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The 101 Best Movie Dance Routines Of The Last 35 Years

“God wouldn’t have given you maracas if he didn’t want you to shake ‘em.”

Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

Hollywood has really stepped up its choreography game over the last 35 years, gifting audiences with hundreds of incredibly memorable — and mimicable — routines.

So, I laced up my red shoes to look back on the best live-action (sorry, Beauty and the Beast), American-funded (sorry, Strictly Ballroom) films from the last 35 years (sorry, Grease) to determine which routine set the barre the highest.

And away we go.

101. Peter’s evil Spiderman 3 dance (2007)

Columbia Pictures

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer Hamilton
Under the influence of an evil alien parasite, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) gains a new wardrobe, an overinflated sense of self, and — apparently — the ability to literally sweep Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) off her feet.

100. The Sweetest Thing’s ode to the male organ (2002)

Columbia Pictures

Choreographed by: Robin Antin
Relying on moves popularized by a dozen other films that came before it (but mostly Grease), this salacious song came with an equally memorable dance routine.

99. The True Lies tango (1994)

20th Century Fox

Choreographed by: Lynne Hockney
Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to get through this elegant routine, elevated by his partner, Tia Carrere.

98. The Big Lebowski bowls ‘em over (1998)

Gramercy Pictures

Choreographed by: Bill Landrum and Jacqui Landrum
While this fantasy sequence doesn’t feature a ton of dancing, you have to acknowledge any and all pelvic thrusts from The Dude (Jeff Bridges).

97. High School Musical 3: Senior Year goes out on a high note (2008)

Disney

Choreographed by: Charles Klapow, Bayli Baker, Bonnie Story, and Kenny Ortega
For the final performance in HSM history, the gang rocks and rolls at graduation in a classically huge musical number.

96. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure gets a big platform (1985)

Warner Bros.

Choreographed by: Paul Reubens
Pee-wee (Reubens) charms and disarms a biker bar with this iconic rendition of The Champs’ “Tequila Song.”

95. Grease 2 wants to “Score Tonight” (1982)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Patricia Birch, Helena Andreyko, and Greg Rosatti
The euphemisms, like Johnny Nogerelli’s (Adrian Zmed) shirt, fly fast and loose in this catchy musical moment.

94. Little Miss Sunshine gets her “Super Freak” on (2006)

Fox Searchlight

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer Hamilton
The Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, like the Hoover family, will never quite be the same again after Olive (Abigail Breslin) takes the stage for this dance routine that’s as charming as it is inappropriate.

93. Silver Linings Playbook goes for the gold (2012)

The Weinstein Company

Choreographed by: Mandy Moore and Keith Kuhl
Not the most flawless routine, but then again, it’s not supposed to be.

92. Big makes me beautiful music (1988)

20th Century Fox

Choreographed by: Patricia Birch
One of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history is more famous for the tunes that come from Tom Hanks’ and Robert Loggia’s toes, but it wouldn’t sound as sweet without their fancy footwork.

91. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gets totally ’60s (1986)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega and Wilbert Bradley
Ferris (Matthew Broderick) dazzles on “Danke Schoen,” but Chicago comes alive through the magic of “Twist and Shout!”

90. Rolling into Xanadu (1980)

Universal

Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega, Jerry Trent, Greg Smith, and Bob Thompson
The only thing more bizarre than Xandau’s plot (Greek muses visit Earth to help a painter fully realize his vision) must have been the meeting where producers informed the choreographers all their routines had to be performed on roller skates.

89. Footloose’s lesson in busting a move in overalls (1984)

Paramount

Choreographed by: Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Spencer Henderson
The only thing more adorable than Ren (Kevin Bacon) dancing is Ren teaching Willard (Chris Penn) to dance.

88. Risky Business invents the no-pants dance (1983)

The Geffen Company

Choreographed by: Paul Brickman (director) and Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise lost his pants and gained worldwide popularity after this rendition of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

87. (500) Days Of Summer celebrates the best day ever (2009)

Fox Searchlight

Choreographed by: Michael Rooney, Christian Vincent, and Tracy Phillips
The only thing that trumps landing your dream girl is performing a jubilant dance routine about it with 100 perfectly synchronized strangers.

86. Mr. and Mrs. Smith bring the heat (2005)

20th Century Fox

Choreographed by: Laura Behr
The intense chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie really amplifies the rather routine footwork.

85. Airplane finds the funny in “Stayin’ Alive” (1980)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Tom Mahoney
Julie Hagerty is a comedy dream in this silly flashback revealing how the main characters met.

