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70 of the Best Dance Movies of All Time to Watch

Celebrate some of the best dance movies ever made.

Dance movies have left their mark on film history – entertaining and inspiring audiences since the first dance film when Thomas A. Edison recorded the dancer Ruth St. Denis doing a skirt dance in 1894. However, the first official dance movie was Swan Lake from St. Petersburg in 1895. The rest, as they say, is history!

best dance movies collage with center stage, dirty dancing, and step up

As lovers of dance and the dance movie genre, we thought it would be fun to spotlight some of the best dance movies of all time – the ones that seamlessly combine entertaining stories with unforgettable choreography.

Over the years, dance movies have evolved to reflect the changing times. From classics like 42nd StreetThe Red Shoes, and Swing Time to modern favorites like Step Up, these movies exemplify the enduring appeal of dance in cinema. 

RELATED: Movies Like Titanic: 50 Epic Romances to Fall in Love With

Whether they tackle themes of passion and romance or explore the world of professional dance, these movies continually demonstrate that dance is not just a form of entertainment but also a powerful mode of artistic expression.

For this list, we’ve carefully selected dance movies from around the world that have impacted film history or the heart of its viewers. 

This collection has something for everyone, whether you’re a fan of graceful ballroom routines, hip-hop battles, Old Hollywood dance flicks, artistic movies, modern romances, or even musicals. And if you haven’t seen some of our choices (and a title catches your particular interest), we’ve added where you can currently watch each movie.

So, put on your dancing shoes and celebrate with us some of the best dance films ever made.

Note: The availability of these dance movies is current as of the publication date (June 2, 2023). Availability is subject to change at any time. If we update this post, we will let you know here.



#1: 42ND STREET (1933)

42nd Street 1933 film's lobby card
Credit: Warner Bros.

42nd Street takes us back to the golden age of Broadway when the star of a musical breaks her ankle, and an unknown chorus girl takes her place.

The Oscar-nominated dance movie is full of glitz, glamour, and dazzling choreography from the iconic and groundbreaking Busby Berkeley. The National Film Registry also preserved the film for being culturally significant and is included on AFI’s list of the best musicals of all time.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR – but only includes mild suggestive content and violence. 


ABCD bollywood movie poster

Step Up fans will love this Indian Hindi-language dance drama from director and choreographer Remo D’Souza about a group of unlikely dancers competing in a prestigious dance competition. With high-energy and creative dance sequences, infectious music, and a relatable underdog story, ABCD is a real crowd-pleaser.

This one is unique because it’s Bollywood’s first 3D dance movie, not to mention each character’s real-world struggles in the film, from drug abuse to assault. Then there’s the amazing choreography, of course.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix or buy it on DVD.

Content Note: NR, but it has some suggestive content, an assault, and mild swearing.

#3: ALL THAT JAZZ (1979)

All That Jazz 1979 lobby card
Credit: Columbia Pictures/20th Century Fox

Roy Scheider stars in this semi-autobiographical film about director-choreographer Bob Fosse – who also happened to direct. It received nine Academy Award nominations while winning four – including Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Ultimately, Al That Jazz presents an unflinching but fascinating portrayal of the dark side of showbiz and dance. Just be aware that it is on the seedier side, somewhat self-indulgent, and can be pretty vulgar.

Where to Watch: Buy it on DVD.

Content Note: Rated R for nudity (topless scenes of strippers), suggestive content, some strong language, drug use, and intense scenes.


An American in Paris promo shot of Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly dancing
Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly. Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew’s Inc.

What kind of list would this be without the classic romantic musical, An American in Paris? The Oscar-winning film is one of the best dance movies of all time, with the legendary Gene Kelly choreographing dance numbers to George Gershwin’s music.

This classic musical, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, follows an American ex-GI who falls in love amidst the backdrop of post-war Paris. The movie’s climax is a breathtaking 17-minute ballet sequence that is not to be missed.

An American in Paris was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress and is included on the AFI’s list of the Greatest Movie Musicals.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but nothing of note.


Anchors Aweigh 1945 publicity still
Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew’s Inc.

The classic musical comedy stars Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and is perhaps best remembered for Gene Kelly’s legendary onscreen dance with the animated Jerry Mouse (from the Tom and Jerry show).

Anchors Aweigh follows two Navy sailors, played by Kelly and Sinatra, as they try to help a young woman find fame in Hollywood. While it received mixed reviews, the dance scenes are spectacular. It also won an Oscar for Best Music.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but very mild.

#6: ANNIE (1982) 

Annie 1982 publicity still
Credit: Rastar/Columbia Pictures

Annie is a childhood favorite – so we would be remiss not to include the classic family film. John Huston directed this adaptation of the Broadway musical with style and sunshine (and many musical dance numbers) about the adventures of the orphan Annie during the Great Depression.

