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Take the Lead
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Product Description

A ballroom dance teacher takes his classical training to an inner-city school & gives the students something to believe in - themselves. Studio: New Line Home Video Release Date: 11/11/2008 Starring: Antonio Banderas Rating: Pg13

The sensuous thrill of ballroom dancing collides with the hip-hop world of self-expression in Take the Lead. Antonio Banderas (Desperado, The Mask of Zorro) stars as Pierre Dulaine, a dance teacher who--perhaps to fill a void in his own life--decides to teach the foxtrot and the tango to a group of inner-city high school students who've been put in detention. The kids sullenly resist this intruder with his silly box-steps, but gradually succumb to the allure of passion channeled into physical grace. It's a lot of hooey, of course--the stories about the individual kids are shallow melodrama--but a movie like this isn't so much about plot as about dancing, and the dancing bewitches. The main problem of Take the Lead is that there isn't enough dancing; at least half of the personal struggle of the students could be jettisoned and happily be replaced by fifteen minutes of a sleek and sexy rhumba. Still, Banderas has a warm, ingratiating presence and can spout platitudes about dance with conviction; Alfre Woodard (Crooklyn, Desperate Housewives) has her usual charismatic authority as the school's hard-nosed principal; and the dance competition at the movie's end gives the movie the lift it's wanted for the previous hour and a half. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews:

  • Dance the dance.
    Movies like this, you have to love them. You know from the opening scene how it's going to end and this one even moreso, as it was based in reality. Pierre Dulaine lived and he touched the people he interacted with, and more, they touched him.

    So with nowhere really to go, how do you hook an audience? You tell a compelling story of triumph over adversity, you take us on a stroll through the lives of the cast and you give us pieces of them that make us cheer them on when you feel as if they just might not make it.

    You show us the overworked, underpaid Principal who has to deal with the elitist teacher who feels his way is the only way. You give us the street thug, Rock and the beautiful smart girl, Lahrette who have a bad history but find each other any way. You add a little bit of quirkiness with some really odd love stories, Monster and Kaitlin, Big Girl and Kurd, Sasha, Ramos and Danjou and then for a finisher you give us the obvious and obviously ignored tension between Pierre and Tina and you show us all the stuff that you hope will draw us in.

    And it works here. Take the Lead, which my wife had to drag me to see turned out to be one of the better movies I've caught in theatres this year and when it showed up on DVD, I went out that day and picked it up.

    Will it become a classic? Who knows, all I do know is that I enjoyed it the first time I saw it and I still do whenever I put it on again....more info
  • Take The Lead video
    I love shopping at Amazon. com. I have always had excellent service from all of the sellers. My items have always arrived in a timely manner and as described in the purchase....more info
  • Arrived as promised
    Arrived quickly and great for young teens who might be considering whether to dance or not...very motivating....more info
  • Take the Lead
    product delivered in very short time
    beautifull movie
    1 regret : in Europe only playable on your laptop, not on tv, something about restricted areas, it's a pity...more info
  • Excellent Movie
    This movie portrays the possibilities given to underpriviledged students when just one person steps up and "Take the Lead." The film is about Antonio Banderas, who teaches an inner city group of deliquent high school students how to ballroom dance. Throughout the movie, the students discover dance is a way to escape day to day problems. In the end the students learn a lot about "the outside world" and have respect for themselves and one another....more info
  • "Check Mr. Dulaine getting his flirt on"
    I don't know if I would've bought into this premise if I hadn't seen the film's opening declaration: Inspired by a true story. As it is, the idea of angry, hard-boiled inner city kids being won over by ballroom dancing still seems a bit far-fetched. But Dulaine, an acclaimed past ballroom champion who, with his dance partner Yvonne Marceau, turned his performing company into an outreach program - called Dancing Classrooms - apparently did indeed positively influence and is still influencing many schools in the New York City boroughs. To quote Mr. Dulaine in a New York Daily News interview: "The reason I started the program was because I was so timid and shy, and dancing really helped my confidence so much." As illustrated in one scene in TAKE THE LEAD, Banderas as Dulaine talks to disgruntled parents about the pluses of ballroom dancing and how, in fact, it cultivates self-confidence and a trust and respect for others, all invaluable assets to have as one goes thru life.

