Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed
Hollywood has really stepped up its choreography game over the last 35 years, gifting audiences with hundreds of incredibly memorable — and mimicable — routines.
So, I laced up my red shoes to look back on the best live-action (sorry, Beauty and the Beast), American-funded (sorry, Strictly Ballroom) films from the last 35 years (sorry, Grease) to determine which routine set the barre the highest.
And away we go.
101. Peter’s evil Spiderman 3 dance (2007)
Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer HamiltonUnder the influence of an evil alien parasite, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) gains a new wardrobe, an overinflated sense of self, and — apparently — the ability to literally sweep Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) off her feet.
100. The Sweetest Thing’s ode to the male organ (2002)
Choreographed by: Robin AntinRelying on moves popularized by a dozen other films that came before it (but mostly Grease), this salacious song came with an equally memorable dance routine.
99. The True Lies tango (1994)
20th Century Fox
Choreographed by: Lynne HockneyArnold Schwarzenegger managed to get through this elegant routine, elevated by his partner, Tia Carrere.
98. The Big Lebowski bowls ‘em over (1998)
Choreographed by: Bill Landrum and Jacqui LandrumWhile this fantasy sequence doesn’t feature a ton of dancing, you have to acknowledge any and all pelvic thrusts from The Dude (Jeff Bridges).
97. High School Musical 3: Senior Year goes out on a high note (2008)
Choreographed by: Charles Klapow, Bayli Baker, Bonnie Story, and Kenny OrtegaFor the final performance in HSM history, the gang rocks and rolls at graduation in a classically huge musical number.
96. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure gets a big platform (1985)
95. Grease 2 wants to “Score Tonight” (1982)
Choreographed by: Patricia Birch, Helena Andreyko, and Greg RosattiThe euphemisms, like Johnny Nogerelli’s (Adrian Zmed) shirt, fly fast and loose in this catchy musical moment.
94. Little Miss Sunshine gets her “Super Freak” on (2006)
Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer HamiltonThe Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, like the Hoover family, will never quite be the same again after Olive (Abigail Breslin) takes the stage for this dance routine that’s as charming as it is inappropriate.
93. Silver Linings Playbook goes for the gold (2012)
The Weinstein Company
Choreographed by: Mandy Moore and Keith KuhlNot the most flawless routine, but then again, it’s not supposed to be.
92. Big makes me beautiful music (1988)
20th Century Fox
Choreographed by: Patricia BirchOne of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history is more famous for the tunes that come from Tom Hanks’ and Robert Loggia’s toes, but it wouldn’t sound as sweet without their fancy footwork.
91. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gets totally ’60s (1986)
Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega and Wilbert BradleyFerris (Matthew Broderick) dazzles on “Danke Schoen,” but Chicago comes alive through the magic of “Twist and Shout!”
90. Rolling into Xanadu (1980)
Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega, Jerry Trent, Greg Smith, and Bob ThompsonThe only thing more bizarre than Xandau’s plot (Greek muses visit Earth to help a painter fully realize his vision) must have been the meeting where producers informed the choreographers all their routines had to be performed on roller skates.
89. Footloose’s lesson in busting a move in overalls (1984)
Choreographed by: Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Spencer HendersonThe only thing more adorable than Ren (Kevin Bacon) dancing is Ren teaching Willard (Chris Penn) to dance.
88. Risky Business invents the no-pants dance (1983)
The Geffen Company
87. (500) Days Of Summer celebrates the best day ever (2009)
Choreographed by: Michael Rooney, Christian Vincent, and Tracy PhillipsThe only thing that trumps landing your dream girl is performing a jubilant dance routine about it with 100 perfectly synchronized strangers.
86. Mr. and Mrs. Smith bring the heat (2005)
20th Century Fox
Choreographed by: Laura BehrThe intense chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie really amplifies the rather routine footwork.
85. Airplane finds the funny in “Stayin’ Alive” (1980)
Choreographed by: Tom MahoneyJulie Hagerty is a comedy dream in this silly flashback revealing how the main characters met.
84. Can’t Buy Me Love goes “All Night,” African anteater-style (1987)
Choreographed by: Paula Abdul and Carlton JonesWho knew accidentally watching the wrong TV show could result in an entire high school learning The African Anteater Ritual?!?
83. High School Musical 3: Senior Year does prom right (2008)
Choreographed by: Charles Klapow, Bayli Baker, Bonnie Story, and Kenny OrtegaProm will be “A Night To Remember” if these overly concerned high-schoolers have anything to say about it in this frothy celebration of formalwear, which includes an epic Zac Efron pelvic thrust.
82. Natalie’s got soul in Charlie’s Angels (2000)
Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Jennifer HamiltonMuch like the initially apathetic crowd, it’s impossible not to be charmed by Natalie’s (Cameron Diaz) unbridled enthusiasm for dancing.
81. Shag lives up to its name (1989)
Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega and Lise LangPudge (Annabeth Gish) and Chip (Scott Coffey) win over the crowd — and one another — with a show-stopping shag routine.
80. Drumline finds a new beat (2002)
Choreographed by: Brian WilliamsLaila (Zoe Saldana) and her Sigma sisters bust out their stepping (and flirting) skills at a frat party.
79. Tom Cruise brings the (Tropic) Thunder (2008)
Choreographed by: Marguerite Derricks and Michelle ElkinWhile we clearly knew Tom Cruise could dance (See No. 88), the world’s mouth was collectively agape after watching him tear up the floor with this badass hip-hop routine.
