Dance provides the Wow in Films
March 3, 2007 2:31 PM   Subscribe

What films contain a group dance sequence?

My family were chatting and noticed that a lot of films we have enjoyed recently contain group dance sequences that bring that "wow" factor.

Examples include "She's All That" (Funk Soul Brother), "Princess Diaries" (?), "Ella Enchanted" (Somebody to Love), "13 going on 30" (Thriller).

Any other examples?
posted by pettins to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Fisher King
Big Lebowski
posted by Brian James at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2007

Anything ever produced in Bollywood?
posted by craichead at 2:43 PM on March 3, 2007

Kung Fu Hustle
posted by stresstwig at 2:43 PM on March 3, 2007

Donnie Darko and American Beauty
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:46 PM on March 3, 2007

Um, Ferris Bueller's Day Off!
posted by clavicle at 2:47 PM on March 3, 2007

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
posted by box at 2:48 PM on March 3, 2007

Dirty Dancing, Chicago, West Side Story, Singin' In the Rain, Jesus Christ Superstar
posted by deinemutti at 2:49 PM on March 3, 2007

Boogie Nights has an amazing dance sequence. It should go without saying, but unless your family are all adults who don't mind watching adult things together, don't watch Boogie Nights with your family.

Hollywood/Bollywood is an American film that pays homage to the dance numbers of Indian cinema. And of course, you can search on youtube for fun Bollywood numbers to your heart's content. Be sure to sample Helen's dance numbers.

Clerks 2: The Jackson 5 song "ABC"
posted by roll truck roll at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2007

The Guru and Grease are two films I could mention that come quickly to mind. The Austin Powers movies also have something akin to a dance sequence during the opening credits, though I'm not sure that this qualifies exactly for what you're looking for.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:58 PM on March 3, 2007

The Blues Brothers
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:01 PM on March 3, 2007

Willy Wonka. Oompa loompas break it down and get funky.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 3:02 PM on March 3, 2007

As corny as it sounds, High School Musical has plenty of said dance sequences (As do plenty of other Disney movies). I'm also sure you'll find that any musical ever made in film would have at least one, if not several. One that springs to mind is Grease. On another note, Happy Feet has a pretty impressive animated dance sequence.
posted by cholly at 3:06 PM on March 3, 2007

The bottle dance in Fiddler on the Roof!
posted by putril at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2007

Austin Powers
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:18 PM on March 3, 2007

That's Entertainment!
posted by box at 3:19 PM on March 3, 2007

Dammit. I can't believe I know this. A Knights Tale..

I assume we're not talking about musicals per say....otherwise there are a number... "Everyone says I Love You"...and "South Park, the Movie: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" come to mind right away.
posted by filmgeek at 3:26 PM on March 3, 2007

The 40 Year Old Virgin.
posted by jrossi4r at 3:27 PM on March 3, 2007

Black Orpheus
posted by Brian B. at 3:37 PM on March 3, 2007

Dancer in the Dark.
posted by puddleglum at 3:37 PM on March 3, 2007

A Knight's Tale is one of the first ones that came to my mind as well. Probably because any time it's on cable the Wife makes me wait for it so she can watch.

Admittedly, I've now seen it enough times, that I kinda like it as well.
posted by quin at 3:40 PM on March 3, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine and Dancer in the Dark. Great double bill!
posted by Gortuk at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2007

The original UK mini-series The Singing Detective had some fabulous musical numbers. I think the American movie by the same name does, too, but I've not been able to make myself watch it yet.
posted by loosemouth at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2007

Seconding High School musical. Both of my kids (5 and 8) sing adn dance along.

My favorite movie dance sequence is from Zatôichi the Blind Swordsman. If anyone here can tell me what a tap dance number is doing at the end of a samurai movie, I'd appreciate it.
posted by qldaddy at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2007

My five year old also types all my conjunctions for me.
posted by qldaddy at 3:51 PM on March 3, 2007

Yankee Doodle Dandy. The final scene in the film, when James Cagney's character George M. Cohan improvises a tap routine down the stairs in the White House, never fails to leave my jaw hanging.
Absolutely incredible: Cagney wasn't a dancer by Astaire's standards, or a singer by anybody's, but he was such a good actor he could fake it: "Cagney can't really dance or sing,' observes the critic Edwin Jahiel, "but he acts so vigorously that it creates an illusion, and for dance-steps he substitutes a patented brand of robust, jerky walks, runs and other motions.'
You can sense that in an impromptu scene near the end of the movie. Cagney's Cohan is walking down a marble staircase at the White House when he suddenly starts tapping and improvises all the way to the bottom. Cagney later said he dreamed that up five minutes before the scene was shot: "I didn't consult with the director or anything, I just did it.'"

posted by davidmsc at 3:53 PM on March 3, 2007

Broadway Melody of 1936
posted by Brian B. at 3:59 PM on March 3, 2007

Russian Ark (trailer) definitely has that "wow" factor. If you're watching it with kids the movie probably won't hold their interest, but you could just show them the grand ball at the end.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:05 PM on March 3, 2007

Busby Berkeley is your man. He directed some of the most famous dance numbers ever. The most famous of which is probably Footlight Parade.
posted by lilnemo at 4:09 PM on March 3, 2007

And amusingly, as I look up at the TV across the office, I can see that A Knight's Tale is playing even as I type.
posted by quin at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2007