    Of course, "Inspired by a true story" means that changes were made with the way it really went down. The biggest liberty that TAKE THE LEAD takes with Dulaine's story is that it bumps up the age of his students from those in the fifth/sixth grade bracket to those old enough to be in high school. That, and the over-emphasis on hip-hop. Both changes, of course, were intended to attract a wider audience; the intention misfired as I believe the domestic box office garnered a paltry 35 million. Dulaine's program, Dancing Classrooms, is also featured in the great documentary MAD HOT BALLROOM, which focused on fifth-graders competing in a New York city-wide dance-off. Most folks, including me, believe that MAD HOT BALLROOM is actually the far more entertaining picture and a more suited homage to Pierre Dulaine and his great efforts.

    But on to the film at hand: Antonio Banderas, as ever, brings a certain sincerity, grace, and energy, along with that old-school Spanish charm. And he can dance a little. In fact, my favorite part of the film is the steamy tango he dances with his sexy uptown student. The always reliable Alfre Woodard is predictably solid as the tough but caring principal. Reb Brown, a young, promising actor who, here, contributes with a good performance, unfortunately doesn't seem as comfortable with ballroom dancing as he is with acting. The last actor of note is Yaya DaCosta as LaRhette; she's pretty good.

    Unfortunately, the story is not. The plot is bogged down with predictability, as well as with the teen cast's forays into their embattled personal lives, which is meant to give them added depth but instead ends up making their characters staid and cliched. There are four romantic or quasi-romantic relationships here, all involving our ballroom delinquents, and the only remotely intriguing one is Rock and LaRhette's; sorry, but I wasn't feeling the love triangle amongst Sasha, Ramos, and the other kid. And, yes, I agree that the best parts of the film are the dance sequences, which never fail to bring life and energy to the screen. Reb Brown aside, the movie offers actors who bring the heat on the dance floor. The three-person tango in the competition stands out in my mind. Reb Brown and Yaya DaCosta's waltz does not. There's stuff thrown in the film at which I couldn't help scoffing. That Mr. Dulaine was able to bring the detention class to heel by simply playing his music too loud is pretty sneer-worthy. And, shown during the closing credits, I don't at all buy that the elder stalwarts at the tradition-bound ballroom competition would've looked on with such benevolence at the kids' hiphop hijinks on the floor - not to mention, joining in at the end for a free-for-all dance-fest. It'd be nice if something like that were to happen, but the way the scene was

    As I've said, I don't know if I would've bought into this premise going in. And, the thing is, TAKE THE LEAD doesn't really do a good job of making the story credible or convincing, true as certain aspects of it may have been. It's a pleasant enough movie, though you'll roll your eyes in spots. In the end, though, should I ever need to recommend a film about ballroom dancing, I think I'll go with the original, Japanese SHALL WE DANCE? or MAD HOT BALLROOM. TAKE THE LEAD gets two and a half stars from me, the last half star because of a snippet of a classic Rakim joint the film played in passing.
    ...more info
  • You Go, ANTONIO!
    Antonio Banderas stars as a Dance instructor looking for more of a 'challenge' in life. He believes the power, disipline & structure of dance can teach local Detention-Hall High School kids to bring back honor & respect in their lives. The Principal & kids scoff at him, at first. But gradually, he gains their respect & they become interested in mixing the old & the current dance trends together. There is a dance contest with his kids involved that is fun to watch, but for those of you hoping to hear typical Ballroom tunes, there isn't much. Most of the music in this film is hip-hop variety. It's a good dance movie....but not great. This story seems like it's been done before. There should've been more scenes with Antoinio dancing, since his charming character carried this film....more info
  • Based On A True Story
    A must if you're a fan of Banderas. A movie put together well and teaches a lesson in not judging too harshly and not to give up, especially when other people are on the outside looking in. Even if you don't think you fit in with what the norm is....more info
  • Dancing
    Excellent movie. Great dancing. I wanted to go out dancing immediately after watching movie. Antonio Banderas as always was flawless. ...more info
  • Lives up to its intention
    The film is not designed to be a "classic" or even an Academy Award winner. It is a simple tale of a dance instructor that turns around a group of incorrigibles raised on hip hop and makes them successes on the ballroom floor, and inspires them to live up to their potential.

    The dance competition at the film's end is quite good, as well as the routines performed during the closing credits.

