Dancing with the Stars: Movies Where Celebrities Dance
First, there was the televised British dance competition known as Strictly Come Dancing. Then came Dancing with the Stars. The latter has become an immensely popular franchise, being adapted in over 30 countries. From the United States to Slovenia, fans of dance can watch celebrities try their hand (and feet) at everything from ballroom dancing to striptease routines (the latter is unfortunately not included in the U.S. version).
But you don’t have to turn on the television to go dancing with the stars. The world of cinema offers a wide number of films where your favorite celebrities shake their groove thang for the camera. In the list below, I’ve put together some movies I think you might be interested in. Please note that I’ve left out motion pictures starring such well-known dancers as Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers. Instead, I’ve focused on movies that feature celebrities not always known for their skills on the dance floor. There are a few exceptions, of course, but you get the general idea.
If you’d like to watch any of these films, your best bet is to become a member of Netflix. They offer pre-paid shipping, over 100,000 movies to choose from, and never any late fees. I’ve been a customer since 2005, and their level of service has always been high.
The Company (2003) – Neve Campbell shows off her real-life ballet skills in this Robert Altman film about the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Following completion of the film, Campbell received an offer to join the company, but she turned it down to continue acting.
Dirty Dancing (1987) – Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey dance to the oldies in this classic film from the ’80s. The most famous scenes include the climactic dance number and Swayze hoisting Grey over his head in the middle of a lake. Twenty-three years later, Grey would appear on the U.S. version of Dancing with the Stars.
Save the Last Dance (2000) – A white girl (Julia Stiles) moves in with her father in a predominantly black neighborhood, falls in love with a local boy, and fuses ballet and hip hop in an effort to get accepted to Juilliard.
Dance with Me (1998) – Vanessa L. Williams shows off her dance skills and good looks as a dancer who teams up with a younger man (Chayanne) for an upcoming dance contest. Kris Kristofferson co-stars, but there’s not nearly enough dancing from the grizzled co-star of Blade.
Flashdance (1983) – When she’s not dancing in a tavern or working as a welder, 18-year-old Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) dreams of being accepted to the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. She’ll get her chance, but not before she uses a chair as a dance prop and gets doused with water. She’s a maniac!
Shall We Dance? (2004) – Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez show off their moves in this remake of the 1996 Japanese film, Shall We Dansu?. Yes, we shall.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) – Rudolph Valentino dances the tango, becomes a silent film superstar, and creates a demand for gaucho pants.
Hairspray (1988) – Back before she lost a bunch of weight, Ricki Lake starred in this John Waters film about a plump teen who finds fame dancing on a local TV show in the early ’60s.
Step Up (2006) – Channing Tatum busts a move as an young hooligan who gets a second chance thanks to the power of dance.
True Lies (1994) – Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrates his proficiency at the tango, first with Tia Carrere and later with Jamie Lee Curtis.
Honey (2003) – If the thought of Jessica Alba gyrating around produces large amounts of drool in your mouth, this film should be watched immediately. She plays a petite hip hop dancer who dreams of opening her own studio.
Footloose (1984) – Kevin Bacon rose to stardom as a teen who moves to a small town where dancing and loud music are frowned upon. Like that’s going to stop him and Kenny Loggins.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) – After several made-for-TV movies, the kids of East High (including Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale, and Vanessa Hudgens) get to sing and dance on the big screen.
Black Swan (2010) – In this film directed by Darren Aronofsky, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis play a couple of ballerinas who slowly begin to turn to the dark side.
Boogie Nights – As “Machine Gun” by The Commodores plays in the background, porn stars and best pals Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) and Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly) burn up the disco dance floor.
Pulp Fiction (1994) – John Travolta makes a career comeback as a hitman who takes a gangster’s wife (Uma Thurman) out on the town and ends up entered in a dance contest. Only Quentin Tarantino would think to have Travolta perform moves once used by Adam West.
Chicago (2002) – 1920′s dancing and singing courtesy of Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, and Richard Gere.
Grease (1978) – John Travolta once again dances in this film about two mismatched teens falling in love in the 1950s.
Take the Lead (2006) – Antonio Banderas shows off his Latin rhythm as real-life Pierre Dulaine, a classical dance instructor who developed a program to help kids by exposing them to dancing.
Urban Cowboy (1980) – John Travolta…again. This time he hits the honky-tonks, dancing with Debra Winger to the music of Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee.
Swingers (1996) – Writer/star John Favreau and actress Heather Graham swing dance to the music of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Summer of Sam (1999) – Mira Sorvino is smoking hot in a red dress while disco-dancing with John Leguizamo. Marvin Gaye provides the music, and the Son of Sam provides the terror.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004) – At the film’s climax, uber-nerd Napoleon Dynamite (John Heder) brings down the house with his dance routine set to “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai.
Bring It On (2000) – Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, and Gabrielle Union show their school spirit in this cheerleading comedy.
Saturday Night Fever (1977) – John Travolta achieved stardom as Tony Manero, a Brooklyn youth who rules the dance floor with a little help from the Bee Gees.
Moulin Rouge! (2001) – Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, and Nicole Kidman dance to modern hits in this visual explosion set in 1899 Paris.
Coyote Ugly (2000) – Maybe gyrating on top of a bar isn’t officially considered dancing, but don’t let Piper Perabo, Tyra Banks, and Bridget Moynahan know that.
9 1/2 Weeks (1986) – Kim Basinger steams up the screen as she strips to Joe Cocker’s rendition of “You Can Leave Your Hat On.”
Assassination Tango (2002) – Robert Duvall plays a hitman waiting for an assignment in Argentina. While he waits, he indulges in his passion for the tango.
Scent of a Woman (1992) – Playing a blind former military man, Al Pacino exhibits a tender side by dancing the tango with lovely Gabrielle Anwar.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Cute little Abigail Breslin dances to “Super Freak” by Rick James during the film’s climactic number set at a girl’s beauty pageant.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) – After accidentally knocking over all the choppers belonging to a biker gang, Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) dances to “Tequila” to save his neck. The big-screen directorial debut of Tim Burton.
Stomp the Yard (2007) – A college student joins a Greek fraternity and gets involved in a stepping rivalry. Starring Columbus Short, Ne-Yo, and Chris Brown.
Malcolm X (1992) – Before he gets sent to prison, converts to Islam, and becomes one of the best-remembered African-American leaders, Malcolm Little (aka Malcolm X, aka Denzel Washington) and his pal, Shorty (Spike Lee), put on their zoot suits and enjoy a night of dancing out on the town.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – As this sweeping tale of true love concludes, the cast of the film, including Dev Patel and Indian babe Freida Pinto, dance to the infectious “Jai Ho.”
Addams Family Values (1993) – Gomez Addams (Raul Julia) rocks a red sash while sensually dancing with wife Morticia (Anjelica Huston). She spins fast enough to set the floor on fire, and he wows viewers by catching knives in his teeth. Let’s see Helio Castroneves do that.
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) – This sequel uses a similar plot to the original, but the action is transported to Cuba. Mexican heartthrob Diego Luna and British actress Romola Garai play the couple who fall in love while dancing and grinding.
If you want to go dancing with the stars, you need look no further than the movies listed above. And if you want to rent movies without worrying about late fees, look no further than Netflix. We do get a small commission when you sign up, but it adds nothing to your final price.