84. Can’t Buy Me Love goes “All Night,” African anteater-style (1987)

Apollo Pictures

Apollo Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Paula Abdul and Carlton Jones
Who knew accidentally watching the wrong TV show could result in an entire high school learning The African Anteater Ritual?!?

83. High School Musical 3: Senior Year does prom right (2008)

Disney

Choreographed by: Charles Klapow, Bayli Baker, Bonnie Story, and Kenny Ortega
Prom will be “A Night To Remember” if these overly concerned high-schoolers have anything to say about it in this frothy celebration of formalwear, which includes an epic Zac Efron pelvic thrust.

82. Natalie’s got soul in Charlie’s Angels (2000)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer Hamilton
Much like the initially apathetic crowd, it’s impossible not to be charmed by Natalie’s (Cameron Diaz) unbridled enthusiasm for dancing.

81. Shag lives up to its name (1989)

Palace Pictures

Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega and Lise Lang
Pudge (Annabeth Gish) and Chip (Scott Coffey) win over the crowd — and one another — with a show-stopping shag routine.

80. Drumline finds a new beat (2002)

Fox 2000

 

Choreographed by: Brian Williams
Laila (Zoe Saldana) and her Sigma sisters bust out their stepping (and flirting) skills at a frat party.

79. Tom Cruise brings the (Tropic) Thunder (2008)

Dreamworks SKG

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Michelle Elkin
While we clearly knew Tom Cruise could dance (See No. 88), the world’s mouth was collectively agape after watching him tear up the floor with this badass hip-hop routine.

78. Reality Bites, but it’s pretty great in a minimart (1994)

Jersey Films

Jersey Films

 

Choreographed by: It’s not confirmed, but presumably Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder, and Steve Zahn
One of the most relatably adorable instances of cinematic dancing, ever.

77. The Save The Last Dance duet (2001)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Fatima Robinson
Sara (Julia Stiles) and Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) take their act out in public and crush the dancefloor with this hip-hop routine.

76. A sparkly Footloose finale (1984)

Paramount

Choreographed by: Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Spencer Henderson
Considering Footloose takes place in a town that outlawed dancing, there are a lot of really good dancers at this prom … thankfully.

75. Hippies invade The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Universal Pictures

Choreographed by: Anne Fletcher
The love flowed heavily after Andy (Steve Carell) finally lost his virginity, thanks to this absolutely ridiculous but utterly wonderful Hair double act.

74. Three’s not a crowd in Take The Lead (2006)

New Line Cinema

Choreographed by: JoAnn Fregalette Jansen, Anthony Talauega, Richmond Talauega, and Allen Walls
A tango threesome sends this movie out on a high note.

73. Sam rocks well in Charlie’s Angels (2000)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Sam Rockwell, Marguerite Derricks, and Jennifer Hamilton
Sam Rockwell’s smooth footwork has worked its way into a half dozen films, but it first hit the screen in this blockbuster with the magic of Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says” behind it.

72. Shall We Dance gets steamy (2004)

Miramax

Choreographed by: Joann Jansen and Liz Curtis
This electric routine looks even better in the dark.

71. All That Jazz hits “Broadway” (1979)

Columbia Pictures

Choreographed by: Bob Fosse, Gene Foote, and Kathryn Doby
While there are more memorable routines, the beauty of “On Broadway” is how perfectly it conveys the sheer volume of dancers clamoring for the same spot.

70. Save The Last Dance’s last dance (2001)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Randy Duncan and Fatima Robinson
The whole movie has led to this: A smooth ballet/R&B hybrid that Julia Stiles performed much of herself. Mad props.

69. A grand entrance to the Moulin Rouge (2001)

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

 

Choreographed by: John O’Connell, Sheree Da Costa, and Pamela French
A trio of back-to-back-to-back spectacularly energetic performances introduce Christian (Ewan McGregor) to the Moulin Rouge: The Can-Can, “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” and “Rhythm of the Night.”

68. Boogie Nights captures the magic of the ’70s (1997)

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

 

Choreographed by: Adam Shankman and Anne Fletcher
This quintessential ’70s sequence immortalizes Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) at the exact moment his naiveté meets fame.

67. Mean Girls’ quartet gets in the holiday spirit (2004)

Paramount

Choreographed by: Donna Feore
Four new names were etched on Santa’s Naughty List thanks to that perfectly synchronized thigh slap.