    Bandaras, as always, brings his singular charisma to the role of the instructor and he is matched by the always dependable Alfre Woodard and a cast of mostly unknowns as the young hoofers....more info
  • Ballroom Dancing Meets Street Dancing
    This movie rocks, it has a lot of talented kids in it and the dancing they do in this movie is awesome. i like how they combine Ballroom dancing with street dancing. It's awesome. This movie is good. and what Dulaine did for these kids was awesome. This movie is based on a true story. You gotta see this excellent film....more info
  • Take the lead DVD Movie
    Great value, Fast and easy transaction. Great to buy from. Thanks for the good movies and service...more info
  • Pierre Dulaine we salute you
    Take the Lead with Antonio Banderas in the title role of Pierre Dulaine is a bonafied keeper. This movie is based on Mr.Dulaine's true story. He was born in the middle east, arrived in the United States in the early 1970's where he competed in ballroom dancing all across the the country winning many championships. Later, Mr.Dulaine was responsible for bringing his love for dance into the public school system. Take the Lead follows Mr.Dulaine as he pays a visit to high school principal "Augustine James" played with style and verve by Alfre Woodard. At first, "Augustine" is amused by Mr.Dulaine's proposal to bring dance to her students and after some reservation, agrees to have him teach her detention class as a start. As Pierre later explains, "Everyone deserves a little culture."

    The kids are not receptive to Mr.Dulaine or his music at first but when he decides to combine his "standards" with their unique blend of rap and hip hop, it's then he begins to capture their interest. This is a wonderful film which follows these students as they learn the basics and soon move on to a city wide competition. Not only do they develop a passion for dance but just as important, a mutual respect for one another.

    Mr.Dulaine's program, known as "Dancing Classroom" has since expanded to the national level now offered in more than forty schools.

    Take the Lead is one of those feel good movies you can watch over again with a memorable soundtrack that's always fun to listen to. ENJOY.

    ...more info
  • Clich¨¦d Misfire, Redeemed, Somewhat, by Performances...
    The life of Pierre Dulaine would, in itself, make a great movie or documentary; of mixed heritage, growing up in the Middle East, he discovered ballroom dancing as a teen in early '70s London, became a champion dancer, then emigrated to America, where he conceived the concept of teaching New York elementary school children dance, to build confidence and share in his passion, creating an urban program which has become a spectacular success.

    Sadly, little of this reaches the screen, in "Take the Lead"; in it's place, you get a bored society dance instructor (Antonio Banderas), who, after seeing a car vandalized, decides to enlist his services at the local high school, where he turns detention into a makeshift dance studio for a stereotyped collection of misfits. Equal parts "Romeo and Juliet", "The Breakfast Club", and "Footloose", the film suffers from too predictable subplots, particularly of two black teens (Rob Brown and Yaya DaCosta), enemies after a shared tragedy, who, naturally, fall in love. While Brown and DaCosta both give excellent performances, it takes precious time away from the dancing that provides the film it's magic. Equally distracting are the 'class distinction' jabs between the 'society' dance students, and intercity teens, and an attempt to meld classic pop 'standards' and 'modern' music, creating a new hybrid dance style which immediately finds favor at a 'traditional' ballroom dance competition...a concept that was silly in the disco days of "Flashdance", and is even sillier, today!

    Frequently lost in all the 'baggage' is a restrained, yet charismatic portrayal of Dulaine by Antonio Banderas, and another of Alfre Woodard's tough-talking, 'heart of gold' School Principal roles; the chemistry between the pair is great fun, whenever they share the screen.

    "Take the Lead" is, ultimately, an average film that misses an opportunity to be truly special; the kids, Dulaine, and dancing, itself, deserve far better!

