Dance has been a form of expression and entertainment for centuries, and it's no wonder that dance movies have become a popular genre. From classic musicals to modern-day hip-hop battles, dance movies have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start.
That's why we've compiled a list of the top 50 best dance movies to watch, covering a wide range of styles and eras. Whether you're a fan of romantic dramas like “Dirty Dancing” or action-packed spectacles like “Step Up,” there's something on this list for everyone. So grab your dancing shoes and get ready to be inspired by some of the best dance movies of all time.
1. Dirty Dancing (1987)
A teenage girl named Baby (Jennifer Grey) goes on vacation with her family to a resort in the Catskill Mountains.
There, she falls in love with the resort's dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Against her father's wishes, Baby begins to take dance lessons from Johnny and they soon develop a romantic relationship.
As the summer comes to an end, Baby must confront her parents and stand up for her love and newfound confidence in herself.
2. Step Up (2006)
Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who finds himself in trouble with the law.
As part of his sentence, he is required to perform community service at the Maryland School of the Arts.
There, he meets Nora (Jenna Dewan), a talented dancer who is preparing for her senior showcase.
When Nora's dance partner is injured, Tyler steps in to take his place, and the two must learn to work together to create a performance that will impress their audience and launch their careers.
3. Footloose (1984)
Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is a teenager from Chicago who moves to a small town where dancing and rock music are illegal.
Ren is determined to change things and begins to rally the young people of the town to stand up for their right to express themselves.
Along the way, he falls in love with Ariel (Lori Singer), the rebellious daughter of the town's strict preacher (John Lithgow). With high-energy dance scenes and a classic '80s soundtrack, Footloose is a fun and inspiring film about the power of dance.
4. Save the Last Dance (2001)
Sara (Julia Stiles) is a talented ballet dancer who moves to a new city and a new school after her mother dies in a car accident. There, she meets Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), a black student who teaches her how to dance hip-hop.
As they train for a dance competition that could change their lives, Sara and Derek also confront issues of race, class, and cultural identity.
Save the Last Dance is a powerful film that explores the power of dance to bring people together and break down barriers.
5. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Tony Manero (John Travolta) is a working-class teenager in Brooklyn who finds escape from his dead-end job and unhappy family life through his skills as a disco dancer.
He dreams of winning a dance competition and becoming the king of the disco scene. Along the way, he falls in love with Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney), a fellow dancer who challenges him to grow and change.
Saturday Night Fever is a classic film that captures the energy and excitement of the disco era while exploring themes of class, race, and gender.
6. Flashdance (1983)
Alex (Jennifer Beals) is a young woman who works as a welder by day and a dancer by night. She dreams of becoming a professional dancer and auditions for a prestigious dance school.
Along the way, she falls in love with her boss, Nick (Michael Nouri), and must confront the challenges of balancing her personal and professional aspirations.
Flashdance features iconic dance scenes set to a memorable '80s soundtrack and is a classic film that celebrates the power of dance to inspire and transform.
7. West Side Story (1961)
West Side Story is a classic musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York City.
The story follows two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, and the forbidden romance between Tony (Richard Beymer), a former Jet, and Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of the Sharks' leader.
With unforgettable songs like “America” and “Somewhere,” West Side Story is a timeless tale of love and tragedy that continues to captivate audiences.
8. Black Swan (2010)
Black Swan is a psychological thriller that explores the intense and competitive world of ballet.
Nina (Natalie Portman) is a dedicated ballerina who wins the lead role in a production of Swan Lake but begins to unravel as the pressure and demands of the role take their toll.
With stunning dance sequences and a haunting score, Black Swan is a dark and intense film that delves into the psyche of its troubled protagonist.
9. Strictly Ballroom (1992)
Strictly Ballroom is a romantic comedy about a young Australian ballroom dancer named Scott (Paul Mercurio) who rebels against the strict rules and conventions of the ballroom dance world.