The uber-wealthy Daddy Warbucks takes her in for the holidays to try and improve his public image – but she still longs to reunite with her birth parents and escape the cruel Miss Hannigan, who runs the children’s orphanage.

Aileen Quinn portrayed the perfect Annie recalling Shirley Temple movies of old. Annie is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a dance movie for the entire family.

You can also check out the excellent 1999 adaptation.

Where to Watch: Annie is available to rent or buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG.

#7: BALLET SHOES (2007)

ballet shoes movie publicity still of three young women
Credit: BBC

Heidi Thomas, the screenwriter of Call the Midwife, penned this lovely period adaptation of Ballet Shoes about three adopted sisters pursuing their dreams. The touching, uplifting story has beautiful dance scenes and a delightful narrative.

The all-star British cast includes Emma Watson, Lucy Boynton, Yasmin Paige, Emilia Fox, Gemma Jones, Eileen Atkins, Marc Warren, Harriet Walter, and more.

Where to Watch: Stream on Peacock, Amazon’s Freevee, Roku, Tubi, and Plex, or buy it digitally on Amazon or DVD.

Content Note: PG.

#8: BEAT STREET (1984)

Beat Street movie poster

Beat Street earns its spot on the list for its groundbreaking portrayal of hip-hop culture and breakdancing scenes. This 1984 film tells the story of young artists and dancers in the South Bronx. When they cross paths with a Manhattan choreographer, the crew soon has the chance to perform on television.

While it’s never going to go down as one of the best films ever made – the cultural significance of this film within the dance movie genre is undeniable. Watch this one for the dance moves and fun factor.

Where to Watch: Stream on Roku, Tubi, and Pluto TV. You can also rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for some strong profanity and a bit of violence.

#9: BILLY ELLIOT (2000)

Billy Elliot 2000 publicity still of Jamie Bell dancing
Credit: BBC Films/Tiger Aspect Pictures/Working Title Films/Universal Focus

Billy Elliot tells the inspiring coming-of-age story of a young boy pursuing his love for ballet despite societal and family expectations. The charming dance movie is funny, sad, and inspirational all at the same time.

Jamie Bell is also excellent in this Oscar-nominated British film about pursuing your dreams. The dancing’s quite good, too.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: Rated R for strong language.

#10: BLACK SWAN (2010)

black swan 2010 still of Natalie Portman
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Natalie Portman won the Oscar for her mesmerizing performance in this dark and intense psychological thriller about the competitive world of ballet. Darren Aronofsky directed this disturbing film that perhaps you’ll only want to watch once – if at all. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: Rated R for disturbing violence, graphic sensual content, strong profanity, drug use, and adult themes.

#11: BREAKIN’ (1984)

breakin 1984 movie still of dancing
Credit: Cannon Films/MGM/UA Entertainment Company

Breakin’ is dated but significant to the history of dance in cinema since, along with Flashdance and Beat Street, it helped popularize the breakdancing style. While the plot and acting aren’t the best, the dancing is superb. Watching this cult classic is like stepping back in time to the 1980s.

Where to Watch: Buy it on DVD.

Content Note: PG for mild sensuality, language, and violence.

#12: BRING IT ON (2000)

Bring it On still of Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku cheerleading
Credit: Beacon Pictures/Universal Pictures

Is cheerleading a form of dance? As former cheerleaders, it’s hard for us to deny the use of intricate dance choreography within cheerleading routines! And Bring It On has some fantastic dance sequences in the film.

The teen romantic comedy spawned a successful franchise with its story of a high school cheerleading squad competing at the championships and continues to be a fan favorite for its fun look at the world of competitive cheerleading.

Related: Bring It On Movie: The Romance of Torrance And Cliff

Where to Watch: Stream it on Tubi or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for language and suggestive content.

#13: BURLESQUE (2010)

Burlesque 2010 movie promo art
Credit: Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Releasing

Christina Aguilera and Cher star in this campy guilty pleasure about a small-town girl entering the world of glamourous cabaret. The dance movie quickly became a cult favorite for its showstopping performances and memorable songs.

While the critics didn’t love the film, it still received numerous Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, mainly for the original songs.

So, while the narrative itself is on the cliché side, it’s so entertaining to watch – you probably won’t mind.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive content, sensuality, language, and partial nudity.

#14: CABARET (1972)

Liza Minnelli in Cabaret
Credit: Allied Artists

Choreographer-director, Bob Fosse brought the musical adaptation of Cabaret to life with this brilliant film set in 1931 Berlin. It’s about Sally Bowles, a nightclub entertainer romancing two different men.

