The Best Dance Movies of the 1940s 

Ranker Film
Updated October 2, 2019 191 votes 91 voters 8.7k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite dance films that were released in the 1940s.

For those looking for some classic dance films, here's are ranked list of the top dance movies of the 1940s. Among the best 40s dance movies you'll find here are Fantasia, featuring dancing elephants; classic ballet/horror film The Red Shoes; and three Judy Garland classics Meet Me In St. Louis, Me and My Gal, and Easter Parade. Also on this list of 40s dance films you’ll find timeless classics Yankee Doodle Dandy (the musical biography of George M. Cohen), Cover Girl (with Rita Hayworth) and Holiday Inn (featuring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire). 

So, which of the movies on this list of good dance movies from the 40s put the moves on you? Vote up the top ‘40s dance movies that you love the most, and feel free to add any films that aren't already on the list.

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Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller

Released: 1949

Directed by: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

On the Town is a 1949 musical film with music by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical of the ...more

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#43 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #91 of 196 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire

Released: 1948

Directed by: Charles Walters

Easter Parade is a 1948 American musical film starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Peter Lawford, featuring music by Irving Berlin, including some of Astaire and Garland's best-known songs, ...more
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Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Dean Stockwell

Released: 1945

Directed by: George Sidney

Anchors Aweigh is a 1945 American Technicolor musical comedy film directed by George Sidney and starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly, in which two sailors go on a four-day ...more

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#68 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #104 of 196 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Keenan Wynn

Released: 1942

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

For Me and My Gal is a 1942 American musical film directed by Busby Berkeley and starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly – in his screen debut – and George Murphy, and featuring Martha Eggerth and Ben ...more
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James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston

Released: 1942

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway". It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and ...more

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#111 of 210 The Best Movies About Music #50 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Judy Garland, Mary Astor, Margaret O'Brien

Released: 1944

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli

Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 musical film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair ...more

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#1,221 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #311 of 802 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #27 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time

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Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin

Released: 1942

Directed by: Mark Sandrich

Holiday Inn is a 1942 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. With music by Irving Berlin, the film has twelve songs written expressly for the ...more
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Walt Disney, Corey Burton, Leopold Stokowski

Released: 1940

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, T. Hee, Ford Beebe, + more

Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. With story direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, and production supervision by Ben ...more

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#62 of 210 The Best Movies About Music #51 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #53 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

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Fred Astaire, Frank Morgan, George Murphy

Released: 1940

Directed by: Norman Taurog

Broadway Melody of 1940 is a 1940 MGM movie musical starring Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy. It was directed by Norman Taurog and features music by Cole Porter, including ...more
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Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Eve Arden

Released: 1944

Directed by: Charles Vidor

Cover Girl is a 1944 American Technicolor musical film starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. The film tells the story of a chorus girl given a chance at stardom when she is offered an ...more

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#114 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #110 of 127 The Best Oscar-Winning Scoreslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire, Adolphe Menjou

Released: 1942

Directed by: William A. Seiter

You Were Never Lovelier is a 1942 Hollywood musical romantic comedy film set in Buenos Aires. It stars Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth and features Adolphe Menjou and Xavier Cugat, with music by ...more

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#653 of 802 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #151 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #36 of 123 The Most Rewatchable Movie Musicals

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Anton Walbrook, Robert Helpmann, Esmond Knight

Released: 1948

Directed by: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell

If you love this, be sure to check out these other ballet films.

The Red Shoes is a British feature film about a ballet dancer, written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known collectively as The Archers. The movie ...more

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#236 of 333 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #37 of 99 The Best Dance Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Carole Landis

Released: 1941

Directed by: Walter Lang

Moon Over Miami is a 1941 Technicolor musical film directed by Walter Lang, with Betty Grable and Don Ameche in leading roles and co-starring Robert Cummings, Carole Landis, Jack Haley, and ...more

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#111 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #30 of 33 The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s #3 of 55 The Best Betty Grable Movies

Stormy Weather is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Dance Movies of the 1940s
Lena Horne, Benny Carter, Cab Calloway

Released: 1943

Directed by: Andrew L. Stone

Stormy Weather is a 1943 American musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. The movie is considered one of the best Hollywood musicals with an African-American cast, the other ...more
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Fred Astaire, Burgess Meredith, Paulette Goddard

Released: 1940

Directed by: H. C. Potter

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Second Chorus is a Hollywood musical comedy film starring Paulette Goddard and Fred Astaire and featuring Artie Shaw, Burgess Meredith and Charles Butterworth, with music by Artie Shaw, Bernie ...more
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Cyd Charisse, Ricardo Montalbán, Esther Williams

Released: 1948

Directed by: Richard Thorpe

On an Island with You is a 1948 film directed by Richard Thorpe.
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Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Billie Burke

Released: 1949

Directed by: Charles Walters

The Barkleys of Broadway is a 1949 musical film from the Arthur Freed unit at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that reunited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers after ten years apart. Directed by Charles Walters, ...more
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Basil Rathbone, Esther Williams, Red Skelton

Released: 1944

Directed by: George Sidney

Bathing Beauty is a 1944 musical starring Red Skelton, Basil Rathbone and Esther Williams and directed by George Sidney. Although this was not Williams' screen debut, it was her first ...more
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Lucille Ball, Maureen O'Hara, Ralph Bellamy

Released: 1940

Directed by: Robert Wise, Dorothy Arzner

Dance, Girl, Dance is a film released in 1940 and directed by Dorothy Arzner. In 2007, Dance, Girl, Dance was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library ...more
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Benny Goodman, Carmen Miranda, Alice Faye

Released: 1943

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

The Gang's All Here is a 1943 American Twentieth Century Fox Technicolor musical film starring Alice Faye, James Ellison, and Carmen Miranda. The film, directed and choreographed by Busby ...more