With the help of his new partner, the frumpy but talented Fran (Tara Morice), Scott begins to experiment with new moves and styles but must overcome the disapproval of his family and the other dancers.
With colorful characters and energetic dance sequences, Strictly Ballroom is a fun and uplifting film about the power of following your heart.
10. La La Land (2016)
La La Land is a modern-day musical that tells the story of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a struggling jazz musician, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, as they pursue their dreams in Los Angeles.
With classic Hollywood style and catchy original songs, La La Land is a charming and romantic film about the ups and downs of following your passion.
11. Singin' in The Rain (1952)
Singin' in the Rain is a classic Hollywood musical about the transition from silent films to talkies in the 1920s.
The film follows the romantic and professional struggles of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a popular silent film star, as he tries to make the transition to talking pictures.
With memorable song-and-dance numbers like “Singin' in the Rain” and “Make ‘Em Laugh,” Singin' in the Rain is a joyful and entertaining film that continues to delight audiences today.
12. Grease (1978)
Grease is a beloved musical set in the 1950s that tells the story of Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), two high school students who fall in love over the summer but find their romance tested when they return to school.
With catchy songs and memorable dance sequences, Grease is a fun and nostalgic film that captures the spirit of teenage life in the '50s.
13. Center Stage (2000)
Center Stage is a drama about a group of young ballet dancers at the American Ballet Academy who struggle to succeed in the highly competitive world of professional dance.
The film follows the personal and professional lives of the dancers as they work to overcome their own insecurities and the challenges of the dance world.
With stunning dance sequences and a diverse cast of characters, Center Stage is an inspiring and entertaining film about the pursuit of excellence in the performing arts.
14. Magic Mike (2012)
Magic Mike is a comedy-drama about a male stripper named Mike (Channing Tatum) who takes a young dancer named Adam (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing and teaches him the ropes of the business.
The film explores the personal and professional lives of the dancers and their relationships with each other and their clients.
With energetic dance sequences and a talented cast, Magic Mike is a fun and provocative film that offers a glimpse into the world of male stripping.
15. Honey (2003)
Honey is a drama about a young woman named Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) who dreams of becoming a successful hip-hop dancer and choreographer.
The film follows Honey as she struggles to make it in the competitive dance industry, while also dealing with personal and family issues.
With great dance sequences and a talented cast, Honey is an inspiring film about following your dreams and staying true to yourself.
16. Billy Elliot (2000)
Billy Elliot is a drama about a young boy named Billy (Jamie Bell) who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, despite the disapproval of his working-class family and community.
The film follows Billy as he trains with a tough but caring ballet teacher (Julie Walters) and struggles to pursue his passion in the face of adversity.
With powerful performances and beautiful dance sequences, Billy Elliot is a touching and inspiring film about the transformative power of art.
17. Shall We Dance? (2004)
Shall We Dance? is a romantic comedy-drama about a successful lawyer named John (Richard Gere) who becomes bored with his life and decides to take up ballroom dancing.
Through his dance lessons with the beautiful and talented dancer Paulina (Jennifer Lopez), John discovers a new passion for life and love.
With charming performances and beautiful dance sequences, Shall We Dance? is a heartwarming film about the power of stepping outside your comfort zone.
18. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is a romantic drama set in 1950s Cuba about a young woman named Katey (Romola Garai) who falls in love with a local dancer named Javier (Diego Luna).
Through their dance lessons and the political upheaval in Cuba, Katey and Javier find love and passion.
With a great soundtrack and stunning dance sequences, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is a beautiful and engaging film about the transformative power of dance.
19. Take the Lead (2006)
Take the Lead is a drama inspired by the true story of Pierre Dulaine, a ballroom dance instructor who teaches inner-city students in New York City. In the film, Pierre is played by Antonio Banderas, who brings his charm and talent to the role.
Through dance, Pierre helps his students discover their inner strength and talent, while also confronting social and economic challenges.
With inspiring performances and energetic dance sequences, Take the Lead is a feel-good film about the power of dance to transform lives.