It won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli (who gave a mesmerizing performance). This iconic film blends captivating dance numbers with social commentary, offering the perfect combination of thematic depth and entertaining musical and dance sequences.

If you love jazz, historical dramas, and excellent performances, this one’s for you.

Joel Grey and Michael York also star.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for intense scenes, suggestive content, mild violence, and language.

#15: CENTER STAGE (2000)

Center Stage movie dancing scene
Credit: Columbia Pictures

Center Stage is an influential romantic dance movie you can watch over and over! It takes viewers behind the scenes of a ballet academy as Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull) competes for a spot in a prestigious dance company despite having the wrong body type.

While it’s not beloved by critics, the brilliant choreography, the adorable love story, and the entertainment factor make this one beloved by viewers. The original film started a franchise and influenced many dance movies that followed.

Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

#16: CHICAGO (2002)

Chicago 2002 movie still of Catherine Zeta-Jones dancing
Credit: Miramax Films

The Oscar-winning musical tells the tale of two female criminals vying for publicity and a lawyer’s attention during the Jazz Age in 1920s Chicago.

Besides Catherine Zeta-Jones’s and Renée Zellweger’s award-winning performances, Chicago is one of the best dance movies ever for its impressive musical performances – including the stunning Cell Block Tango scene.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive content, dialogue, violence, and thematic elements.

#17: A CHORUS LINE (1985)

Alyson Reed and Michael Douglas in A Chorus Line
Alyson Reed and Michael Douglas. Credit: Columbia Pictures

This Broadway musical adaptation is about dancers auditioning for a coveted spot in a chorus line. Michael Douglas stars in this film, and while imperfect, it’s a glittering, exciting movie with characters passionate about dance.

Where to Watch: Stream on Paramount+, MGM+, and TCM or buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for profanity and some suggestive content.

#18: THE COMPANY (2003)

Neve Campbell dancing in The Company
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Directed by Oscar-winning director Robert Altman, The Company takes viewers into the world of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, offering an intimate look at the lives and struggles of professional dancers.

With Altman’s signature artistic style and authentic portrayal of the ballet world, this documentary-like film is a must-see for dance lovers. Just don’t expect a big plot.

Neve Campbell, James Franco, and Malcolm McDowell star – along with real dancers from the Joffrey Ballet.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for brief nudity, brief strong language, and some suggestive content.


Dance Academy the movie cast promo shot
Credit: Screen Australia/Film Victoria/StudioCanal

Dance Academy: The Movie is a graceful, captivating follow-up to the excellent (and underrated) Australian TV series Dance Academy. It focuses on the dancers’ lives after graduation.

The main character, Tara Webster, is still recovering from a tragic injury that left her unable to dance, but she isn’t ready to give up on her dreams.

Where to Watch: Stream on Prime Video, Freevee, Peacock, Vudu, Tubi, Pluto TV, and Plex. You can also rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but PG-like.

#20: DANCE WITH ME (1998)

dance with me 1998 promo image
Credit: Columbia Pictures/Mandalay Pictures/Sony Pictures Releasing

This underrated romantic drama pairs Vanessa Williams and Chayanne in a story about a young Cuban dancer looking to connect with his father in Houston – only to partner with a beautiful dance instructor in a dance competition.

What makes this one work is the undeniable chemistry between Williams and Chayanne. The dances are entertaining to watch, too.

Where to Watch: Stream on Tubi or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for mild sensuality and language.

#21: DIL TO PAGAL HAI (1997)

dil to pagal hai movie poster

If you believe in love, you won’t want to miss this award-winning Bollywood musical full of romance, dance, and compelling characters. In Dil To Pagal Hai, a dancer falls in love with her director – but only one of them believes in true love.

Where to Watch: Stream on Prime Video or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG for mild sensuality.

#22: DIRTY DANCING (1987)

dirty dancing still of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey dancing
Credit: Vestron Pictures

As far as dance movies go, you can’t get more iconic than Dirty Dancing! The 80s film follows the summer romance between Baby and the resort dance instructor, Johnny.

With the unforgettable soundtrack (it even won Best Oscar for Original Song), romantic dance sequences with entertaining choreography, sizzling chemistry between Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, and a timeless story of forbidden love, you can never go wrong with Dirty Dancing.

It’s considered one of the best dance movies of all time for its cultural impact and influence on the genre, inspiring countless imitators and spin-offs.

No dance movie ever had a more perfect ending than the final dance sequence set to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

Where to Watch: Stream on Paramount+ or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality, thematic elements, and some language.


dirty dancing havana nights still
Credit: Miramax/Lions Gate Films

While not as revered as its predecessor, Havana Nights is an entertaining romantic dance film that should be more appreciated as a standalone film than a sequel.

