Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes


Greatest Song and Dance Musical Moments and Scenes
Film Title/Year and Brief Musical Scenes Description

Wayne's World (1992)

The energetic Bohemian Rhapsody (originally a song written by Freddie Mercury and recorded by his rock group Queen) - performed as a sing-a-long with Wayne (Mike Myers), Garth (Dana Carvey), and a group of friends inside Wayne's car.

Week-End in Havana (1941)

With her fruit-basket hat on her head, Rosita RIvas (Carmen Miranda) in the opening title number, "A Week-End in Havana," invited everyone to meet her at "Sloppy Joe's."


West Side Story (1961)

The tragic romance found in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was adapted for the 1957 Broadway theatre stage, in the form of two New York (Manhattan) West Side gangs (the "American" Jets and their Puerto Rican rivals the Sharks), with a great score by conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and staging/choreography by Jerome Robbins; the United Artists film version by co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (for only a short time) was a multiple Oscar-winning film - and Best Picture, with some of the most famous and memorable ensemble song-and-dance numbers in film history; the film opened with a jaw-dropping aerial view of the city and then swooped down into the street for the opening song and dance sequence Jet Song ("When you're a Jet / You're a Jet all the way"); Richard Beymer (with singing voice dubbed by Jimmy Bryant) starred as Jet leader Tony, Natalie Wood (with singing voice dubbed by Marni Nixon) as Maria - the sister of the Shark leader Bernardo (Oscar-winning George Chakiris), and Oscar-winning Rita Moreno (with singing voice dubbed by Betty Wand) as Bernardo's girlfriend Anita; the most romantic of tunes expressing the love between the star-crossed lovers were Maria, Somewhere, Tonight (sung on a balcony) and One Hand, One Heart; Tony also sang the hopeful Something's Coming while Maria sang the ebullient I Feel Pretty ("I feel pretty! / Oh so pretty! / I feel pretty, and happy and gay!") in a dress shop; a "challenge" rooftop dance accompanied Anita's skirt-swinging America ("Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion / Let it sink back in the ocean... I like to be in America / Okay by me in America / Everything's free in America"), and the film ended with the choreographed gang fight that led to two murders and Maria singing Somewhere ("Hold my hand and I'll take you there") as she knelt by Tony's body.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

In this grotesque Grand Guignol melodrama, Bette Davis starred as chalk-faced "Baby Jane" Hudson - a past vaudeville star who had aged but hoped for an improbable comeback; she was garishly dressed up as a little girl while being coached by impoverished pianist and musical director Edwin Flagg (Victor Buono in his film debut) - she croaked: I've Written a Letter to Daddy in one of the film's most memorable scenes.

White Christmas (1954)

This perennial holiday favorite has been one of the highest-grossing musicals of all time. Directed by Michael Curtiz, it was Paramount's very successful follow-up to its popular Holiday Inn (1942); it was noted as being the studio's first VistaVision widescreen production; this heartwarming film was filled with Irving Berlin songs (such as Blue Skies) and starred crooner Bing Crosby and comedian Danny Kaye (as nightclub entertainers and war veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis), and Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen (as singing-sister act Betty and Judy Haynes); the plot was set in a Vermont inn with a "making a show" theme - a benefit for a veteran general; its most memorable moments included Crosby's early singing of White Christmas (written for and introduced in the earlier 1942 film) and reprised in the finale, Crosby and Kaye's half-drag lip-synching of the siblings' signature tune Sisters (to lampoon both Clooney and Vera-Ellen), glittery black-gowned Clooney's torchy rendition of Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me, and one of the film's best dance numbers by Vera-Ellen titled Choreography.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

This landmark film that combined live action with animated characters featured the femme fatale character of sultry Toon Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner, singing voice by Amy Irving) who sang the provocative Why Don't You Do Right? while wearing a shimmering pink dress at the Ink and Paint Club; it also contained the famous "piano duel" between Daffy and Donald Duck, Roger Rabbit's (voice of Charles Fleischer) looney song-and-dance while entertaining drunks in a bar, and Eddie Valiant's (Bob Hoskins) crazy vaudevillian song-and-dance (including the juggling of bowling balls) performed to a calliope to get the villainous Weasels to literally die laughing.

Whoopee! (1930)

This film adaptation by Thornton Freeland of Flo Ziegfeld's Broadway spectacular of the same name (Samuel Goldwyn's first musical) was choreographer Busby Berkeley's first production; it included hit songs sung by Eddie Cantor, such as My Baby Just Cares For Me (pictured) and Walter Donaldson's Making Whoopee (pictured); it also featured Berkeley's first use of his innovative, trademarked overhead shots, especially one of dancing Indian maidens with skimpy outfits and headresses in Song of the Setting Sun (pictured), and of his chorine closeup shot - seen in the number Stetson.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

The character of Willy Wonka - derived from Roald Dahl's children's books, was adapted for the screen in this film by director Mel Stuart, with Gene Wilder starring as the title character; early in this cult classic was the first rendition of The Candy Man - sung by candy store owner Bill (Aubrey Woods): ("Who can take a sunrise? / Sprinkle it with dew / Cover it in chocolate / And a miracle or two / The Candy Man / The Candy Man can...") - Sammy Davis Jr.'s adaptation of the song became an all-time best selling hit; other memorable musical numbers included Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) and young, poor Charlie Bucket's (Peter Ostrum) triumphant and spritely song/dance I've Got a Golden Ticket, candy factory owner Willy Wonka's ode to his wondrous factory Pure Imagination, and the many moralistic songs sung by the orange, purple-haired Oompa Loompas: ("Oompa Loompa Doompa De Do/Dee / I've got a perfect puzzle for you - If you are wise you will listen to me"); the film also included Wonka's strange, foreboding song during the darkly morbid chocolate river-boat scene: ("There's no earthly way of knowing, Which direction we are going / There's no knowing where we're rowing, Or which way the river's flowing...").

