Strippers and Contract Killers | The best dance scenes in films that are not musicals

We all love a good boogie, which is why we are offering you the definitive guide to the best dance scenes in films that aren’t musicals.

pulp fiction

There is something so exciting about dance scenes. You’ve got your Gene Kellys, Fred Astaires and Hugh Jackmans, but you won’t find any of them mentioned in this article from now on. We are highlighting some incredible dance scenes from films that are not musicals and don’t feature professional dancers. Anyone can be a dancer as is evident from these scenes. 

We couldn’t feature every single amazing scene. Honourable mentions go to: Maypole Dance from Midsommar, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s wild competition entry from Silver Linings Playbook and Jon Heder’s dance scene from Napoleon Dynamite.

Without further ado, here are our picks for the best dance scenes from non-musical films. 

After Yang 


Credit: A24

We’re kicking things off with the sequence that birthed this article. The opening credits of After Yang are mind-blowingly good and, funnily enough, don’t have anything to do with the rest of the film. The cast busts a move to a funky electronic song in a dance-off between 30,000 families. This is your chance to see Colin Farrell do the Hitchhiker. You’re welcome.  

Ex Machina


Credit: A24

This one is short and sweet, but iconic. Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno tear it up in a classy, yet sexy routine as Isaac’s Nathan demonstrates Mizuno’s Kyoko’s sexuality through some groovy dance moves. One for the ages. 

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia


Credit: Disney-ABC Domestic Television

Okay, we’re cheating here a little by including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia which is a TV show, but this might be one of the best, most emotional dance scenes in television history. Rob McElhenney’s Mac tries to tell his father about his sexuality through interpretive dance. Excuse me while I go sob for the rest of the day. 

Pulp Fiction


Credit: Miramax

You can’t have a dance-related list without Pulp Fiction. John Travolta’s ponytail. Uma Thurman’s black bob and white shirt combo. Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell. The sheer sex appeal of this. Enough said.

This Is The End 


Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Ever wanted to see Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel jam with the Backstreet Boys to their most iconic song? Dreams do come true as this is exactly what happens at the very end of This Is The End, the wacky, apocalyptic comedy from 2011. It’s silly, it’s funny and it’s perfect. 

The Big Lebowski


Credit: Universal Pictures

How could we NOT include Jeff Bridges as The Dude, dancing with Julianne Moore’s Maude and a bowling ball, while a Busby Berkeley-type choreographed group number happens around them? It’s so wonderfully weird, while also strangely beautiful and filled with implied sexual imagery. 

American Pie: The Wedding


Credit: Universal Pictures

This list is all about the unbridled joy of dancing, regardless of experience. And no one is more joyous than Stifler, played gleefully by Seann William Scott, in American Pie: The Wedding as he engages in a fierce dance battle. Oh, and it’s set to some of the 80s’ most iconic songs. 

Magic Mike


Credit: Warner Bros. 

I know I said there would be no professional dancers included, but this clip from Magic Mike does not make the list because of Channing Tatum, but because of the balls Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash and Joe Manganiello have. It’s not easy committing to a role that requires you to take your clothes off and dance, so hats off to those lads, they did well. 


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