The movie follows the teenage Katey Miller (Romola Garai), who moves to Cuba with her family in 1958. There, she meets Javier (Diego Luna) and falls in love with him while they try to win a dance competition.

There’s more of a tragic air and political story to Havana Nights – and the dancing is more authentically Latin inspired. So, while it’s not iconic like the first film, it’s still an absolute treat to watch.  

The choreography of their competition routine is steamy, with Garai and Luna showcasing their sizzling onscreen chemistry. Plus, seeing Patrick Swayze as a dance instructor in a memorable cameo role is nice. And the soundtrack is full of catchy pop songs and Latin music.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality.

#24: EASTER PARADE (1948)

Easter Parade promo photo
Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew’s, Inc.

Hollywood legends Judy Garland and Fred Astaire star in this Oscar-winning romantic musical about an inexperienced chorus girl partnering up with a successful performer trying to make his former dance partner jealous.

Easter Parade was one of the highest-grossing musicals of the 1940s and included standout dance routines to Irving Berlin’s fantastic original music.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: G

#25: FAME (1980)

fame 1980 still of Irena Cara dancing on a car
Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists

This musical drama follows a group of talented students at NYC’s High School for the Performing Arts and their ups and downs. Most known for the Oscar-winning song “Fame,” the unforgettable dance numbers (especially to the song “Fame”) are a sight to see.

This one’s an unmissable dance classic.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: Rated R for strong profanity, some sensuality, suggestive dialogue and dancing, and mild violence.

#26: FLASHDANCE (1983)

Flashdance 1983 publicity still of a young woman dancing in front of a panel.
Credit: PolyGram Pictures/Paramount Pictures

In this story, Jennifer Beals steals the show about a young woman working at a factory during the day and as an exotic dancer at night as she works hard to become a professional dancer.

The fan-favorite film is full of empowering messages, memorable performances, and iconic songs (including “Maniac” and “What a Feeling”).

Where to Watch: Stream on Paramount+ and Hoopla. You can also rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: Rated R for suggestive content, sensual scenes, nudity, and strong language.


Footlight Parade 1933 promo image of female dancers
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Footlight Parade is a classic musical about a producer who creates elaborate dance numbers to save his business.

Full of spicy dialogue, this Pre-Code dance movie includes innovative choreography from the famous choreographer Busby Berkeley – including the iconic “By a Waterfall” scene.

James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, and Ruby Keeler starred. Footlight Parade is also historically significant and was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: G

#28: FOOTLOOSE (1984)

Footloose movie still of everyone dancing
Credit: Silver Screen Partners/Paramount Pictures

Kevin Bacon stars in this cult classic about a city boy who moves to a small town where dancing is banned. The movie is everything you could want from a romantic 1980s dance film.

But what makes it so memorable is the seminal dance scene set to the Oscar-nominated song by Kenny Loggins, “Footloose.”

Where to Watch: Stream on Max and Paramount+. You can also rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG for profanity, suggestive dialogue, and some violence.

#29: FOR ME AND MY GAL (1942)

For Me and My Gal 1942 still with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland dancing
Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew’s Inc

See Gene Kelly’s film debut in this romantic musical from director Busby Berkeley. Judy Garland teams up with Kelly in this story about two vaudeville performers who fall in love while trying to make it big.

The classic musical is full of fancy footwork, a compelling love story, and memorable performances from Kelly and Garland.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but PG-like for mild violence.


Girls Just Want to Have Fun 1985 promo image
Credit: New World Pictures

Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt star in this fun dance movie about two teenage girls auditioning for their favorite dance show.

It is full of 80s nostalgia, a catchy soundtrack, enjoyable dance numbers, and old-fashioned cheesiness. In other words, it’s a perfect guilty pleasure to watch.

Where to Watch: Stream on Prime Video, Roku, Tubi, Hoopla, and Pluto TV. You can also rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG – mild overall.

#31: GREASE (1978)

Grease 1978 still of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta dancing
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta star in this quintessential romantic musical about teens rekindling their romance after a summer fling. It has catchy songs, entertaining dance numbers, and electrifying chemistry between the leads.

Grease is a dance movie that never gets old.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for suggestive references and some language.


The Greatest Showman promo art of the cast from the circus
Credit: 20th Century Fox

If you’ve never had the chance to see Hugh Jackman live on Broadway (he’s the ultimate performer), The Greatest Showman may be the next best thing. He leads an all-star cast (including Zendaya, Zac Efron, and Michelle Williams) in a dazzling musical inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum.

It’s an inspirational film full of underdogs, terrific songs, and awe-inspiring dance routines. The Greatest Showman is an entertaining spectacle that fans of Old Hollywood musicals will enjoy.

Where to Watch: Stream on Disney+ or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG for thematic elements.