20. You Got Served (2004)
You Got Served is a drama about a group of street dancers who compete in underground dance battles in Los Angeles.
The film follows the personal and professional lives of the dancers, who are forced to confront their own insecurities and the challenges of the competitive dance world.
With high-energy dance sequences and a great soundtrack, You Got Served is an entertaining film about the passion and dedication of urban dance culture.
21. Stomp the Yard (2007)
Stomp the Yard is a drama about a talented street dancer named DJ (Columbus Short) who is sent to a historically Black university in Atlanta after his brother is killed in a gang-related shooting.
There, DJ joins a competitive step-dancing team and learns to use his skills for a positive purpose.
With electrifying dance sequences and a talented cast, Stomp the Yard is an inspiring film about the power of dance to bring people together.
22. Honey 2 (2011)
Honey 2 is a comedy-drama about a young dancer named Maria (Katerina Graham) who returns to her Bronx roots after a stint in juvenile detention.
There, she discovers her talent for street dancing and joins a dance crew to compete in a televised competition.
With high-energy dance sequences and a talented cast, Honey 2 is a fun and inspiring film about the power of dance to help us overcome adversity and find our place in the world.
23. Honey 3: Dare to Dance (2016)
Honey 3: Dare to Dance is a drama about a young woman named Melea Martin (Cassie Ventura) who moves to South Africa to attend a prestigious dance academy.
There, she falls in love with a local dancer named Erik (Kenny Wormald) and together they form a dance crew to compete in a street dancing competition.
With stunning dance sequences set against the backdrop of Cape Town, Honey 3: Dare to Dance is an inspiring film about the power of dance to bring people together across cultures.
24. Step Up 2: The Streets (2008)
Step Up 2: The Streets is a drama about a talented street dancer named Andie (Briana Evigan) who joins a dance crew called the 410 to compete in underground dance battles.
Along the way, Andie falls in love with the crew's leader, Chase (Robert Hoffman), and must navigate the challenges of their complicated relationship.
With energetic dance sequences and a great soundtrack, Step Up 2: The Streets is an entertaining film about the passion and dedication of street dance culture.
25. Step Up 3D (2010)
Step Up 3D is a drama about a group of dancers in New York City who join forces to compete in a dance battle that could change their lives forever.
With stunning 3D dance sequences and a talented cast, including Adam Sevani reprising his role as Moose from Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D is an immersive and exciting film about the power of dance to unite and inspire.
26. Step Up Revolution (2012)
Step Up Revolution is a drama about a group of dancers in Miami who use their street dancing skills to stage elaborate flash mobs in protest of a wealthy developer's plans to bulldoze their neighborhood.
With impressive dance sequences set against the backdrop of Miami's vibrant culture, Step Up Revolution is an energetic and inspiring film about the power of dance to make a difference in the world.
27. Step Up All In (2014)
Step Up All In is a drama about a group of dancers from previous Step-Up films who come together in Las Vegas to compete in a dance competition that could change their careers.
With high-energy dance sequences and a talented cast, including fan-favorite characters from previous Step-Up films, Step Up All In is a fun and entertaining film about the power of dance to bring people together.
28. Honey: Rise Up and Dance (2018)
Honey: Rise Up and Dance is a drama about a young woman named Skyler (Teyana Taylor) who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, but faces obstacles from her family and friends.
With the help of her new dance crew, Skyler discovers her own voice and learns to follow her dreams.
With impressive dance sequences and a talented cast, Honey: Rise Up and Dance is an inspiring film about the power of perseverance and self-discovery.
29. Magic Mike XXL (2015)
Magic Mike XXL is a comedy-drama about a group of male strippers who reunite for one last performance at a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach.
With energetic dance sequences and a talented cast, including Channing Tatum reprising his role as the titular character, Magic Mike XXL is a fun and entertaining film about the power of brotherhood and following your dreams.
