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."
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)
100. The Sweetest Thing's ode to the male organ (2002)
99. The True Lies tango (1994)
98. The Big Lebowski bowls 'em over (1998)
97. High School Musical 3: Senior Year goes out on a high note (2008)
96. Pee-wee's Big Adventure gets a big platform (1985)
95. Grease 2 wants to "Score Tonight" (1982)
94. Little Miss Sunshine gets her "Super Freak" on (2006)
93. Silver Linings Playbook goes for the gold (2012)
92. Big makes me beautiful music (1988)
91. Ferris Bueller's Day Off gets totally '60s (1986)
90. Rolling into Xanadu (1980)
89. Footloose's lesson in busting a move in overalls (1984)
88. Risky Business invents the no-pants dance (1983)
87. (500) Days Of Summer celebrates the best day ever (2009)
86. Mr. and Mrs. Smith bring the heat (2005)
85. Airplane finds the funny in "Stayin' Alive" (1980)
84. Can't Buy Me Love goes "All Night," African anteater-style (1987)
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)
82. Natalie's got soul in Charlie's Angels (2000)
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)
80. Drumline finds a new beat (2002)
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)
78. Reality Bites, but it's pretty great in a minimart (1994)
Choreographed by: It's not confirmed, but presumably Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder, and Steve Zahn
77. The Save The Last Dance duet (2001)
76. A sparkly Footloose finale (1984)
75. Hippies invade The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
74. Three's not a crowd in Take The Lead (2006)
73. Sam rocks well in Charlie's Angels (2000)
72. Shall We Dance gets steamy (2004)
71. All That Jazz hits "Broadway" (1979)
70. Save The Last Dance's last dance (2001)
69. A grand entrance to the Moulin Rouge (2001)
68. Boogie Nights captures the magic of the '70s (1997)
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)
66. Everyone secretly learned this routine from She's All That (1999)
65. Grease 2 heats up with "Cool Rider" (1982)
64. Chicago gets a double act (2002)
63. Meet the men of Magic Mike (2012)
62. Footloose gets a new addition (2011)
61. From strippers to Showgirls (1995)
60. The Breakfast Club's dancebreak (1985)
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)
58. You Got Served opens with a bang (2004)
57. Something Borrowed pushes it (2011)
56. Honey's sweet success (2003)
55. A laser-focused Step Up 3D routine (2010)
54. Welcome to Coyote Ugly (2000)
53. Make your own Fame (1980)
52. Get ready to Step Up (2006)
51. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun... and backflips (1985)
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)
49. Pitch Perfect perfects its ladies night (2002)
48. Joyful Noise brings the funk (2012)
47. Beetlejuice forces a new day (1988)
46. Flashdance is more than a "Feeling" (1983)
45. The Addams Family throws one hell of a party (1991)
44. Dance Billy Elliot, dance! (2000)
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)
42. A second stab at Fame (2009)
41. Britney stans for Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)
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)
39. Step Up Revolution sends out a call to arms (2012)
38. Hairspray finds the "Beat" (2007)
37. Step Up 3D storms the streets (2010)
36. Moulin Rouge offers a "Spectacular" experience (2001)
35. Nine is a ten (2009)
34. Step Up 2: The Streets passes the baton (2008)
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)
32. 13 Going on 30 looks to the King of Pop (2004)
31. This routine is Love, Actually (2003)
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)
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)
28. A Hairspray routine worth running to see (2007)
27. Billy Elliot impresses his father (2000)
26. A contemporary classic from Step Up Revolution (2012)
25. Roxanne visits the Moulin Rouge (2001)
24. Show me how you Burlesque (2010)
23. The Masked man sure knows how to dance (1994)
22. All eyes on Magic Mike (2012)
Choreographed by: Alison Faulk and Teresa Espinosa
21. All That Jazz and then some (1979)
20. The reign of Step Up 2: The Streets won't let up (2008)
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)
18. The soles of The Artist (2012)
17. Jody's break from Center Stage (2000)
16. Step Up Revolution takes you for a ride (2012)
15. Prepare to Stomp The Yard (2007)
14. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit will fill you with love (1993)
13. A solo act in Chicago (2002)
12. Slumdog Millionaire introduces Bollywood to the world (2008)
11. Do The Right Thing starts with a T.K.O. (1989)
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)
9. Natalie Portman becomes the Black Swan (2010)
8. Coming To America is a gift to dance (1989)
7. A League of Their Own has got that swing (1992)
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)
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)
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)
3. Step Up Revolution suits up (2012)
2. Baby nails her Dirty Dancing lift (1987)
1. Taking Center Stage (2000)
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.