During a year in the life of the New York School of the Performing Arts, a group of students struggle to succeed in music, drama and dancing while dealing with the personal problems outside the school
This influential stage-school drama, which follows an ambitious number of students (eight main characters jostle for space) dreaming of the big time in their sanctuary from New York's mean streets, has a very different vibe from the TV series it spawned.
The technicolour dance sequences you remember are all present and correct, but the storylines of this film - dealing with abortion, prostitution and drug abuse - show that this is an altogether darker beast, dealing with the real dangers and consequences of the relentless pursuit of celebrity. Still, the largely unknown cast act, sing and dance their little hearts out, and stop the tone from ever becoming too maudlin.
The song and dance scenes are hard to beat in terms of sheer energy and atmosphere, but the dramatic storylines leave several loose ends.