66. Everyone secretly learned this routine from She’s All That (1999)

Miramax

Choreographed by: Adam Shankman and Anne Fletcher
This reignited the trend requiring all teen movies to feature an overly complex dance routine that everyone at prom inexplicably knows how to perform flawlessly. (Also, can we bring that back now? Please and thank you!)

65. Grease 2 heats up with “Cool Rider” (1982)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Patricia Birch, Helena Andreyko, and Greg Rosatti
A dating profile never looked or sounded as sexy as Stephanie’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) melodic, ladder-climbing classified ad.

64. Chicago gets a double act (2002)

Miramax

Choreographed by: Rob Marshall, Cynthia Onrubia, Denise Faye, and Joey Pizzi, with a special thanks to Bob Fosse
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger prove that two is always better than one (except when it’s not … but keep reading for that).

63. Meet the men of Magic Mike (2012)

Warner Bros.

Choreographed by: Alison Faulk and Teresa Espinosa
Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash put your money where their mouth is in this attention-grabbing group number.

62. Footloose gets a new addition (2011)

Paramount

Choreographed by: Jamal Sims and Dondraico Johnson
For the most part, this 2011 reimagining simply revisits all the iconic routines from the 1984 original — but this elaborate update on the kids’ night out is a foot-stomping good time.

61. From strippers to Showgirls (1995)

MGM

Choreographed by: Marguerite Pomerhn-Derricks, Michelle Elkin, Andrea Moen, and Nancy O’Meara
After a rocky start, Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) nails her opening night performance in Goddess. Now, can anyone tell me what the fuck this batshit show is actually about?

60. The Breakfast Club’s dancebreak (1985)

Universal Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Dorain Grusman
Sometimes ya just gotta dance it out after a long morning of mental and emotional upheaval. Also, weed.

59. The “time” is right at Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (1997)

Touchstone Pictures

Choreographed by: Smith Wordes
“I told you it would pay off to go to those clubs every night.” —Romy White being right as fuck.

58. You Got Served opens with a bang (2004)

Screen Gems

Choreographed by: Shane Sparks, Dave Scott, and Robert Hoffman
Most dance movies save their best routine for the end, not Served. It comes outta the gate hard and fast with a killer battle that puts everyone on notice.

57. Something Borrowed pushes it (2011)

Warner Bros.

Choreographed by: John Carrafa
With a quick — and smart — shout-out to their sixth grade talent show, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) have complete freedom to spontaneously perform a perfectly choreographed dance routine.

56. Honey’s sweet success (2003)

Universal

Choreographed by: Luther A. Brown, Laurieann Gibson, Monica Gomez, Kennis Marquis, and Vergi Rodriguez
You will believe in Honey’s (Jessica Alba) talents as a choreographer after watching her students bring the thunder in this showcase.

55. A laser-focused Step Up 3D routine (2010)

Summit

Choreographed by: Dave Scott, Hi-Hat, Jamal Sims, and Giggi Yazicioglu
Ten minutes of insane popping, locking, tricking, flipping, and battling. In the immortal words of Miss Britney Jean Spears, “Gimme more!”

54. Welcome to Coyote Ugly (2000)

Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Choreographed by: Travis Payne, Udee McGeoy, and Stacy Walker
The audience and Jersey, née Violet (Piper Perabo), get its first introduction to the wild world of Coyote Ugly through a testosterone-triggering routine that includes ass slapping, hair flipping, and fire dancing.

53. Make your own Fame (1980)

MGM

Choreographed by: Louis Falco and William Gornell
Thanks to this spontaneous block party, you’ll have no trouble remembering anyone’s name.

52. Get ready to Step Up (2006)

Touchstone

Choreographed by: Anne Fletcher, Rosero McCoy, Jamal Sims, and Zachary Woodlee
The prevailing dance franchise all began with a white hot contemporary/hip-hop-hybrid that spawned (at least) four sequels and one real-life marriage for stars Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan.

51. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun… and backflips (1985)

New World Pictures

New World Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Otis Sallid and Steve LaChance
Janie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Jeff (Lee Montgomery) have been working for this moment to show their stuff on dance T.V. and they absolutely kill it with acrobatics that would even impress McKayla Maroney.

50. That Footloose feeling can strike anywhere (1984)

Paramount

Choreographed by: Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Spencer Henderson
Mixing intricate aerials and equally complex emotion-driven choreo, Ren’s warehouse freakout is a breakout moment for the iconic film.