... or Berkeley's The Gang's All Here. Complete with Carmen Miranda performing "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat".
posted by lilnemo at 4:18 PM on March 3, 2007

"Not Another Teen Movie" has a great dance number that mocks many of the above mentioned ones.
posted by TungstenChef at 4:27 PM on March 3, 2007

Why not movies that are about dance in the first place, like Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance (Japanese version, please)?
posted by plinth at 4:37 PM on March 3, 2007

Yes, your soul is crying out for Bollywood. This moment, now, as you read this post (or maybe the moment when you read Crachead's post) is a moment you will always remember as the beginning of your life's fulness, when you first learned that the thing that would complete your life (a) existed (b) was subtitled, and (c) could be had through Netflix. Based on the movies that you liked, above, the Bollywood movies I would recommend are as follows:

Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon
(I Want to Become Madhuri Dixit)
The village beauty yearns to be a Bollywood star. She comes to Mumbai and has misadventures. She is so sweetly naive and sincere that even the people who make their living taking advantage of hayseeds like her help her and become kinder. Almost all BW movies are rife with musical set pieces; these are particularly charming. I love this movie, but then, I too want to be Madhuri Dixit. (So do you.) No youtube, sadly, but here is a review, and some pictures.

Kal Ho Naa Ho

(Tomorrow May Not Come)
A business grad student with family troubles has forgotten how to smile. Along comes a guy whose infectious sense of fun lights up the whole street. A love story with some sadness, but a kid-pleasing entertainer. My kids and their friends watch this one all the time. You tube: Here's the guy (in red and black) celebrating the heroine's engagement to another guy.

Mujhse Shaadi Karogi

(Will You Marry Me?)
A hot-headed guy living in glamorous Goa has taken an oath of non-violence. He falls in love with a girl, but his roommate is scheming to win her, also, in a blatant and infuriating way that endangers his oath minute by minute. Lots of physical comedy, cast of thousands dance numbers, and "Wicked Sunny" is hilarious. Youtube: Our guy daydreams of getting married to our girl.

BW movies are almost never more than PG at most, so though there may be some sexual innuendo or tension for adults to enjoy, there is seldom anything that might be inappropriate for family movie night. (If Bipasha Basu or Mallaika Sherawat is in the movie, it might go PG-13.)

The Guru, if we are talking about the American movie with Heather Graham, has a fully-clothed but excruciating sex scene that goes on forever. Not family fare at all, IMHO.
posted by Methylviolet at 4:38 PM on March 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Band of Outsiders
posted by youcancallmeal at 4:56 PM on March 3, 2007

Everyone Says I Love You and Les demoiselles de Rochefort (aka The Young Girls of Rochefort) spring to mind.
posted by Bromius at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2007

Inland Empire
posted by Bookhouse at 8:13 PM on March 3, 2007

As far as Bollywood movies go, I also recommend Taal. I'm not 100% sure how the dance sequences are, but the soundtrack is AMAZING and I'd imagine the dances in the movie are too.
posted by divabat at 8:39 PM on March 3, 2007

As soon as I read your comment from the main page, I thought "She's All That". I was very disappointed to find both that you had mentioned it in the extended portion of your question and that I now have Funk Soul Brother stuck in my head right before bed time. Awesome.
posted by beachhead2 at 8:56 PM on March 3, 2007

Saturday Night Fever
posted by SisterHavana at 9:09 PM on March 3, 2007

Jackass 2?
posted by itchie at 9:36 PM on March 3, 2007

all that jazz

the end of the 40 year old virgin
posted by travis08 at 10:43 PM on March 3, 2007

Magical Mystery Tour?
posted by chococat at 10:57 PM on March 3, 2007

Response by poster: Wow - A superb set of answers! Thank you all :-)
posted by pettins at 1:19 AM on March 4, 2007

The Japanese movie directed by Isshin Inudo La Maison de Himiko has a dance sequence. Bonus, it's also a fine film.

If synchronized swimming (by high school boys!) counts, then Water Boys by Shinobu Yaguchi is another one that has a group sequence at the end (and you could see with your family and laugh a lot).

A film called Hula Girls directed by Sang-il Lee came out last year and won lots of awards in Japan. It's also pretty good, so if you ever have a chance you should see it.

I can actually think up some more Japanese films in this category... Including Zatoichi and Shall We Dance that were mentioned above, it looks like we really love those dance sequences... (But not as much as Bollywood!)
posted by misozaki at 2:40 AM on March 4, 2007

Xanadu. Great music; painfully, wonderfully early '80s.
posted by CMichaelCook at 9:12 AM on March 4, 2007

A choreographed dance sequence makes any mediocre movie better. That said, the only redeeming factor of Grind starring Adam Brody is a dance scene somewhere in the middle.
posted by wsquared at 5:18 PM on March 4, 2007

Roll Bounce: Roller disco sequences!

(And it's really a decent movie, much better than I'd expected.)
posted by faunafrailty at 5:36 PM on March 4, 2007

posted by Tarrama at 5:39 PM on March 4, 2007

There's a great Buzz Berkeley-esque dance sequence that pops up (a tad incongrously) towards the end of seminal female-fronted comic-book action-thriller Tank Girl. Features Ice-T dressed as a kangaroo dancing with Tank Girl to "Let's Fall In Love".

Also there's the beginning to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
posted by badlydubbedboy at 2:40 AM on March 5, 2007

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