RELATED: Classic Romantic Moment: The Greatest Showman’s Love Story in the Stars!

#33: HAIRSPRAY (2007)

Hairspray 2007 cast promo art
Credit: New Line Cinema

An overweight teenager earns a spot as a dancer on a local TV show – and fights for social change – including racial integration.

Hairspray is based on the popular musical and is an entertaining production full of infectious music, romance, and exciting dance routines. Expect a good time watching this one.

Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, and Brittany Snow star.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for language and suggestive content.

#34: HAPPY FEET (2006)

Happy Feet promo art of penguin dancing
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Oscar-winning animated film is about a tap-dancing penguin voiced by Elijah Wood! You can’t get much better than that.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG


high school musical 2006 promo art
Credit: Disney

High School Musical became a pop culture phenomenon (and later a franchise), turning its young cast members into stars. It has outstanding choreography and cute songs and even won some Emmy awards.

Overall, High School Musical (a movie about teens from different cliques putting together a musical) is a fun film for the whole family.

Where to Watch: Stream on Disney+ or buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: TV-G.

#36: HIGH STRUNG (2016)

high strung promo art
Credit: Paladin

An American Dancer and a British violist fall in love in this clichéd but enjoyable dance movie centered around a dance competition. It’s a popular audience pleaser that led to the equally entertaining sequel, High Strung Free Dance.

Where to Watch: Stream High Strung on Prime Video, Roku, Tubi, Crackle, Up Faith Family, and Hoopla. You can also rent/buy both digitally and on DVD. 

Content Note: PG for mild suggestive references and language.

#37: HOLIDAY INN (1942) 

Holiday Inn 1942 still of the couples
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in this cozy and Oscar-winning Christmas movie classic that introduced the iconic song “White Christmas” to everyone. You can’t go wrong with this holiday favorite, full of memorable dance numbers and diverting songs from Irving Berlin.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but nothing of note.

#38: HONEY (2003)

Jessica Alba dances in Honey movie
Credit: Universal Pictures

Jessica Alba stars as a determined young dancer who uses her skills to inspire and empower her community despite her predatory mentor. Honey is a heartwarming tale that combines hip-hop dance with uplifting messages. It’s a fun watch, for sure.

Where to Watch: Stream on Peacock and Tubi or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive references and some drug use.

#39: IN THE HEIGHTS (2021)

In the Heights 2021 dancing still
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Everything comes together in this Lin Manuel-Miranda musical: the choreography, the casting, the original songs, and the joyous narrative.

In the Heights is a story set in Washington Heights about a young man reaching for his dreams and finding romance. Anthony Ramos stars in this crowd-pleaser musical.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive references and language.

#40: LA LA LAND (2016)

la la land movie image
Credit: Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this modern take on the Old Hollywood musical about two ambitious people in Los Angeles reaching for their dreams while falling in love.

It’s full of fabulous choreography – including a gorgeous dance across the stars. La La Land went on to win six Oscars – including Best Picture.

La La Land proves the romantic musical isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for language.

(On a fun side note, we grew up watching Ryan on the all-new Mickey Mouse Club, so it was a blast seeing Ryan sing and dance again. Here’s a little clip of him singing! And yes, that is JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake from NSYNC singing with him, along with the talented actor Dale Godboldo.)


Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple dancing in The Little Colonel
Credit: Fox

This wouldn’t be a dance movie list without including a Shirley Temple movie! While The Little Colonel isn’t her best film, it is historically significant because the famous tap-dancing staircase sequence between Shirley and Bill Robinson was the first interracial dance on film.

And it’s a dance to remember forever.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR – but there is racism in the film, and very reflective of the time it was made.

#42: MAO’S LAST DANCER (2009)

Mao's Last Dancer still
Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Mao’s Last Dancer is a romantic drama/biopic about the true-life story of Li Cunxin, who defected to the West after attending a summer ballet program in Houston. The emotional tale includes beautiful ballet dance routines mixed with compelling narratives.

The cast includes Chi Cao, Amanda Schull (Center Stage), Bruce Greenwood, and Kyle MacLachlan.

Where to Watch: Stream on Prime Video, Peacock, Hoopla, Kanopy, Tubi, Plex, and Pluto TV. You can also rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for brief violence, mild sensuality, and language.

#43: MARY POPPINS (1964)

Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews dancing in Mary Poppins
Credit: Walt Disney Productions/Buena Vista Distribution Company, Inc.

The Oscar-winning family film follows a magical nanny in Edwardian London who uses music, dance, and magic to help a family. The Julie Andrews Disney movie includes numerous iconic dance sequences – including the Chimney-Sweep dance with Dick Van Dyke.

See the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, for even more dancing.

