'Ferris Bueller' and other movies with dance scenes we’ll never forget
From 'Twist and Shout' to 'Soul Bossa Nova,' these are the memorable dance themes from Hollywood films you'll be humming the rest of the day.
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off," the film that made skipping school more fun than any child of the 1980s could possibly imagine, is turning 30 years old. The comedy, written and directed by legendary American filmmaker John Hughes, is considered not just one of the more beloved films from the decade, but also one of the greatest teen movies ever made.
To celebrate the three decades since its release on June 11, 1986, the city of Chicago (which had a starring role in the film) is throwing "Ferris Fest," a three-day event featuring "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"-themed events from the film. Some 650 theaters nationwide will also screen the film in honor of the anniversary.
“‘Ferris Bueller’ is timeless,” David Blanchard, the organizer for Ferris Fest told the New York Times. “It’s really about breaking free from that 9 to 5 grind and really appreciating life and taking an adventure, whatever that might be."
In celebration of the anniversary, we thought it would be fun to revisit the classic parade dance scene from the film, while also highlighting some other memorable musical moments from film. So take a moment, throw on those headphones, and enjoy. In the words of Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
'Ferris Bueller's Day Off': Twist and Shout
While there are plenty of stand-out moments in "Bueller," one of our favorites by far is the parade dance. Hughes filmed the iconic scene during the Von Steuben Day Parade, a German-American event held annually in Chicago. According to Broderick, the moves to "Twist and Shout" were basically made up on the spot, with Hughes adding that the entire scene was shot spontaneously.
"It just happened that this was an actual parade, which we put our float into – unbeknownst to anybody, all the people on the reviewing stand," he said in the DVD commentary. "Nobody knew what it was, including the governor."
'Mr. and Mrs. Smith': The Tango
The sexy tango scene from the spy-thriller "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" hits all the rights notes on both witty banter and chemistry. The latter is especially telling as the film is widely known as the production where American actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fell in love.
The film, directed by American Doug Liman and produced by Arnon Milchan, the prolific Israeli filmmaker behind dozens of other hits like "Pretty Woman" and "The Revenant," was very popular when it was released in June 2005. The late film critic Roger Ebert in particular praised the "fun" performances of Pitt and Jolie. "The plot is immaterial," he noted. "What matters is the 'chemistry,' a term that once referred to a science but now refers to the heat we sense, or think we sense, between two movie stars."
That "heat" led eventually to one of the most famous relationships in Hollywood. You can see its early kindling in "Smith's" memorable tango above.
'Austin Powers in Goldmember': Opening Groove
In "Austin Powers in Goldmember," Canadian actor Mike Myers and American director Jay Roach took the hilarity of the franchise's iconic musical openings to a new level, recruiting the likes of Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, and even director Steven Spielberg to dance along. It's colorful, ridiculous, and groovy – basically everything we've come to expect from our favorite international man of mystery.
In a breakdown of the opening scene, Roach explained how the montages in the musical number were meant to show the different, playful sides of Powers. "The point is that Austin inspires people to get into his personal mythology and transforms the world to his specifications and worldview," he said.
As for that last scene, Roach added that it included just about everything they could think of. "We threw everything into this last shot: women with Laugh-In body paint, dancers, Uncle Sam and Col. Sanders on stilts," he said.
'Black Swan': Opening Dance
To pull off the sheer beauty of the opening scene in "Black Swan," Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman worked for over a year to transform her body to reflect that of a professional ballerina.
"Six months ahead of the film, I went into sort of hyper-training, where five hours a day I was doing both ballet and cross-training, with swimming," she told the AP. "A few months before was when we started getting into the choreography. It was very extreme."
According to director Darren Aronofsky, of the 139 dance shots in the film, 111 were from Portman herself. Where necessary, such as close-ups of the character's feet in the opening scene, a professional ballerina double was used.
"If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe," he told Entertainment Weekly. "That is completely her without any digital magic."
'Dirty Dancing': Time of My Life
It just wouldn't be right to talk about memorable dance scenes in movies without mentioning "Dirty Dancing." Directed by American filmmaker Emile Ardolino and starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, the film is considered a classic; with the finale's iconic lift rated as "the best movie dance moment of all time."
"Dirty dancing is like soul dancing, only with a partner," choreographer Kenny Ortega said in a behind-the-scenes feature on the film. "With a little mambo thrown in, a little Cuban motion throw in, sort of a conglomeration based on all of the original dancing of the early 60's."
As for that last dance scene, Grey says she only pulled off that iconic lift once – and never dared to try it again.
"I only did it on the day I shot it," she told the UK Guardian. "Never rehearsed it, never done it since. I don't know how all these people who reenact it have the guts to throw themselves into the arms of anyone other than Patrick Swayze. It's insane!"
'500 Days of Summer': You Make My Dreams
It's safe to say that "500 Days of Summer" is one of the few films to have truly captured the exuberance, giddiness and downright ecstasy of falling in love.
Directed by American filmmaker Marc Webb and starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the romantic comedy chronicles the 500 up-and-down days of a relationship. To hit home the scene in the film where Gordon-Levitt's character falls head-over-heels for Deschanel, Webb crafted a brilliant street dance scene. Anyone who's ever felt the first inklings of falling in love will instantly relate to this hilarious rose-colored view of the world.
"When you’ve had a successful run [with the opposite sex], it feels like the world is smiling at you," Webb told Flavorwire. "You feel like you’re dancing in the streets. Whether or not that’s true is irrelevant."
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