10 Old Fashion Belly Dancing Movies

These 10 Old-Fashion belly dancing movies contain the seductive moves of some of the best dancers in history.  These films show the evolution of belly dance costumes and each dancer's individual style, as well as the beginnings of world wide appreciation of this dance form.

  1. "Tamr Henna" (1957). Released in 1957, the film is based on Pygmalion and set in Egypt. Naima Akef stars as a poor dancer being made over into a high-society woman. Akef‘s zil (finger cymbal) work in the carnival scene is one of the highlights of the film.
  2. "Gharam fi al-Karnak" (1965). Featuring Mahmoud Reda, Farida Fahmy and Reda Troupe. A belly dance troupe attempts to put on a performance, but not before a series of hurdles test the dancers' patience.
  3. "Inta Habibi" (1957) starring Hind Rostum. A love triangle between a club owner, another man and the club’s headlining belly dancer. Naima Akef also makes an appearance.
  4. "Shati el Gharam" (1950) with Tahia Carioca. According to Regina Hampton of Serpentine.org, Carioca received her name because she included Brazilian influences in her dancing.  Carioca plays a belly dancer named Soheir who has an affair with a wealthy playboy. He jilts her for a poor singer, but Soheir refuses to go quietly. The melodrama of this film is one of the hallmarks of belly dance movies.
  5. "Izzay Ansak" (1956). Nadia Gamel plays Loza, a dancer who performs in a nightclub while her sister sings. The song "Zanouba" has since become a belly dance staple.
  6. "Khalli Balak min Zouzou" (1972). The star of the film, Souad Hosni, is known as the Cinderella of Egypt. Zouzou, the main character, is a university student who falls in love with her professor, Said. He does not know that Zouzou is also a dancer—a profession seen as lowly in Egypt. His former fiancee plots to expose Zouzou’s secret to Said at a family gathering and destroy their relationship, but Zouzou triumphs. The plot-a poor woman trying to move to a higher class-is common in belly dance movies.
  7. "Mawal al Akdam al Zahabiya" (1966). In this comedy, Nadia Gamel is one of a group of dancers who’ve each been promised marriage by the playboy who created the group. Trouble starts when the dancers find out that they’ve been deceived.
  8. "Aziza" (1954). Naima Akef  is a dancer who works in nightclubs to pay for her sister’s tuition.
  9. "Alham al Shabab" (1943). Tahia Carioca is an ambitious dancer from the country who uses her dancing to get what she wants. The femme fatale is a recurring character in belly dance movies.
  10. "Ahibek Ya Hassan".  Naima Akef stars in this movie about a poor belly dancer who falls for a wealthy man.  Akef dances in western clothing and in another scene uses veils as props.
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