30. Breakin' (1984)
Breakin' is a comedy-drama about a young dancer named Kelly (Lucinda Dickey) who dreams of becoming a professional dancer but faces obstacles from her conservative family.
Along with her breakdancing friends, Ozone (Adolfo Quinones) and Turbo (Michael Chambers), Kelly uses her dance skills to break down barriers and pursue her dreams.
With high-energy dance sequences and a great soundtrack featuring music by Ice-T and Chaka Khan, Breakin' is a classic film of the 1980s dance culture.
31. Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)
Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo is a comedy-drama sequel to Breakin', which follows the same group of dancers as they fight to save a community center from being demolished.
With catchy music and impressive dance sequences, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo is a fun and entertaining film that showcases the creativity and athleticism of breakdancing.
32. The Red Shoes (1948)
The Red Shoes is a classic drama about a ballerina named Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) who becomes torn between her love for dance and her love for a composer.
With stunning dance sequences choreographed by Robert Helpmann, The Red Shoes is a beautiful and haunting film that explores the sacrifices and passions of artistic life.
The film has won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.
33. Shall We Dance (1937)
Shall We Dance is a classic romantic musical comedy about a ballet dancer named Petrov (Fred Astaire) who falls in love with a musical comedy star named Linda (Ginger Rogers) during a transatlantic voyage.
With charming performances by Astaire and Rogers, as well as memorable dance sequences, Shall We Dance is a timeless film that captures the glamour and elegance of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
34. The King and I (1956)
The King and I is a musical biopic about Anna Leonowens (Deborah Kerr), a British schoolteacher who is hired as a governess by the King of Siam (Yul Brynner) to educate his children.
As Anna and the King clash over their cultural differences, they begin to develop a deep respect for each other.
With memorable songs, including “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance,” The King and I is a classic film that showcases the talents of its lead actors and the beauty of its exotic setting.
35. The Band Wagon (1953)
The Band Wagon is a musical comedy about a washed-up Hollywood actor named Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) who returns to New York City to star in a Broadway musical.
With memorable songs, including “Dancing in the Dark” and “That's Entertainment,” as well as impressive dance sequences, The Band Wagon is a classic film that showcases the talents of Astaire and co-star Cyd Charisse.
36. Chorus Line (1985)
A Chorus Line is a musical drama based on the Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows a group of dancers as they audition for a place in a Broadway show, revealing their hopes and dreams as they compete for a limited number of roles.
With impressive dance numbers and a talented cast, including Michael Douglas in a supporting role, A Chorus Line is a compelling and entertaining film that explores the ups and downs of the performing arts industry.
37. Chicago (2002)
Chicago is a musical comedy-drama based on the Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger), a woman who dreams of becoming a star, as she tries to make it big in Chicago's entertainment industry.
With catchy songs, including “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango,” and memorable performances by Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere, Chicago is a dazzling and entertaining film that showcases the dark side of the American Dream.
38. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Moulin Rouge! is a musical romantic drama set in 19th-century Paris. The film follows Christian (Ewan McGregor), a young writer who falls in love with Satine (Nicole Kidman), a courtesan who performs at the Moulin Rouge.
With dazzling visuals and memorable music, including a medley of popular songs from the past few decades, Moulin Rouge! is a unique and innovative film that combines classic romance with a modern flair. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
39. Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life (2012)
Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life is a reality television series that follows a group of young adults as they attend a three-week dance camp at the famous Kellerman's resort, where the iconic film Dirty Dancing was set.
The show features the contestants competing in dance challenges and performing classic routines from the movie.
With behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with cast members from the original film, Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life is a fun and nostalgic tribute to the beloved movie.
40. The Turning Point (1977)
The Turning Point is a drama about two ballerinas, Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma (Anne Bancroft), who meet again years after they competed for the same role in a ballet company.
While Deedee has retired to start a family, Emma has become a prima ballerina. With impressive dance sequences featuring renowned dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, The Turning Point is a poignant and insightful look into the world of ballet, exploring the sacrifices and choices that dancers must make in order to achieve success.
