50 Of The Best Dance Movies That’ll Get You On Your Feet
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but film studios no longer make great dance movies. Perhaps the last good one I can recall was, oh my, was it Black Swan from 2010? Well, that was a while ago. And maybe the remake of Footloose - it was alright, but obviously, nothing beats the original. But let's all jointly agree that the best dancing movies were made during the Golden Age of Cinema (the late 1920s to early '60s). We also had quite a few good ones leading up to the 2000s - can't forget the Dirty Dancing movie.
Speaking of which, did you know that dirty dancing is actually a style of dance, not just an adjective to describe the way one moves? It's free-form, sultry, sensual, yet not overly sexualized, which seems to be a thing in later films. Think of Magic Mike, Showgirls, or Burlesque, for instance. Although to each his own taste. Don't get me wrong, Christina Aguilera and Channing Tatum are looking fire in those films!
Regardless, Hollywood studios are still producing some decent movies about dancing. However, I'm not sure how many of them are currently in the making. It's been a while since I have seen a single announcement for an upcoming dance movie. But who knows? Maybe they will drop a bomb next year? There are also some quality dance movies on Netflix if you have a subscription.
Anyhow, enough with the 'blah blah.' Below, we have prepared a lengthy list of the best dance movies for you to scroll through, from the very classics to less known ones, yet still worthy of being on this list. Which dance movie is your favorite? Do you see it on the list? Let us know!
1987 | 1 hour 40 minutes | Directed by Emile Ardolino
Starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach
Dirty Dancing is perhaps one of the most recognized and best-reviewed movies about dancing. The film plot goes that Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with Johnny Castle, the camp's dancing instructor, while spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family. Earning over $214 million worldwide, it became the first film to sell more than a million home video copies. The film has also received great reviews from critics, who appreciated Grey and Swayze's performances and the soundtrack created by Jimmy Ienner.
1978 | 1 hour 50 minutes | Directed by Randal Kleiser
Starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing
Grease, from 1978, is considered a classic film among many. It is enjoyed by people of all ages and continues to be passed down with love from generation to generation. The outfits, the music in the background, the charm, the performing, and the film's outward impression. The tunes are in the style of 1970s rock'n'roll and are fantastic. The film's tone is bright, lighthearted, and innocent. A classic and a cup of tea for many!
1984 | 1 hour 47 minutes | Directed by Herbert Ross
Starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow
A film with a lot of charm. As you might have already guessed, it is about dancing, but unlike many dance flicks, it's not serious about it. It's silly and loose-limbed, and it lifts you up. Although the plot is unlikely to happen in real life, it's excellent for the adolescent crowd it's aimed towards. The script delves into its clear theme of dancing and rock music and what they represent for young people. The plot goes that a city teen goes to a rural town where rock music and dancing are prohibited, and his rebellious attitude stirs up the quiet life of the locals.
Singin' In The Rain
1952 | 1 hour 43 minutes | Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Singin' in the Rain is a humorous look at Hollywood in the late 1920s. The three stars portray performers caught in the middle of the silent-to-sound film changeover. Although it wasn't a major hit when it was first released, contemporary critics have now dubbed it a legendary film. It is frequently recognized as the most remarkable musical film ever made and, generally, one of the greatest films in history.
2006 | 1 hour 44 minutes | Directed by Anne Fletcher
Starring Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Damaine Radcliff
Finally, the first film from this century made it to the list. The film's plot goes that an impoverished guy, Tyler, and a wealthy contemporary dancer, Nora, are put together in a showcase that later defines their destinies. Despite generally unfavorable critical reviews, the movie was a box office success, collecting $114.2 million worldwide on a $12 million budget.
1983 | 1 hour 35 minutes | Directed by Adrian Lyne
Starring Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala
For moi, a good movie is engaging, interesting, captivating, and emotionally moving. Without a doubt, Flashdance checks all four of these boxes. It's a nostalgic, corny, enjoyable film that never dulls or lags. It's an epitome of the fantastic 1980s and the dancing culture of the period.
Saturday Night Fever
1977 | 1 hour 58 minutes | Directed by John Badham
Starring John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller
The movie's plot goes about a 19-year-old Italian-American from Brooklyn, Tony Manero. Worried about his future after high school, Tony seeks to escape the harsh realities of his miserable home life by dominating the dance floor at the neighborhood disco. After hitting the screens, Saturday Night Fever was a critical and commercial success that hugely impacted popular culture in the late 1970s. The film was also influential in popularizing disco music across the world.
The King And I (1956)
1956 | 2 hours 13 minutes | Directed by Walter Lang
Starring Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno
This is classic Hollywood at its finest. It might be the final great musical and is definitely one of the greatest in its category, with an addictive score and strong acting. Who can doubt the romantic tension between the two protagonists? How can Shall We Dance not make your heart flutter? As long as we remember these fantastic examples of spectacular productions, skilled performers, and intriguing storylines, the Golden Age of Hollywood will live on. Today's filmmakers may learn a thing or two from their forebears.
West Side Story (1961)
1961 | 2 hours 33 minutes | Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise
Starring Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer
West Side Story definitely ranks among the best dance movies ever made. The film's plot involves two teenagers from rival New York City gangs who fall in love. However, the tensions amongst their companions lead to tragedy. The film got mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success, collecting $80 million in North America and ranking sixth among 1984's highest-grossing films.
1936 | 1 hour 43 minutes | Directed by George Stevens
Starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore
Swing Time is a pretext for the stars to do what they do best: dance! This is one of Fred Astaire's and Ginger Rogers' best musicals. It holds a special place in film history, embodying a style that will never be replicated. It was a time before realism when plausibility was utterly irrelevant. A great one!