Flashdance: 40th Anniversary Edition (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A Pittsburgh woman with two jobs as a welder and an exotic dancer wants to get into ballet school.

March 29, 2023 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Most people will at least have seen posters of Flashdance or at least know of it by name even if they haven’t seen the film. Still, the film was a hit in 1983 and has only grown in popularity since its debut. Taken from a time that was very cheesy and didn’t take itself too seriously, the film is quite enjoyable if viewed with the proper mindset. Sure it’s corny, but it’s also memorable and very entertaining. Oh, and I also have a celebrity crush on Jennifer Beals, so there’s that too. Just in case anyone cares. And if you don’t, it’s unlikely you’re even reading this. For those still with me, let’s take a look at the plot that you might not be aware of.

I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, but I have seen enough of it in films to have zero desire to ever visit. I bring this up, because this is where the film is set. We meet Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) who is only 18, but already has big plans for her future. She has a tough job as a welder at a steel mill, but at night she is a dancer at a club. Alex isn’t content and has dreams of one day becoming a professional dancer one day. She doesn’t have much family, so she confides in her coworkers, Jeanie (Sunny Johnson) and her boyfriend Richie (Kyle T. Heffner). Jeanie hopes to be a figure skater, while Richie hopes to be a comedian. They both have day jobs, however, to make ends meet. A romantic angle begins between Alex and Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), who is the owner of the steel mill. So this is what we have: Alex is a young girl with a dream who gets involved with the boss and has to balance the many things in her life. It’s more than a bit predictable, but it still somehow works.

It’s widely known that body doubles were used for Jennifer Beals in several scenes, but that doesn’t hurt the film too much. It’s her performance that still shines in the other scenes. There’s also the popular soundtrack that will likely get stuck in the heads of many viewers such as the song Maniac, for one. It is very much a product of the 80’s, but the core story of following your dream in life is one that we can all relate to on some level.

Video: How’s it look?

Paramount came out with a version of this in 2020 with a re-mastered 4K scan, but oddly there was no 4K disc – just a Blu-ray. A few years have passed and now, for whatever reason, we’ve got a true 4K disc. Better late then never, eh? That said, the 1.85:1 HEVC 4K image does show a few signs of improvement over the previously-released Blu-ray (also included in this set). Colors have a bit more pop, detail is a tinge better and the HDR offer some deeper colors. In essence, it’s everything from the Paramount Presents disc but it looks just a bit better. Why they couldn’t have done this the first time has me scratching my head, but hey if you’ve been waiting for Flashdance on 4K – the wait is over.

Audio: How’s it sound?

While some would love to jam to Irene Cara’s “What a feeling!” in full Dolby Atmos glory, that will have to wait. We get the same DTS HD track from the Blu-ray and while it shines as it should, I can imagine it being just a touch better. Vocals are fine and have the clarity we expect as well. There’s a natural sound to much of what we get here. Background banter and city noise add to the experience as well. Like the transfer, this track satisfies.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Nothing new to report here, the same extras from the Paramount Presents disc are here with nothing new added.

  • Filmmaker Focus: Director Adrian Lyne on Flashdance – At just under 6 minutes, this isn’t terribly in depth, but it still features enough strong notes to warrant a viewing..
  • The Look of Flashdance – This one is good as it takes a look at the filming locations, story and characters and all.
  • Releasing the Flashdance Phenomenon – We find another decent feature here that speaks of the film’s popularity and its legacy. It’s worth a look.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

I don’t get the logic with studios sometimes. This disc came out just a few years ago and now to “celebrate its 40th anniversary” we’ve got a 4K version. That’s great, but why not wait and release it now? Was there a demand for it in 2020? Whatever the reason, this is now the definitive version of the movie with regard to audio, video and supplements. So if you’ve been holding out…you’re out of excuses. If you own the Paramount Presents version, I’d say keep it – there’s nothing mind-blowing enough to warrant an upgrade.

Disc Scores