Where to Watch: Stream on Disney+ or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: G

#44: MOULIN ROUGE! (2001)

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge
Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Credit: 20th Century Fox/Bazmark Films

Baz Luhrmann’s musical extravaganza takes viewers to the bohemian world of 19th-century Paris when a naïve young writer falls in love with a courtesan. The Oscar-winning romantic period drama is full of swoony romantic moments, lavish costumes, spectacular dance numbers, and an incredible soundtrack.

We also recommend seeing the Broadway adaptation, which still plays in NYC.

Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive content, sensuality, some profanity, mild violence, and drug use.

RELATED: All Six Spectacular Baz Luhrmann Movies Ranked: From Elvis To Moulin Rouge

#45: NEWSIES (1992)

Newsies 1992 still
Credit: Walt Disney Productions/Buena Vista Distribution Company, Inc.

A young Christian Bale stars in this beloved Disney film about the real-life 1899 NYC Newsboy strike. While the critics didn’t love it, the audience sure did. Newsies even inspired a Broadway musical adaptation after the original 90s film developed a cult following.

The music and dance sequences are so much fun to watch, with Kenny Ortega choreographing (and directing).

Where to Watch: Stream on Disney+ or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for mild violence.


Polina poster

Polina is an underrated, visually stunning French dance movie about a young Russian training to become a prima ballerina only to discover a passion for contemporary dance. It’s a powerful, artistic coming-of-age story with a talented cast and excellent choreography.

Where to Watch: Stream on Kanopy and OVID or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but includes some sensuality and brief violence.


Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy dance in Pride and Prejudice 2005 film
Pride & Prejudice (2005). Credit: StudioCanal/Focus Features

“To Be Fond Of Dancing Was A Certain Step Towards Falling In Love.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Okay, hear us out! Pride and Prejudice may seem like a strange choice – but if you think about it, dance is essential in Austen’s novel and, by extension, the various adaptationsIn an essay about the significance of dancing in Pride and Prejudice, Laurie L. Lyda writes:

“Throughout Pride and Prejudice, dance underscores the theme of courtship and marriage. Only after forming initial matches on the dance floor can Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley progress to the next stage—courtship—which may then culminate in marriage. Thus, dance fulfills its primary function in the novel, as it did in Austen’s society.”

In the 2005 version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, the chemistry shown on the Georgian/Regency dance floor is undeniable!

And if you want an even more swoon-worthy period drama dance scene, check out Becoming Jane!

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG

#48: THE RED SHOES (1948)

The Red Shoes 1948 still
Credit: The Archers/General Film Distributors

Based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Red Shoes is an artistic masterpiece about a ballet dancer torn between her career and love. The classic film is now considered one of the best British films ever made. The British Film Institute even voted it the 9th greatest of all time.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max, Kanopy, and The Criterion Channel or rent/buy digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: NR – has mild swearing and a few frightening scenes.


Saturday Night Fever 1977 still
Credit: Paramount Pictures

The disco-era classic turned John Travolta into a star, even earning him an Oscar nomination for his performance. With its memorable soundtrack, iconic Travolta disco dance moves, and gritty depiction of 1970s Brooklyn, Saturday Night Fever is an essential dance movie and part of film history.

Where to Watch: Stream on Showtime, Paramount+, and MGM+ or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: Rated R and earns it. There’s a disturbing assault, strong graphic content, nudity, profanity, and violence.


Save the Last Dance 2001 still
Credit: MTV Films/Paramount Pictures

Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas star in this teen romance about an interracial couple in Chicago who bond over their love of dance – a blend of ballet and hip hop.

Save The Last Dance will bring you back to the early ’00s with its nostalgic charm and enjoyable storytelling. The actors have great chemistry too!

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for innuendo, sensuality, language, violence, and drug use.


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers promo art
Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew’s Inc

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers is all about the barn-raising dance! The Oscar-winning musical tells the simple (but amusing story) of six brothers in the 19th century wanting to find brides after their brother brings a wife home to the farm.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: G

#52: SHALL WE DANCE? (1996, 2004)

Shall We Dance 2004 promo art
Credit: Miramax Films

Both versions of Shall We Dance (original Japanese and later American) are worth watching if you love dance movies! Both films tell the story of a middle-aged man discovering joy and self-expression through ballroom dance lessons.

They remind the audience that pursuing your passions and finding more meaning in your life is always possible.

Where to Watch: You can stream the 2004 movie on Showtime and Paramount+ or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD. The 1996 dance film is available to buy on DVD.

Content Note: The Japanese film is PG, while the 2004 adaptation is PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive references.


Silver Linings Playbook dance scene
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in this award-winning rom-com about two people with mental health problems entering a dance competition.

Sure, the dancing isn’t professional looking, but the movie highlights how dance can help people with mental health struggles.

