Flashdance is a 1983 American romantic musical film that was the first collaboration of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and its presentation of some sequences in the style of music videos was an influence on other 1980s films including Top Gun (1986), Simpson and Bruckheimer's most famous production. Flashdance opened to bad reviews by professional critics but was a surprise box office success, becoming the third highest grossing film of 1983 in the USA. It had a worldwide box-office gross of more than $100 million. Its soundtrack spawned several hit songs, among them "Maniac" performed by Michael Sembello and the Academy Award-winning "Flashdance... What a Feeling", performed by Irene Cara, which was written for the film.
Eighteen-year-old Alexandra (Alex) Owens (Jennifer Beals) works as a welder at a steel mill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the day, and as a dancer at Mawby's bar in the evenings. She lives alone in a converted warehouse with her pet dog, Grunt. Despite a lack of formal dance training, she aspires to be accepted by a prestigious dance school, the fictional Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. During one of her performances at Mawby's, she attracts the interest of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), her boss at the steel mill, and he learns that Alex is one of his employees. Alex's best friends also work at Mawby's, and they have their own aspirations to fame. Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who wants to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie's boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian. Also prominent in the film is Johnny C. (Lee Ving), who runs the local strip club The Zanzibar, and is accompanied invariably by his strong but unintelligent bodyguard Cecil (Malcolm Danare). Johnny C. visits Mawby's to see the dancers, and tries to recruit both Alex and Jeanie to work at The Zanzibar. Alex goes to the Conservatory to ask for an application form for an audition, but runs out of the building when she realizes that she lacks any formal training, and will have to leave that section of the form blank. Alex's dance teacher and mentor is a retired ballet dancer named Hanna Long (Lilia Skala), who encourages Alex to pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After Jeanie falls twice while auditioning for an ice show, she loses confidence in herself and becomes a dancer at The Zanzibar, where she performs in the nude, and Alex goes to the strip club to rescue Jeanie. Alex and Nick become lovers, but she later learns that he has an ex-wife named Katie (Belinda Bauer), and they have a hostile encounter in a local restaurant. Nick uses his contacts at the Conservatory to secure an audition for Alex, and just before the audition she goes to Hanna's house and learns that Hanna died the previous night. At the audition, Alex falls at the beginning of her routine, but starts over and completes the routine successfully. In the final scene, Alex runs out of the Conservatory building with a smile on her face and is hugged by Nick, who gives her a bouquet of red roses. She gives a rose to him, and the film ends with a freeze frame. The ending of the film does not say directly whether Alex wins a place at the Conservatory as a result of her audition.