49. Pitch Perfect perfects its ladies night (2002)

Universal

Choreographed by: Aakomon Jones and Kyndra Reevey
“We just wanna make the world dance.” And that you did, Bellas. That you did.

48. Joyful Noise brings the funk (2012)

Alcon Entertainment

Choreographed by: Michele Lynch
Clearly ripping off the finale of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, but who’s complaining about thematic similarities when the end result is this energizing?

47. Beetlejuice forces a new day (1988)

The Geffen Company

Choreographed by: Chrissy Bocchino
Demonic possession has never been more fun than it was in Catherine O’Hara’s hands, as she leads a dinner party in the most unexpected Jamaican sing-along ever.

46. Flashdance is more than a “Feeling” (1983)

Paramount

Choreographed by: Jeffrey Hornaday
While “Maniac” might dominate viewers’ memories, the real dancing is happening in Alex’s (Jennifer Beals) final audition.

45. The Addams Family throws one hell of a party (1991)

Orion Pictures

Choreographed by: Peter Anastos and Victoria Hall
The fictional “Mamushka” blends swordplay and fast footwork to create a dizzying display of agility.

44. Dance Billy Elliot, dance! (2000)

Universal

Universal

 

Choreographed by: Peter Darling and Lynne Page
This anger-fueled tap routine proves that sometimes it’s best to just dance it out.

43. There’s nothing The Wedding Planner can’t do (2001)

Columbia Pictures

Choreographed by: Adam Shankman and Anne Fletcher
Jennifer Lopez slays this fiery tango, while Matthew McConaughey is no slouch, keeping a killer frame and wearing a very well-fitting pair of pants.

42. A second stab at Fame (2009)

MGM

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks, Lyle Beniga, Jennifer Hamilton, and Dan Domenech,
So You Think You Can Dance scene-stealer Kherington Payne runs away with this movie’s most memorable routine, set to Sam Sparro’s sublime “Black & Gold.”

41. Britney stans for Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

 

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Michelle Elkin
Mike Myers’ star-studded franchise tapped Britney Spears — at her ab-flaunting peak — to cameo in the dance-tastic opening credits sequence and revealing, in the process, that she’s a Fembot (duh).

40. John Travolta is Stayin’ Alive (1983)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Dennon Rawlesand Sayhber Rawles
While nowhere near as good as Saturday Night Fever, this Broadway-set sequel did feature an insanely long staged sequence, accounting for nearly 20 minutes of intricate choreography.

39. Step Up Revolution sends out a call to arms (2012)

Summit

Choreographed by: Christopher Scott, Chuck Maldonado, Jamal Sims, and Travis Wall
This incendiary seamlessly blends, what feels like, two dozens styles of dance into a tightly packed denouement.

38. Hairspray finds the “Beat” (2007)

New Line Cinema

Choreographed by: Adam Shankman, Anne Fletcher, Jamal Sims, Joey Pizzi, and Zach Woodlee
Even John Travolta’s fat suit shaking can’t stop the sense of inescapable fun coursing throughout this stunning pastiche of ’60s-styles.

37. Step Up 3D storms the streets (2010)

Summit

Choreographed by: Dave Scott, Hi-Hat, Jamal Sims, and Giggi Yazicioglu
Adam Sevani and Alyson Stoner fly through the streets of New York City and remix a classic for a new generation.

36. Moulin Rouge offers a “Spectacular” experience (2001)

20th Century Fox

Choreographed by: John O’Connell, Pamela French, and Sheree Da Costa
A high degree of skill is required to create a routine that feels this insanely spontaneous.

35. Nine is a ten (2009)

The Weinstein Company

Choreographed by: Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Denise Faye, Tara Nicole Hughes, and Joey Pizzi
Kate Hudson delivers this mod routine with such a boundless sense of effervescence that it’s not surprising the performance dominated promotional materials for the movie. Also, her hairography is unrivaled.

34. Step Up 2: The Streets passes the baton (2008)

Summit

Summit

 

Choreographed by: Dave Scott, Hi-Hat, and Jamal Sims
Channing Tatum returns to hand off the reins to Briana Evigan in a killer club battle that starts with trampolines and ends with your applause.

33. Putting the “Dirty” in Dirty Dancing (1987)

Vestron Pictures

Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega and Miranda Garrison
This scene is all watermelons and sweaty, writhing bodies until Patrick Swayze and Cynthia Rhodes arrive to class up the joint and answer the immortal question: “Do You Love Me?”