78. Reality Bites, but it’s pretty great in a minimart (1994)
Choreographed by: It’s not confirmed, but presumably Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder, and Steve ZahnOne of the most relatably adorable instances of cinematic dancing, ever.
77. The Save The Last Dance duet (2001)
Choreographed by: Fatima RobinsonSara (Julia Stiles) and Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) take their act out in public and crush the dancefloor with this hip-hop routine.
76. A sparkly Footloose finale (1984)
Choreographed by: Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Spencer HendersonConsidering Footloose takes place in a town that outlawed dancing, there are a lot of really good dancers at this prom … thankfully.
75. Hippies invade The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Choreographed by: Anne FletcherThe love flowed heavily after Andy (Steve Carell) finally lost his virginity, thanks to this absolutely ridiculous but utterly wonderful Hair double act.
74. Three’s not a crowd in Take The Lead (2006)
New Line Cinema
Choreographed by: JoAnn Fregalette Jansen, Anthony Talauega, Richmond Talauega, and Allen WallsA tango threesome sends this movie out on a high note.
73. Sam rocks well in Charlie’s Angels (2000)
Choreographed by: Sam Rockwell, Marguerite Derricks, and Jennifer HamiltonSam Rockwell’s smooth footwork has worked its way into a half dozen films, but it first hit the screen in this blockbuster with the magic of Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says” behind it.
72. Shall We Dance gets steamy (2004)
Choreographed by: Joann Jansen and Liz CurtisThis electric routine looks even better in the dark.
71. All That Jazz hits “Broadway” (1979)
Choreographed by: Bob Fosse, Gene Foote, and Kathryn DobyWhile there are more memorable routines, the beauty of “On Broadway” is how perfectly it conveys the sheer volume of dancers clamoring for the same spot.
70. Save The Last Dance’s last dance (2001)
Choreographed by: Randy Duncan and Fatima RobinsonThe whole movie has led to this: A smooth ballet/R&B hybrid that Julia Stiles performed much of herself. Mad props.
69. A grand entrance to the Moulin Rouge (2001)
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Choreographed by: John O’Connell, Sheree Da Costa, and Pamela FrenchA trio of back-to-back-to-back spectacularly energetic performances introduce Christian (Ewan McGregor) to the Moulin Rouge: The Can-Can, “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” and “Rhythm of the Night.”
68. Boogie Nights captures the magic of the ’70s (1997)
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
Choreographed by: Adam Shankman and Anne FletcherThis quintessential ’70s sequence immortalizes Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) at the exact moment his naiveté meets fame.
67. Mean Girls’ quartet gets in the holiday spirit (2004)
Choreographed by: Donna FeoreFour new names were etched on Santa’s Naughty List thanks to that perfectly synchronized thigh slap.
66. Everyone secretly learned this routine from She’s All That (1999)
Choreographed by: Adam Shankman and Anne FletcherThis reignited the trend requiring all teen movies to feature an overly complex dance routine that everyone at prom inexplicably knows how to perform flawlessly. (Also, can we bring that back now? Please and thank you!)
65. Grease 2 heats up with “Cool Rider” (1982)
Choreographed by: Patricia Birch, Helena Andreyko, and Greg RosattiA dating profile never looked or sounded as sexy as Stephanie’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) melodic, ladder-climbing classified ad.
64. Chicago gets a double act (2002)
Choreographed by: Rob Marshall, Cynthia Onrubia, Denise Faye, and Joey Pizzi, with a special thanks to Bob FosseCatherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger prove that two is always better than one (except when it’s not … but keep reading for that).
63. Meet the men of Magic Mike (2012)
Choreographed by: Alison Faulk and Teresa EspinosaChanning Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash put your money where their mouth is in this attention-grabbing group number.
62. Footloose gets a new addition (2011)
Choreographed by: Jamal Sims and Dondraico JohnsonFor the most part, this 2011 reimagining simply revisits all the iconic routines from the 1984 original — but this elaborate update on the kids’ night out is a foot-stomping good time.
61. From strippers to Showgirls (1995)
Choreographed by: Marguerite Pomerhn-Derricks, Michelle Elkin, Andrea Moen, and Nancy O’MearaAfter a rocky start, Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) nails her opening night performance in Goddess. Now, can anyone tell me what the fuck this batshit show is actually about?
60. The Breakfast Club’s dancebreak (1985)
Choreographed by: Dorain GrusmanSometimes ya just gotta dance it out after a long morning of mental and emotional upheaval. Also, weed.
59. The “time” is right at Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (1997)
Choreographed by: Smith Wordes“I told you it would pay off to go to those clubs every night.” —Romy White being right as fuck.
58. You Got Served opens with a bang (2004)
Choreographed by: Shane Sparks, Dave Scott, and Robert HoffmanMost dance movies save their best routine for the end, not Served. It comes outta the gate hard and fast with a killer battle that puts everyone on notice.
57. Something Borrowed pushes it (2011)
Choreographed by: John CarrafaWith a quick — and smart — shout-out to their sixth grade talent show, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) have complete freedom to spontaneously perform a perfectly choreographed dance routine.
56. Honey’s sweet success (2003)
Choreographed by: Luther A. Brown, Laurieann Gibson, Monica Gomez, Kennis Marquis, and Vergi RodriguezYou will believe in Honey’s (Jessica Alba) talents as a choreographer after watching her students bring the thunder in this showcase.
55. A laser-focused Step Up 3D routine (2010)