25 Memorable Movie Dance Scenes

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It’s officially been three decades since Tom Cruise slid across that hardwood floor in his skivvies—today marks the 30th anniversary of Risky Business. To remind ourselves of a time when the only couch Cruise jumped on was his own and celebrate the movie’s most famous scene, we’re counting down 25 of the most memorable dance scenes in film.

25. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

OK, so you didn’t actually invent Post-It notes. What’s the next-best way to stick it to your former high-school tormenters? Well, if you’re Romy and Michele, you change into the shiniest dresses you can find, perform a hilarious interpretive dance to Cyndi Lauper and ride off in a helicopter.

24. Young Frankenstein (1974)

At this point in the Mel Brooks classic, Frankenstein’s Monster (Peter Boyle) is so tame he’ll perform an elegant soft-shoe in a top hat and tails. Things go delightfully haywire, however, when a stage light explodes and he catches a glimpse of fire.

23. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite is rivaled only by Borat in the “movies ruined by being quoted to death” category, but it’s much harder to replicate Napoleon’s sweet moves. Maybe it’s the moon boots?

22. Funny Face (1957)

Audrey Hepburn’s goofy beatnik dance is so recognizable it was even paired with AC/DC and used in a Gap ad to sell skinny jeans.

21. Pretty in Pink (1986)

Duckie (Jon Cryer) would give anything to “squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her,” and he chooses to express his unrequited love through the majesty of Otis Redding. The pained expressions, the fist pumps, the pelvic thrusts and the coolest mustard-yellow-blazer-and-bolo-tie ensemble ever all add up to make a fantastic scene, leaving us with one of pop culture’s greatest mysteries: How could Andie have possibly chosen Blane, the kid with a name like a major appliance and a personality as enthralling as dry toast, over The Duckman?

20. Royal Wedding (1951)

Fred Astaire’s filmography would certainly provide enough material to fill this list on its own, but perhaps the legendary dancer’s most iconic performance is his “ceiling dance” from 1951’s Royal Wedding where, thanks to a specially built revolving set, he appears to defy gravity.

19. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Olive’s “Super Freak” routine is a sly commentary on the way pageants sexualize young girls, but it’s also where everything comes to a head and her dysfunctional family comes together to support her. They may have their differences, but they’ll always be there to get down to Rick James.

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