Strictly Ballroom


  • First part of the 'Red Curtain Trilogy'. Followed by Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001).

  • There are only a few professional dancers among the principal cast, including Paul Mercurio, Antonio Vargas, Sonia Kruger, and Leonie Page.

  • Tara Morice was almost never cast as Fran, even though she played the character in the stage version, because the financial backers were reluctant to cast a non-dancer in the role.

  • The film began life as an improvised play, which was later performed at the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia. As a child, director Baz Luhrmann participated in the sorts of ballroom dancing competitions shown in the movie. He also appeared in the original stage play.

  • Director Cameo: the guy whom Scott pushes past while looking for Fran at the Pan Pacifics; he is carrying a silver dress over his shoulder.

  • The film makers had to beg Coca-Cola to allow them to have the sign on top of the studio. The company ended paying a bit for the cost of the sign but not the whole price.

  • Fran's house was a set built on to an existing railway station. The film makers had to hire a train to pass by Fran's house twice. The shot was the most expensive one in the entire film.

  • The flamenco shoes were imported from Spain. So were some of the ornaments of the jacket worn by Scott during the grandfinale. It was the most expensive costume and took over six weeks to make.


Barry Fife: There are no new steps!

Fran: Yeah, well an Open Amateur has no right to dance non-Federation steps, but you did, didn't you?
Scott: But that's different.
Fran: *How* is it different? You're just like the rest of them! You think you're different, but you're not, because you're just, you're just really scared! You're really scared to give someone new a go, because you think, you know, they might just be better than you are! Well, you're just pathetic, and you're gutless. You're a gutless wonder! Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!

Fran: A life lived in fear is a life half lived.

Scott: It's hard for me too, Fran.
Fran: *Hard*? Hard? How hard do you think it's been for *me*? To get you to dance with me in the first place? Frangipannidellasqueegymop. Wash the coffee cups, Fran, how's your skin, Fran? Hard?
Scott: You don't understand.
Fran: I understand. You've got your Pan Pacifics to win, and I'm back in Beginners, where I belong.

Liz: What do I want? I'll tell you what I want! I want Ken Railings to walk in here right now, and say 'Pam Shortt's broken both her legs, and I wanna dance with YOU!'
[the door flies open. It's Ken]
Ken: Pam Short's broken both her legs, and I wanna dance with you.
Kylie: That was unexpected.

Shirley Hastings: And what about Les? He's taught you everything you know, and you're just throwing it back in his face!
Scott: I'm bored with it!
Shirley Hastings: I don't believe I'm hearing this! I've been with your father for twenty-five years! Do you think I get bored? Of course I do!

Barry Fife: Where do you think we'd be if everyone went around making up their own steps?
Scott: Out of a job.

Doug Hastings: Son, can I bend your ear for a tick?
Scott: Not now, Dad.

Ya Ya: Listen to the rhythm. Don't be scared.