Movie Review: Skatetown USA

Posted on October 5, 2011 by


Since our roller disco I’ve reignited my love of all things disco and have been attempting to get my hands on any movies related to my passion – skating and disco!!

Skatetown USA was the first on my hit list.


This movie was made in 1979 during the height of the American roller skating fad.  The plot was essentially the story of rivalry between two skaters in a roller disco contest. 

In reality the story line and acting had as much depth as cheap porn (so I’ve heard….)

However, I couldn’t help but love this corny, predicable flick.  It saw the debut of a very young, buff Patrick Swayze – think “Dirty Dancing” but add roller skates!  I knew he could dance but had no idea he had roller skated competitively as a teenager.  He impressively did all his own skating and stunts in the film.  It’s a pity his acting in this movie wasn’t as good as his skating!!!

Patrick Swayze's Movie Debut

In addition, Scott Baio (Happy Days) played Richie, the wholesome competitor’s (Stan) manager.  Maureen McCormick (Marsha Brady) appears as his sister, Susan.  I don’t think she could actually do much more than roll as reflected in most of her scenes.

The story was stilted, disjointed yet predictable.  The lead characters lacked depth and some of the co-stars (I use the term “star” loosely) had way too much air-time which added little to the story other than some very basic, slap-stick comedic value.

Apparently this movie made it to cinemas, but was never licensed to be released on video or dvd and I can see why!  I imagine the actors would be rather pleased if it got lost altogether!

However, the soundtrack was totally worthy with music from artists like The Jacksons, Earth Wind & Fire, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and others.

What I loved was that the setting was based “Flipper’s RollerBoogiePalace”, a Los Angela’s roller disco rink in West Hollywood that opened in 1979.  Filming was done mostly at the Hollywood Palladium and some outside scenes were shot on Santa Monica Pier and at nearby Venice Beach.  A chance to relive my US holiday!

While the story and acting may be weak the skate scenes and music are great.  If you love disco, dancing, roller skating and 70’s nostalgia you will get something out of this.

Grab some friends, some wine (hell, you may need something stronger!) and put this on for a laugh – it makes you appreciate truly good cinema but will inspire you to dash out and get some roller disco dance lessons!

Cinematic Brilliance 0.5/10
Roller Disco Relevance 8/10

So, have you seen it?  I’d be interested in hearing your reviews!

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Posted in: LimboLand