32. 13 Going on 30 looks to the King of Pop (2004)

Revolution Studios

Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer Hamilton
Mining her not-too-distant childhood, Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) unites a crowd of too-cool hipsters with a charming recreation of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

31. This routine is Love, Actually (2003)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Jonathan Lunn
Nothing says celebration like an unplanned — and unstoppable — dance routine. Even if it’s through 10 Downing Street.

30. A Drop Dead Gorgeous routine (1999)

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

 

Choreographed by: Jerry Mitchell and Pamela Remler
Even if she wasn’t surrounded by second-tier talent (which is being generous), Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst) would have wowed the Mount Rose American Teen Princess Pageant with this rousing tap routine.

29. Auto-motivated in How She Move (2007)

Paramount Vantage

Choreographed by: Hi-Hat, Dante Corde, and Troy Kirby
Ignited by a transformative opening, this car-centric finale routine is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on screen.

28. A Hairspray routine worth running to see (2007)

New Line Cinema

Choreographed by: Adam Shankman, Anne Fletcher, Jamal Sims, Joey Pizzi, and Zach Woodlee
Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) learns a whole new way to dance in detention from Seaweed (Elijah Kelley) and his sister Inez (Taylor Parks).

27. Billy Elliot impresses his father (2000)

Universal Focus

Choreographed by: Peter Darling
The culmination of Billy’s hard work comes to light for his father (Gary Lewis) in a dazzling display of phenomenal footwork.

26. A contemporary classic from Step Up Revolution (2012)

Summit

Choreographed by: Christopher Scott, Chuck Maldonado, Jamal Sims, and Travis Wall
The contemporary routine that caps off the franchise’s fourth installment is a stunning work of art, showcasing the tremendous talents of lead Kathryn McCormick.

25. Roxanne visits the Moulin Rouge (2001)

20th Century Fox

Choreographed by: John O’Connell, Sheree Da Costa, and Pamela French
For all the film’s pomp and circumstance, the single greatest routine in Moulin Rouge doesn’t feature stars Nicole Kidman or Ewan McGregor, nor does it rely on quick-cutting and hyper-surreal visuals. Instead, the camera is trained on an intense tango that has far-reaching results.

24. Show me how you Burlesque (2010)

Screen Gems

Choreographed by: Denise Faye, Joey Pizzi, Aisha Francis, Tara Nicole Hughes, JaQuel Knight, and Melanie Lewis
Christina Aguilera, Julianne Hough, and Kristen Bell lead an army of able ladies in this rolicking routine that is part Pussycat Dolls, part pop music video, and all incredible.

23. The Masked man sure knows how to dance (1994)

New Line Cinema

Choreographed by: Jerry Evans, Mark Martinez, and Marlene Lang
Diaz was an instant star after her screen debut, while Jim Carrey showed he was more than a funny face with this fast-paced — and jaw-dropping — routine.

22. All eyes on Magic Mike (2012)

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

 

Choreographed by: Alison Faulk and Teresa Espinosa
Just Channing Tatum, some Ginuwine, and the world’s rapt attention.

21. All That Jazz and then some (1979)

Columbia Pictures

Choreographed by: Bob Fosse, Gene Foote, and Kathryn Doby
Quintessential Fosse, an essential experience.

20. The reign of Step Up 2: The Streets won’t let up (2008)

Summit

Summit

 

Choreographed by: Dave Scott, Hi-Hat, and Jamal Sims
The wetter, the better — at least that’s how it felt watching this divine rain dance.

19. A Titanic dance break, right ahead (1997)

20th Century Fox

Choreographed by: Lynne Hockney
While nothing about Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose’s (Kate Winslet) love was easy, this quickie dance in third class steerage is the stuff dreams are made of.

18. The soles of The Artist (2012)

The Weinstein Company

Choreographed by: Fabien Ruiz and Elodie Hec
This winning film is capped off with an equally exceptional tap routine, courtesy of stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.

17. Jody’s break from Center Stage (2000)

Columbia Pictures

Choreographed by: Susan Stroman, Lisa Shriver, and Christopher Wheeldon
To quote their instructor, “Just dance the shiiiiit out of it.”

16. Step Up Revolution takes you for a ride (2012)

Summit Entertainment

Choreographed by: Christopher Scott, Chuck Maldonado, Jamal Sims, and Travis Wall
Establishing the film’s anti-establishment tone, the first of The Mob’s many performance pieces sets a high bar: shutting down Miami’s main drag with hydraulic cars and stop-you-in-your-tracks moves.

