teacher turns in the principal later for conducting the dance classes instead of trying to teach the students. Hmmmm . . . Didn't he say they weren't worthy of being taught?

EVERYONE is entitled to a good education, even those that don't know its value yet (heck, they're kids, right?). We can't select who is worthy and throw out the rest. The film certainly gets preachy about this, however, the film's major theme of finding one's self-respect and giving respect to others offers hope to these youths. It is an uplifting story inspite of its obvious flaws."