    ...more info
  • Take The Lead Leads The Pack
    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....more info
  • Great Movie
    I just want to say that this was a great movie. It reminded me of the others, "Shall We Dance", "Step Up", "Save The Last Dance", "Stomping At The Savoy" and the list could go on and on. Antonio was at his best as the dance instructor. The students were outstanding and also was Alfre Woodard. The little teacher who didn't want it to succeed, he was a character that they could have done without, but there is one in every bunch who wants everything new to fail. Just because they were not warming up to him and doing what he wanted them to do, he wanted it to fail. I am so glad that Antonio kept pushing them to succeed. Rob Brown stands out in any movie he is in. Good Actor. Like I said, "Great Movie"....more info
  • Worth it
    I was overly skeptical of this rather sweet and inspiring film experience. It was like, oh god, Dangerous Minds at the ballroom. But no, ultimately it has many winning elements to overcome some absurd shortcomings. Absurd? The idea that Pierre Dulaine would ever possibly tolerate the hybrid formation of hip hop with International standards. On his grave, more likely. Second, that an extra dancer could enter the floor in a tightly regulated and hyper competitive dance competition. Never! Immediate and harsh disqualifications would ensue. And yet . . . Antonio makes great hay off what would in other hands be a Holland's Opus spoof. And, there is a red hot, and I mean code red, scorching hot tango number in the middle, featuring a modernized Liz Holt on booty steroids. You know what I mean. What a scene that is. Finally, the hybridized dancing takeover at the end is decidedly not ballroom . . . but it certainly is great dancing, and fine entertainment. Overall, a nice treat. Suspend your disbelief (as you must with so many other movies, right?) and you may enjoy the hell out of this, as I certainly did. ...more info
  • Saved by the Dance
    I wondered why there was a need for yet another movie of this ilk. The tale of low esteem, underpriviledged kids in a hard neighborhood being nurtured by an esteemed and gifted teacher, in this case gets a re-run through the superlative Banderas(watch his dazzling and emotive dancing in his Spanish movies!). Of course, he gets the wise lines.The sub-plots tread on well-worn ground and the floor-room stuff at the inevitable end keep you waiting. For all this, there's faint suggestion of a sunstantial shift in any one's life. Dancing apart, I found this mushy stuff....more info
  • Take the lead
    This shows that team work in the school is very important.
    I could know that if we have some dreams, to come ture, we have to do the training.

    ...more info
  • Time to take out your dancing shoes
    This was a great movie. I had never seen it before and everyone has been trying to get me to watch it. I finally sat down and watched it. And I couldn't get enough of it. I would have to say out of the entire movie, the ending was the best part. From when they entered the competition to the last tango. I had a blast and it kept me on my toes. Literally I am now back in dance class. I showed my class this movie and almost all of them went to buy it. I adore this movie. Thank you Amazon for being so convenient. : )...more info
  • Could Have Been Better
    This movie is inspired by the true story of a dance teacher who volunteers to teach ballroom dancing to inner-city students in the New York public school system. You get much of the predictable clashing of cultures between the cultured and privileged world of ballroom dancing and poor hip-hop students, but what really matters in this movie is the dancing. Unfortunately there just isn't enough of it.

    The movie attempts too much. It tries to be more than just a dancing movie and touches upon the various dramas going on in the lives of the students. There are just so many of the students that all the subplots end up leaving you hanging, not making sense and being annoying rather than giving more depth to the movie. Still, Antonio Banderas gives the lead character lots of charm and grace and the dancing scenes rock.
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  • Take The Lead - A Must Have
    I rented the movie and that night purchased both the music and movie on Amazon. I have several nieces and nephews and made sure they saw and heard it. It is kind of a 2006 'To Sir With Love'....more info
  • Take The Lead for all High School Students
    I highly recommend this movie become a recommended piece of Art for all high school students. I also recommend that many more schools, rather than just the ones in New York City, should make dancing available to their students. It will build their self-esteem. ...more info
  • A great movie
    I enjoyed this movie very much. It is based on a true story (which I enjoy) and the acting is done very well. The story line is very believeable so you can get caught up in the movie....more info
  • Good Movie To Watch With Your Girl/Wife
    Not too much of a Chick Flick. Good Story Line with many likeable characters. So if the wife wants a movie...this one should do for the both of you. Antonio for her, and a few honies for you....more info
  • Dance As Discipline
    You have to love any movie that has Antonio Banderas in it! However, that's not the reason you should see this movie. "Take the Lead" is a story of hope, triumph, forgiveness and friendship, and all of these are accomplished through the power of dance. The movie teaches that while dance is entertaining, it's a disciplined art form that when developed can produce wonderful results such as self-confidence and poise. "Take the Lead" is a story of inner-city kids' triumph of seeing more than their immediate circumstances, but more importantly, the true life story of Pierre Dulaine who made those triumphs a reality through dance! I give this one two thumbs way up....more info
  • Good movie.
    Funny and very inspirational. Good way to encourage young teenagers to build self esteem. If there's a will, there's a way. Anyone can dance....more info