Where to Watch: Stream on Prime Video and STARZ or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: Rated R for language, suggestive dialogue, sensual content, and nudity.

#54: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)

Singin in the Rain Gene Kelly
Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew’s Inc

Singin’ In The Rain is one of the best musicals of all time and certainly one of the best dance movies. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor star in this award-winning classic from the golden age of Hollywood about a silent film star falling in love with a chorus girl.

It’s filled with unforgettable song and dance numbers, including Gene Kelly’s iconic performance with an umbrella in the pouring rain.

As far as dance movies go, you can’t get much better than this one!

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: G

#55: STEP UP (2006)

Step Up still
Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

In the first Step Up film, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan showcase their strong chemistry as they fuse street dance styles with an enjoyable love story. The dance movie became so popular it led to a dance franchise!

While it will never be a critical darling, the choreography and chemistry between the leads and the entertaining story make this movie a lot of fun to watch.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for innuendo, brief violence, and thematic elements.

#56: STOMP THE YARD (2007)

Stomp the Yard 2007 still
Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

If you’re a fan of battle dance movies, then Stomp the Yard is one of the best. The story of a street dancer joining a fraternity step-dancing team is an audience favorite with impressive choreography and a fun plot.

Where to Watch: Stream on Paramount+ or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for brief violence, suggestive content, and language.

#57: STORMY WEATHER (1943)

Stormy Weather 1943 still
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Sure, Stormy Weather doesn’t perfectly depict the 1940s Black community. However, the movie itself is revolutionary with its all-black cast. Beyond that, it includes some of the best dance productions ever seen in a film.

You can’t go wrong with this classic and historically significant film, with legendary performers like Bill Robinson, Lena Horne, the Nicholas Brothers, Cab Calloway, and Fats Waller rounding out the cast.

No one should miss out on seeing the “Jumpin’ Jive” number performed by the Nicholas Brothers.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but nothing of note.


strictly ballroom poster

The Australian gem, directed by Baz Luhrmann, tells the story of Scott, an eccentric dancer who defies conventions in the world of ballroom dance. He soon partners up with Fran, an unusual choice since she isn’t a professional. Together, they work on putting together an original routine for a performance.

The love story between Scot and Fran gives Dirty Dancing vibes (although more on the sweet side), with these two soul mates connecting through dance and their unique personalities.

And while the plot might sound cliché, it’s anything but! Strictly Ballroom is pretty much a perfect film with hilarious moments, heartwarming messages, vibrant visuals, dazzling costumes, unique dance choreography, and a memorable love story.

This is Baz Luhrmann at his bizarre but beautiful best.

Where to Watch: Stream on Hoopla or rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG for brief sensuality and language.

#59: SWEET CHARITY (1969)

Sweet Charity 1969
Credit: Universal Pictures

Sweet Charity is a classic Bob Fosse musical about the optimistic dancer Charity, who dreams of finding romance despite numerous disappointments.

The movie is full of iconic musical numbers and dance sequences with Fosse’s influential style. Shirley MacLaine starred in the film, giving one of her best performances.

Where to Watch: Buy it on DVD.

Content Note: G

#60: SWING KIDS (1993)

Christian Bale in Swing Kids
Credit: Hollywood Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Swing Kids is an underrated (but now cult classic) historical drama-dance movie with a brilliant cast including Christian Bale, Robert Sean Leonard, and Kenneth Branagh. The story follows jazz-obsessed teenagers in 1930s Germany dealing with the war on the horizon.

The themes are heavy and emotional, with an intriguing, heartbreaking story, incredible swing dancing scenes, and jazz music.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for violence, language, suggestive references, and thematic elements.

#61: SWING KIDS (2018)

Swing Kids 2018 poster

This Korean film tells the story of soldiers putting together a tap show at a POW camp during the Korean War. It’s like the Life Is Beautiful of dance movies – both heartbreaking and uplifting.

Where to Watch: Stream on Peacock, Viki, AsianCrush, Freevee, Roku, Tubi, and Plex or rent/buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 but should be TV-MA for graphic violence and strong language.

#62: SWING TIME (1936)

Swing Time still of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing together.
Credit: RKO Radio Pictures

Swing Time is the ultimate Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dance movie, with the beloved duo at the top of their game. The Oscar-winning film tells the story of a gambler who falls in love with a dance instructor – and it has brilliant choreography and performances to match the enjoyable tale.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR – but G-like.

#63: TAKE THE LEAD (2006)

Take the lead 2006 still
Credit: New Line Cinema

Inspired by a true story, Take the Lead is an inspirational film starring Antonio Banderas as a ballroom dance instructor teaching ballroom to struggling high school students. The dance styles combine ballroom with hip-hop in this uplifting drama.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for mild profanity, violence, and language.


