Art/Photography, Best Movies

The Best Movies About Or Featuring Ballet

The Best Ballet Movies

“What are the best movies about or featuring Ballet?” We looked at 72 of the top films about ballet, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 23 films, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Ballet” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 45+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Make sure to also check out our sister website, Book Scrolling, for an article on The Best Dance Books Of All-Time!

Happy Scrolling!



Top 23 Ballet Moviess



23 .) Ballet Shoes (2007) directed by Sandra Goldbacher

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium

An unusual explorer named Gum and his kindly niece adopt three orphans — Pauline, Petrova and Posy — and raise them as sisters in 1930s London. But the girls must fend for themselves when Gum doesn’t return from one of his adventures. Together, they nurture their passions for acting, aviation and ballet in this charming TV adaptation of Noel Streatfield’s novel.

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22 .) Bolshoi Babylon (2015) directed by Nick Read

Lists It Appears On:

  • Homemade Banana
  • Pop Sugar

A behind-the-scenes look at Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Theatre as it’s rocked by an acid-attack scandal in 2013.

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21 .) Dirty Dancing (1987) directed by Emile Ardolino

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • IMDB

Expecting the usual tedium that accompanies a summer in the Catskills with her family, 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is surprised to find herself stepping into the shoes of a professional hoofer – and unexpectedly falling in love.

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20 .) Footloose (1984) directed by Herbert Ross

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • IMDB

When teenager Ren and his family move from big-city Chicago to a small town in the West, he’s in for a real case of culture shock.

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19 .) La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (2009) directed by Frederick Wiseman

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mubi
  • Paste

A film by Frederick Wiseman following the ins and outs of 7 ballets by the Paris Opera Ballet.

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18 .) Only When I Dance (2009) directed by Beadie Finzi

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mubi
  • The Ballet Bag

Defying the idea that ballet is an art form steeped in the history of the wealthy white elite, this documentary captures the dreams of two black children from the Favela in Brazil, who, despite constant prejudice and doubt, are both determined to beat the odds and follow their dreams to use dancing as an escape rarely found in their tough day to day lives.

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17 .) Restless Creature: Wendy Whalen (2017) directed by Linda Saffire

Lists It Appears On:

  • Paste
  • Pointe Magazine

Documentary on the great American Ballerina Wendy Whelan

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16 .) Take the Lead (2006) directed by Liz Friedlander

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • IMDB

A former professional dancer volunteers to teach dance in the New York public school system and, while his background first clashes with his students’ tastes, together they create a completely new style of dance. Based on the story of ballroom dancer, Pierre Dulane.

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15 .) Ballerina (2006) directed by Bertrand Normand

Lists It Appears On:

  • Entertainism
  • Mubi
  • The Odyssey

An intimate portrait of five ballerinas from the Kirov.

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14 .) Step Up (2006) directed by Anne Fletcher

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • IMDB
  • The Odyssey

Everyone deserves a chance to follow their dreams, but some people only get one shot. Tyler Gage is a rebel from the wrong side of Baltimore’s tracks and the only thing that stands between him and an unfulfilled life are his dreams of one day making it out of there. Nora is a privileged ballet dancer attending Baltimore’s ultra-elite Maryland School of the Arts

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13 .) Ballets Russes (2005) directed by Dan Geller

Lists It Appears On:

  • EW
  • Homemade Banana
  • Mubi
  • The Odyssey

For many, modern ballet began with the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo, originally made up of Russian exiles from the Russian Revolution. This film tells the story of this landmark company with its stars and production as well as its power games, rivalries and tribulations that marked its turbulent history.

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12 .) Save the Last Dance (2001) directed by Thomas Carter

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Board
  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • Marie Claire
  • Pop Sugar

A white midwestern girl moves to Chicago, where her new boyfriend is a black teen from the South Side with a rough, semi-criminal past.

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11 .) The Company (2003) directed by Robert Altman

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • EW
  • IMDB

Ensemble drama centered around a group of ballet dancers, with a focus on one young dancer who’s poised to become a principal performer.

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10 .) White Nights (1985) directed by Taylor Hackford

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • IMDB
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

An expatriate Russian dancer is on a plane forced to land on Soviet territory. He is taken to an apartment in which a black American who has married a Russian woman lives with her. He is to become a dancer for the Bolshoi again, but he wishes to escape, but can he trust the American?

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9 .) A Ballerina’s Tale (2014) directed by Nelson George

Lists It Appears On:

  • EW
  • Homemade Banana
  • Paste
  • Pointe Magazine
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

A feature documentary on African American ballerina Misty Copeland that examines her prodigious rise, her potentially career ending injury alongside themes of race and body image in the elite ballet world.

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8 .) Ballet 422 (2014) directed by Jody Lee Lipes

Lists It Appears On:

  • EW
  • Homemade Banana
  • Paste
  • Pointe Magazine
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

The film shadows Justin Peck, wunderkind choreographer of the New York City Ballet, as he undertakes the Herculean task of creating the company’s 422nd original piece. Following the creative process from its embryonic stages to its highly anticipated premiere, Ballet 422 is a powerful celebration of the skill and endurance of New York’s most talented dancers—as well as those who remain hidden in the wings.

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7 .) Center Stage (2000) directed by Nicholas Hytner

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • EW
  • IMDB
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.

