The Legend of Billie Jean is trashily manipulative and utterly preposterous, so much so that, until the end (when it begins to sour on you), it's a thoroughly enjoyable hoot. Add a splendid cast and good air conditioning, and it's a perfectly mindless way to spend a muggy summer evening.
Director Matthew Robbins keeps the pace light, nonviolent, and more entertaining than a made-for-TV movie. The fashion show's the action. His film is really about a face, and a look, and a haircut. [19 July 1985, p.D4]
Teenagers, who may not have seen this picture's many hero/outlaw predecessors, might like its the pop soundtrack, better-than-average acting and modest punk attire. Everyone else is likely to find Billie Jean the very thing that becomes a legend least. [22July 1985, p.3C]
The Legend of Billie Jean' is competently made, sometimes attractively acted, and bankrupt beyond belief. It's hard to imagine that even the film makers, let alone audiences, can believe in a sweet, selfless heroine who just can't help becoming a superstar.