The Tales of Hoffman still
Credit: London Films/The Archers/Lopert Films

The comic opera film follows a young poet unlucky in love in this masterpiece from the legendary directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The Art Direction, costumes, choreography, and movie are pure art. The Tales of Hoffman also has some impressive fans: Cecil B. DeMille, Martin Scorsese, and George A. Romero.

Where to Watch: Stream on Plex or buy it on DVD.

Content Note: NR with mild violence and implied sensuality.

#65: TAP (1989)

Tap 1989 still
Credit: TriStar Pictures

Gregory Hines stars in this tap-dancing movie about an ex-con torn between his old criminal lifestyle and dance. While the narrative is a bit cheesy, the tap dancing in the film is spectacular, with tap-dancing legends starring (or appearing in cameos).

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13

#66: TOP HAT (1935)

Top Hat still
Credit: RKO Radio Pictures

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers bring glamour to this 1930s classic story of misunderstandings and romance. Plus, there’s lots of superb dancing.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: NR but G-like.


The Turning Point poster

Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leslie Browne, and Tom Skerritt star in The Turning Point, a movie about a former dancer becoming jealous of her daughter, Emilia, when Emilia’s invited to join a dance company.

The film received 11 Oscar nominations and is a must-see for ballet lovers and thoughtful melodramas with standout performances.

Where to Watch: Stream on Max or buy it on DVD.

Content Note: PG for some sensuality.

#68: WEST SIDE STORY (1961, 2021)

West Side Story 1961 dance scene
Credit: United Artists

Both the timeless 1961 classic and the new Spielberg adaptation transport viewers seamlessly into the tale of star-crossed lovers on the streets of New York City. They both star Rita Moreno, too! And while the original won 10 Oscars, the new version deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

All in all, with breathtaking choreography and unforgettable songs, the West Side Story films are essential for all dance movie fans to watch!

Where to Watch: Stream the 1961 film on Paramount+, Hoopla, Roku, Tubi, Freevee, Watch TCM, and Pluto TV. You can stream the 2021 adaptation on Disney+. Both are available to rent/buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: The 1961 version is PG-like for violence and thematic elements, while the new one is PG-13 for violence, language, and suggestive content.

#69: WHITE NIGHTS (1985)

White Nights still
Credit: Delphi IV Productions/Columbia Pictures

The Oscar-winning movie (for Best Original Song) stars real-life ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov as a dancer trying to escape the Soviet Union. The film features many inspiring dance scenes and stars a young Gregory Hines, Helen Mirren, and Isabella Rosellini.

Where to Watch: Rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for strong language and violence.

#70: YOU GOT SERVED (2004)

You Got Served poster

You Got Served has sensational choreography and dancing, even if the plot is a bit cheesy (albeit fun to watch!). The story follows two friends that run a dance crew in Los Angeles – only to enter a battle to win $5000.

Where to Watch: Stream on Peacock and Prime Video or rent/buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive references, thematic elements, and mild violence.


  • Another Cinderella Story (2008)
  • Broadway Melody Of 1940 
  • Bye Bye Birdie (1963) 
  • Coyote Ugly (2000)
  • Daddy Long Legs (1955)
  • Dance With the Wind (2004)
  • Dancers (1987) 
  • Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)
  • Feel the Beat (2020) 
  • First Position (2011)
  • The Fits (2015)
  • Frances Ha (2012) (Rated R)
  • Funny Face (1957)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • Gotta Kick It Up (2002)
  • Innocent Steps (2005)
  • The King and I (1956)
  • Leap! (2017)
  • Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
  • Magic Mike (2012)
  • Make it Happen (2008)
  • Mamma Mia/Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2008, 2018)
  • Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005)
  • The Music Man (1962)
  • The Nutcracker (1993)
  • Oklahoma! (1955)
  • On the Town (1949)
  • Summer Stock (1950)
  • Tango (1998)
  • Tango Lesson (1997)
  • They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969)
  • Viva Las Vegas (1964)
  • The Way We Dance (2013)
  • The White Crow (2018) (Rated R)
  • Work It (2020)
  • Yeh Ballet (2020)

And so many more… What are your favorite dance movies of all time? Did we leave any of your favorites off the list? Leave a comment below!

Featured image credit: Center Stage (Columbia Pictures); Dirty Dancing. Photo: Vestron Pictures; Step Up. Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

70 of the Best Dance Movies of All Time to Watch Pinterest image


By on June 2nd, 2023

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a writer and digital publisher full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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3 thoughts on “70 of the Best Dance Movies of All Time to Watch”

  1. I want to try 42nd Street and Anchors Aweigh now! I’m going through classic movies to expand my repertoire. I LOVE West Side Story.


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