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6 .) Black Swan (2010) directed by Darren Aronofsky

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Board
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • EW
  • IMDB
  • Marie Claire
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

A ballet dancer wins the lead in “Swan Lake” and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan – Princess Odette – but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.

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5 .) First Position (2011) directed by Bess Kargman

Lists It Appears On:

  • Cennarium
  • EW
  • Homemade Banana
  • Paste
  • Pointe Magazine
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Ballet Bag
  • The Odyssey

A documentary that follows six young dancers from around the world as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world.

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4 .) Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) directed by Bruce Beresford

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Board
  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • IMDB
  • Mubi
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.

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3 .) The Red Shoes (1948) directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Board
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • EW
  • IMDB
  • Marie Claire
  • Mubi
  • Pop Sugar

In this classic drama, Vicky Page is an aspiring ballerina torn between her dedication to dance and her desire to love. While her imperious instructor, Boris Lermontov, urges to her to forget anything but ballet, Vicky begins to fall for the charming young composer Julian Craster. Eventually Vicky, under great emotional stress, must choose to pursue either her art or her romance, a decision that carries serious consequences.

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2 .) Billy Elliot (2000) directed by Stephen Daldry

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Board
  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • EW
  • IMDB
  • Marie Claire
  • Mubi
  • Pop Sugar

Set against the background of the 1984 Miner’s Strike, Billy Elliot is an 11 year old boy who stumbles out of the boxing ring and onto the ballet floor. He faces many trials and triumphs as he strives to conquer his family’s set ways, inner conflict, and standing on his toes!

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1 .) The Turning Point (1977) directed by Herbert Ross

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ballet Board
  • Ballet Connections
  • Cennarium
  • Entertainism
  • EW
  • Marie Claire
  • Mubi
  • Pop Sugar
  • The Odyssey

When her daughter joins a ballet company, a former dancer is forced to confront her long-ago decision to give up the stage to have a family.

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The 45+ Additional Best Ballet Movies



 

# Movies Directors Lists
(Films Appear On 1 List Each)
24
Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq
The Odyssey
25 BALLET FREDERICK WISEMAN Mubi
26 Bootmen
Ballet Connections
27 Bringing Balanchine Back Back
Homemade Banana
28 Burlesque (II) (2010) IMDB
29 Center Stage: Turn It Up
Ballet Connections
30 Chicago (2002) Rob Marshall IMDB
31 City Ballet
Homemade Banana
32 Dance With Me
Ballet Connections
33 Dancer Pop Sugar
34 Dancers
Ballet Connections
35 Dancing Across Borders Anne H. Bass
The Ballet Bag
36 Dancing in Jaffa Hilla Medalia
The Ballet Bag
37
Dirty Dancing – Havana Nights
Ballet Connections
38 DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY GUY MADDIN Mubi
39 Easter Parade (1948) IMDB
40 Flash Dance
Ballet Connections
41 Flashdance (1983) Adrian Lyne IMDB
42
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Ballet Connections
43 Hans Christian Anderson
Ballet Connections
44 Honey
Ballet Connections
45 Invitation to the Dance
Ballet Connections
46 Isadora (1968) IMDB
47 La Mort Du Cygne
Ballet Connections
48 Leap! (2017) EW
49 LIMELIGHT CHARLIE CHAPLIN Mubi
50 Love Tomorrow Chris Payne
The Ballet Bag
51
New York City Ballet: Bringing Balanchine Back
Pop Sugar
52 OF HEART AND COURAGE, BALLET BEJART LAUSANNE ARANTXA AGUIRRE Mubi
53 Polina (2017) EW
54
Princess Tutu: Complete Collection
Ballet Connections
55 Red Shoes
Ballet Connections
56 Royal Wedding (1951) IMDB
57 Saturday Night Fever (1977) John Badham IMDB
58 Shag: The Movie
Ballet Connections
59 Shall We Dance?
Ballet Connections
60 Showgirls (1995) Paul Verhoeven IMDB
61 Step Up 2 The Streets
Ballet Connections
62 Stick It (2006) Jessica Bendinger IMDB
63 Stomp Out Loud
Ballet Connections
64 Stomp the Yard
Ballet Connections
65 Strictly Ballroom
Ballet Connections
66 SUMMER INTERLUDE INGMAR BERGMAN Mubi
67 SUSPIRIA DARIO ARGENTO Mubi
68 The Bottom Line
Ballet Board
69 THE CHILDREN OF THEATRE STREET ROBERT DORNHELM Mubi
70
The Forbidden Dance Is Lambada
Ballet Connections
71 West Side Story
Ballet Board
72 You Got Served
Ballet Connections


14 Best Ballet & Dance Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
Ballet Board 7 Best Ballet Movies of All Time
Ballet Connections Ballet Movies
Cennarium 11 Movies that Feature Ballet
Entertainism 8 Best Ballet Movies Ever
EW 12 Ballet Movies That Are En Pointe
Homemade Banana 7 BEST BALLET DOCUMENTARIES TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
IMDB Dance/Ballet movies
Marie Claire 5 Best Ballet Films Of All Time
Mubi 15 BEST BALLET FILMS
Paste 5 Great Documentaries about Ballet
Pointe Magazine Our Four Favorite Ballet Documentaries on Netflix Right Now
Pop Sugar The 14 Best Ballet Movies of All Time
The Ballet Bag 5 BALLET MOVIES TO WATCH AROUND CHRISTMAS
The Odyssey 12 Movies Every Ballet Lover Should See

 

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