Let’s take a look at some of the greatest cinematic dance sequences of all time… in films that have absolutely nothing to do with music or dance. All of these scenes involve large dance ensembles that come out of nowhere, so they range from weird to completely off-the-wall. The one thing they all have in common? Each sequence provides an unexpected blast of energy to its respective film, and they’re all really memorable.
5) Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
I’m not sure what audiences expected when they checked out Mike Myers’ 007 spoof for the first time in the late 90’s, but it probably didn’t involve an elaborate, colorful, and infectious dance sequence set to Quincy Jones’ “Soul Bossa Nova.” Its sequels propagated the same trick, but it never had the same effect as the original.
4) Slumdog Millionaire
Danny Boyle’s 2008 Oscar winner is a relatively serious tale of poverty and death and, ultimately, redemption, so its end credits came as a little bit of a shock to audiences. It was a pleasant surprise, though, and I certainly welcomed a touch of Bollywood from such a visually gifted director. “Jai Ho” has since become a familiar part of the pop culture subconscious.
3) The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Judd Apatow signaled his arrival on the Hollywood scene with this film, one of the best comedies of the 2000’s. The last scene in the movie is one of the great cinematic non-sequiturs. It has nothing to do with anything, and that’s what makes it so ridiculously funny.
2) (500) Days Of Summer
Marc Webb’s directorial debut turned out to be an audition to reboot the Spider-Man series, and while “Summer” was relatively small in scale, this may have been one of the things that got him the job. The “You Make My Dreams” sequence might be the most unexpected (in the context of its film) scene on this list, but it might also be the most fun. It’s a perfect summation of what the lead character is feeling at the moment. In fact, it might be the only way to express just that. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is clearly having a great time, and the elation within the segment is contagious.
1) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This one speaks for itself. Great song, great performances, inimitable energy. One of the classic, feel-good comedy scenes of all time. When that group of dancers enters the frame, you know the sequence is just getting started. Only John Hughes could have pulled this off so well.