15. Prepare to Stomp The Yard (2007)

Rainforest Films

Choreographed by: Dave Scott and Chuck Maldonado
The intensely powerful second battle showcases some of the hardest-hitting moves ever captured on screen, courtesy of Chris Brown, Columbus Short, and the two sparring crews.

14. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit will fill you with love (1993)

Touchstone Pictures

Choreographed by: Michael Peters and Eartha Robinson
The standard by which all final act cinematic talent show/competitions are judged. And more than 20 years later, no film has surpassed “Joyful, Joyful” in terms of unbridled pleasure. If you can make it through this routine without smiling like a doofus, well… I feel bad for you.

13. A solo act in Chicago (2002)

Miramax

Choreographed by: Rob Marshall, Cynthia Onrubia, Denise Faye, and Joey Pizzi, with a special thanks to Bob Fosse
CZJ may sing that she “Can’t Do It Alone,” but all evidence works to the contrary. Easily the number that cemented her 2003 Academy Awards win, the real razzle dazzle is Jones here.

12. Slumdog Millionaire introduces Bollywood to the world (2008)

Fox Searchlight

Choreographed by: Longiness Fernandes
Long one of the world’s most popular dance styles, Bollywood came to America in a big way, thanks to the final scene of this Oscar juggernaut.

11. Do The Right Thing starts with a T.K.O. (1989)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Rosie Perez and Otis Sallid
The flyest girl there ever was, Rosie Perez dances her way through the film’s opening credits, quickly cementing the film’s place in the world and forever associating her with this era.

10. Step Up 3D hits hard in Red Hook (2010)

Summit

Choreographed by: Dave Scott, Hi-Hat, Jamal Sims, and Giggi Yazicioglu
Maximizing the 3D format, The Red Hook Round brings an intensity as battle lines are drawn and quickly eviscerated. This routine sets a new franchise standard for intricate choreography.

9. Natalie Portman becomes the Black Swan (2010)

Fox Searchlight

Choreographed by: Benjamin Millepied and Kurt Froman
The transformative power of dance is made flesh — or, feathers, rather — as Portman’s prima ballerina fully realizes her potential in a stirring and disturbing final performance.

8. Coming To America is a gift to dance (1989)

Paramount Pictures

Choreographed by: Paula Abdul
If you’re not wowed by the size and speed this perfectly synchronized army of dancers, at least marvel at the costumes!

7. A League of Their Own has got that swing (1992)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Lou Conte
With the camera trained on her face almost the entire time, you gotta give it up to Madonna for performing — perfectly, at that — the entirety of this sensational swing routine.

6. Pulp Fiction hits up Jack Rabbit Slims (1994)

Miramax

Miramax

 

Choreographed by: It’s not confirmed, but presumably Quentin Tarantino, John Travolta, and Uma Thurman
Effortlessly cool, this laid-back twist has rightfully found a place in pop culture history.

5. How She Move like that?!? (2007)

Paramount Vantage

Paramount Vantage

 

Choreographed by: Hi-Hat, Dante Corde, and Troy Kirby
While women often battle it out within the context of larger group routines, it’s rare for a film to showcase a prolonged showdown between two gifted ladies. Rutina Wesley and Tre Armstrong show Hollywood why that’s such a massive mistake with this astounding face-off.

4. Chicago’s merry murderesses slay in the “Cell Block” (2002)

Miramax

Choreographed by: Rob Marshall, Cynthia Onrubia, Denise Faye, and Joey Pizzi, with a special thanks to Bob Fosse
A troupe of dozens, led by Catherine Zeta-Jones, brings the heat in this majestic ode to justifiable murder.

3. Step Up Revolution suits up (2012)

Summit

Choreographed by: Christopher Scott, Chuck Maldonado, Jamal Sims, and Travis Wall
By realizing their routines need to stand for something greater, The Mob produces a powerful performance that incorporates a smattering of styles and tackles corporate greed in the most beautiful way imaginable.

2. Baby nails her Dirty Dancing lift (1987)

Vestron Pictures

Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega and Miranda Garrison
One of the most beloved films of all time culminates in an equally adored routine that includes the single most iconic image in cinematic choreography.

1. Taking Center Stage (2000)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

 

Choreographed by: Susan Stroman, Lisa Shriver, and Christopher Wheeldon
No film has ever captured the life of a dancer quite like Center Stage, so it makes sense that no film has ever captured the art of dancing quite like Center Stage. The gorgeous, elaborate, and awe-inspiring 10-minute final ballet vacillates between traditional and modern techniques, and the results are exceptional.

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