10 Best Dancing Movies

Long hailed as some of the greatest films ever made, these ten best dancing movies feature breathtaking dance routines that have defined the careers of dancers like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Gregory Hines. Award-winning and masterfully crafted, these films have produced songs that have gone on to become American standards, launched the careers of actors like John Travolta and Kevin Bacon, and have withstood the test of time to become unforgettable and quintessential dance classics.

  1. "Top Hat" (1935) One of many films to feature legendary dance pair Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, this film is one of their all time best and includes Rogers’ famous “feather dress.” The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and was the most successful picture for the duo. “Top Hat” also produced Irving Berlin’s hit song, “Cheek to Cheek.”
  2. "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) The breakthrough role for John Travolta, this film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Considered one of the best dancing movies ever made, the film made a significant impact on disco and features some of the most well-known, and often parodied, dance numbers in film history.
  3. "Singin’ in the Rain" (1952) One of the ten best dancing movies in film history, this film is considered one of Gene Kelly’s finest and features the famous scene in which he sings the title song in the middle of the street. An exceptional performance by Donald O’Connor which included his famous “Make ‘Em Laugh” routine, earned the actor a Golden Globe in 1953.
  4. "Dirty Dancing" (1987) Considered one of the ten best dancing movies of the past decade, this film launched actors Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze into superstardom. A coming of age story set at a Catskills resort during the 1960s, the film won an Academy Award for Best Original Song with “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and introduced Swayze’s famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
  5. "Chicago" (2002) A sensation at the 2003 Academy Awards, “Chicago” took home Best Picture as well as Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones for her career-defining performance as Velma Kelly. A standout performance by comedian John C. Reilly produced one of the film’s best musical numbers, “Mr. Cellophane,” and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
  6. "West Side Story" (1961) One of the ten best dancing movies in film history, this film won ten Academy Awards including Best Picture and holds the distinction of the most awards ever won for a musical. Stellar performances by Natalie Wood, John Astin, and Russ Tamblyn highlight this film whose rumble scene is one of the most remembered dance scenes in all of film.
  7. "Footloose" (1984) The quintessential 80s dance film and the breakout film for actor Kevin Bacon, this film tells the story of a Chicago teen who brings music and dancing back to a small town where such things have been banned by the city council. The film produced a number of hit songs, including the title song by singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins.
  8. "White Nights" (1985) Featuring dazzling performances by Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and famed American tap dancer Gregory Hines, the film follows the two actors as they pursue happiness and fame in the Soviet Union. The film features some of the most impressive dance numbers in film and is one of the ten best dancing movies of Gregory Hines’ career.
  9. "The Little Colonel" (1935) An endearing favorite of Shirley Temple fans, the film was the first pairing between Temple and legendary tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Set in the south shortly after the Civil War, the film features a famous scene in which the duo dance down an elaborate staircase.
  10. "Swing Time" (1936) This film stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and has been called their finest film together. The film features four masterful dance numbers that have been celebrated time and time again. A classic from acclaimed director George Stevens, the film earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936 for “The Way You Look Tonight,” now considered an American standard.
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