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Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979)

PG | | Comedy | October 1979 (USA)
At a roller disco competition, two rivals find themselves becoming good friends while competing for a prize of one thousand dollars in cash.


William A. Levey


Nick Castle (screenplay), William A. Levey (story) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Baio ... Richie
Flip Wilson ... Harvey Ross
Ron Palillo ... Frankey
Maureen McCormick ... Susan
Ruth Buzzi ... Elvira
Greg Bradford ... Stan
Patrick Swayze ... Ace Johnson
Dave Mason Dave Mason ... Himself
Billy Barty ... Jimmy
Katherine Kelly Lang ... Allison (as Kelly Lang)
David Landsberg ... Irwin
Len Bari Len Bari ... Alphonse (as Lenny Bari)
Murray Langston ... The Drunk
Bill Kirchenbauer ... Skatetown Doctor
Denny Johnston Denny Johnston ... The Wizard


At a roller disco competition, two rivals find themselves becoming good friends while competing for a prize of one thousand dollars in cash.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Rock and Roller Disco Movie of the Year!




PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Skate Town See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Skatetown, U.S.A disco was based on Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. It opened in 1979, and the film premiered there. See more »


Referenced in Star 80 (1983) See more »


Skatetown USA
(End Title)
Written by John Beal
Performed by Carolyn Dennis
See more »

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User Reviews

Time Capsule from 1979, and DVD rights.
5 February 2009 | by hank_das_tank88See all my reviews

Well as a former U.S. Marine and roller-skater myself, this film has considerable interest for me. I saw it twice when it first came out. After that, it was about 28 years, until I got my 16mm transfer DVD. Quality isn't the greatest but its good enough to bring back those memories, at least until it comes out on DVD or Blu-Ray DVD. Colors on the transfer are rather muted but I'm sure a Blu-Ray transfer from the original masters will really make this movie sparkle.

Of course those of us who saw Skatetown remember how cheesy this flick was. I won't repeat most of what already has been written but will post a few of my own observations.

One of my favorite sequences was the performance by a skating group known as the "Jerry Nifta Skaters", probably due to the cool remix version of the Jackson's "Shake Your Body" used for their performance (which played quite a bit at the Roller City 2001 rink in Riverside CA back then). Great skating but I kept wondering about the really gorgeous blonde girl in the group. She looked great, mostly a nice figure and wore a rather revealing top. Problem is she had almost nothing to reveal leading me to wonder if she's a he, or is she a tall 11 year old girl? Regardless, they put on a good show.

Of course Patrick Swayze does miracles for any film he's in, even this one in the role which can best be described as a cross between a tough gang leader and a totally gay male ice skater (no prejudice against gays here, just describing the point). But as a lot of us would say, c'mon now, a skating gang?? I see a lot of us Skatetown "fans" are wondering about the rink itself and did this rink really exist. I've seen comments that the rink was actually a specially constructed studio set and doesn't really exist. But some folks have stated that some scenes were filmed in a actual rink, including one claiming to be a extra and stating that a rink in Sherman Oaks, CA was used. Another stated that the Hollywood Palladium was used and from the interior shots I've been able to find, this makes sense. Hopefully if it ever comes out on DVD, the DVD will have some extras to tell us more about where this was filmed (unlike "Thank God Its Friday" DVD which had NO extras).

As for musical rights maybe holding up any DVD release, I'm not sure what to believe. Makes some sense but then again, "Saturday Night Fever" and "Thank God Its Friday" both had a lot of hit songs on their soundtracks and would have the same problem with musical rights. Yet both are out on DVD, albeit TGIF took a while.

When this movie first came out, no one knew that disco was only a few months (if not weeks) away from heading over the cultural cliff into total cultural disrepute. I'm sure the movie makers were disappointed that the accompanying roller disco "craze" was so brief and their movie didn't do so well at the box office.

To sum up, this movie is a definite 1979 time capsule with everything from disco music, to sparking white-afro'd DJs, feathered hairstyles of the day, girls in outfits that would have them barred from the rinks that I frequented in my youth, even in 1979 (I'd swear that a couple of those outfits were predecessors to Victoria's Secret skimpy 1-piece swimsuits), and a overabundance of pink and purple but that might be the muted colors on the DVD transfer.

Fair to say, Skatetown USA is becoming a true "cult classic", much like "Rocky Horror Picture Show" or "Night of the Comet" which leads to hope that it will eventually be out on DVD/Blu-Ray.

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