41. White Nights (1985)
White Nights is a drama about a Russian ballet dancer named Nikolai Rodchenko (Mikhail Baryshnikov) who, after defecting to the United States, finds himself stranded in Siberia on his way back to the West.
He is taken in by an American expatriate, Raymond Greenwood (Gregory Hines), who is also a former dancer.
With impressive dance sequences that fuse ballet and tap, White Nights is a visually stunning film that explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the power of dance.
42. Happy Feet (2006)
Happy Feet is an animated musical about a young emperor penguin named Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) who, unlike his peers, cannot sing, but instead expresses himself through dance.
With memorable songs, including “I Wish I Could Fly” and “Boogie Wonderland,” and impressive animation, Happy Feet is a fun and entertaining film that celebrates the power of individuality and the joy of dance. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2007.
43. Salsa (1988)
Salsa is a romantic drama about a young Puerto Rican man named Rico (Robby Rosa) who dreams of becoming a salsa dancer, but faces challenges from both his father and a rival dancer.
With energetic dance sequences set to lively Latin music, Salsa is a vibrant and entertaining film that celebrates the culture and passion of salsa dancing.
44. Pina (2011)
Pina is a documentary about the life and work of acclaimed German choreographer Pina Bausch, who revolutionized the world of modern dance with her innovative and emotionally powerful performances.
Directed by Wim Wenders, the film features stunning footage of Bausch's dances, performed by her company, and includes interviews with dancers who worked with her.
With beautiful cinematography and a haunting score, Pina is a moving tribute to a visionary artist who changed the face of contemporary dance.
45. Center Stage: Turn It Up (2008)
Center Stage: Turn It Up is a drama about a young dancer named Kate (Rachele Brooke Smith) who dreams of becoming a professional ballerina.
When she lands a spot at the American Ballet Academy in New York City, she must face the challenges of the competitive world of dance, while also navigating her feelings for her instructor, Tommy (Kenny Wormald).
With impressive dance sequences and a memorable soundtrack, Center Stage: Turn It Up is a fun and inspiring film about following your dreams.
46. Fame (1980)
Fame is a musical drama about a group of talented students at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, who dream of making it big in the world of dance, music, and theater.
The film follows their struggles and triumphs as they navigate the challenges of school and their personal lives.
With memorable songs, including the Academy Award-winning title song, and impressive dance sequences, Fame is a classic film that celebrates the power of artistic expression and the importance of following your dreams.
47. Footloose (2011)
Footloose is a musical drama about a rebellious teenager named Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) who moves from Boston to a small town in the Midwest, where dancing and rock music have been banned.
Ren rallies the town's youth to challenge the ban and stage a dance in defiance. With energetic dance sequences set to classic '80s tunes, Footloose is a fun and uplifting film about the power of music and dance to bring people together.
48. Make It Happen (2008)
Make It Happen is a drama about a young woman named Lauryn (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
When she lands a spot in a Chicago dance school, she must overcome obstacles both personal and professional to achieve her goals.
With impressive dance sequences and a heartfelt story about following your dreams, Make It Happen is an inspiring film about the power of perseverance and the joy of dance.
49. StreetDance 3D (2010)
StreetDance 3D is a drama about a street dance crew from London who must join forces with a group of ballet dancers to compete in a high-stakes dance competition.
With impressive dance sequences set to popular music, StreetDance 3D is a lively and entertaining film that celebrates the diversity and creativity of contemporary dance.
50. Battle of the Year (2013)
Battle of the Year is a drama about a down-on-his-luck basketball coach (Josh Holloway) who takes on the challenge of coaching a team of dancers to compete in the prestigious Battle of the Year dance competition.
With impressive dance sequences featuring some of the best breakdancers in the world, Battle of the Year is a fun and energetic film that celebrates the artistry and athleticism of hip-hop dance.