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by Billy Kirk January 10, 2018

From classic to contemporary, serious to silly, below we've rounded up a few of the most memorable dance-offs in film history.

Just a little something to help get you to the weekend. Happy Hump Day!


1. Pulp Fiction | 1994

It’d be plain stupid to leave such an iconic dance scene off our list (and we try not to be stupid… at least not on a regular basis). John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s scene in Jack Rabbit Slim’s may be far from the funniest on this list, but it’s too deeply ingrained in pop culture to pass up. Wonderfully done.

2. White Chicks | 2004

This one plays out about as you’d expect until the “White Chicks” (the Wayans brothers) flip the script and throw it back with an old-school performance that leaves the competition shook. This one may only be memorable because it’s still relatively recent (recency bias), but hey, it stood out to us a bit.

3. You Got Served | 2004

Of the moves featured in this dance off, this writer can pull off exactly zero. That is all.

4. House Party | 1990

Sometimes, we get a little too inundated with contemporary dance music and forget how they used to get down. House Party—a film about a kid named “Kid” who’s gotta sneak out the house to attend, you guessed it, a house party—is a flashback to the early 90s, flat tops, and incredibly bold sartorial choices. Good times.

5. West Side Story | 1961

It may seem ridiculous that rival gangs would get into a fancy-as-fuck dance off, but is it any less silly than anything else on this list? Sure, the battle between The Sharks and The Jets here isn’t done tongue-in-cheek—it was a very different era, to be sure—but it’s enduringly famous and the choreography is simply amazing. 

6. Disaster Movie | 2008 

Curveball choice: Every time a very pregnant woman spins like a top on her head it deserves at least an honorable mention.

7. Napoleon Dynamite | 2004

OK, so this technically isn’t a dance off since no one else is involved, but do we care? No, we do not. We’re fine if this is a “cheat pick.” No way we weren’t putting Napoleon on the list. (Quick reminder: Vote for Pedro!)

8. Tropic Thunder | 2008 

Les Grossman, played by Tom Cruise, gives a credits dance performance that remains burned into our brains. Just who is he dancing off against, exactly? The world? Like Napoleon Dynamite, it’s open to interpretation, but this is one of our favorite modern comedies and it needs representation.

Billy Kirk
Billy Kirk