The Wiz (1978)

This multi-million dollar, funked-up urban retelling of the MGM musical The Wizard of Oz (1939) by director Sidney Lumet (his first musical) and Universal Pictures, generally poorly received, was adapted from the long-running black Broadway stage version in 1975, with miscast pop stars 34 year old Diana Ross as Dorothy (a 24 year-old Bronx schoolteacher) and Michael Jackson as Scarecrow, singers Mabel King as the Wicked Witch of the West (now named Evillene) and Lena Horne as Glinda the Good Witch, comedians Nipsey Russell as the Tinman and Richard Pryor as the Wiz, and Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion; filmed at the 1964 World's Fair grounds, the World Trade Center (which served as the Emerald City), and other locales in NY (Oz was a New York slum!), it was best known for the song Ease on Down the Road (sung by Jackson and Ross) and The Emerald City Ballet (with shifting colors commanded by the Wizard).

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

One of the most famous MGM screen musicals (reissued in 1948 and 1954, and with a TV debut in 1956), this family film musical with universal appeal was adapted from L. Frank Baum's children's stories of the magical land of Oz - woven together with E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg-Harold Arlen songs; Victor Fleming was the film's major director, and 16 year-old Judy Garland took the role of Kansas farm girl Dorothy Gale - launching herself into stardom; this beloved and enchanting film featured Garland's iconic tremulous performance of the Oscar-winning Best Song Somewhere Over the Rainbow during the sepia-toned opening segment and the oft-repeated We're Off to See the Wizard down the Yellow Brick Road ("To Oz? To Oz! Weeeeee're off to the see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!..."); other memorable songs included the Munchkin Medley when Dorothy first landed in Oz (with Dorothy's rhyming The House Began to Pitch, the celebratory Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!, and the musical proclamations by the lead Munchkins: ("We represent the Lollipop Guild! The Lollipop Guild! The Lollipop Guild!")); throughout the film there were three variations of If I Only Had a... - the Scarecrow's (Ray Bolger) If I Only Had a Brain [truncated] which featured his famous loose-limbed dancing (inspired by Fred Stone's theatrical version of the character in the 1901 musical), the Tin Woodsman's (Jack Haley) If I Only Had a Heart, and the Cowardly Lion's (Bert Lahr) If I Only Had the Nerve (the Lion's Brooklyn accent pronounced it "da noive") - and later, the Lion's If I Were King of the Forest was hilariously-delivered; in addition, the welcoming song In the Merry Old Land of Oz ("Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! And a couple of tra-la-las! That's how we laugh the day away / In the Merry Old Land of Oz!") was cheerfully performed.

Woodstock (1970)

Michael Wadleigh's landmark concert film covering the famous three day music festival in 1969 featured Jimi Hendrix (The Star-Spangled Banner), Crosby Stills and Nash (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes), Richie Havens, Joan Baez, The Who, Santana, Joe Cocker (With A Little Help From My Friends), Country Joe and the Fish, Barry Melton, Arlo Guthrie, Ten Years After, and John Sebastian; it also featured an innovative split-screen technique to document the concert.

Words and Music (1948)

This dramatic biographical MGM fantasy musical (by director Norman Taurog) told about the disintegrating lives of songwriters Richard Rodgers (Tom Drake) and Lorenz Hart (Mickey Rooney); it starred June Allyson, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Mel Tormé, Vera-Ellen, Dee Turnell and The Blackburn Twins starring as themselves; it featured the reuniting of Rooney and Garland (in their final film together) singing the duet I Wish I Were In Love Again, June Allyson's song Thou Swell with the Blackburn Twins, Torme's melancholy Blue Moon, Garland's powerful performance of Johnny One-Note, Ann Sothern's Where's That Rainbow?, purple-T-shirted Gene Kelly's jazzy barroom fantasy dance number Slaughter on Tenth Avenue with blonde Vera-Ellen (pictured), and Lena Horne's inimitably blazing and sultry The Lady is a Tramp (pictured).

Greatest Song and Dance Musical Movie Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title)
Introduction | A - 1 | A - 2 | B - 1 | B - 2 | B - 3 | C - 1 | C - 2 | D - 1 | D - 2 | E | F - 1 | F - 2 | G - 1 | G - 2
H - 1 | H - 2 | I - J | K | L - 1 | L - 2 | M - 1 | M - 2 | N - O | P - 1 | P - 2 | R - 1 | R - 2 | S - 1 | S - 2 | S - 3 | T | U - V | W | X - Z

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