The Best Dance Movies of the 1940s  

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174 votes 88 voters 7.7k 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.

list ordered by
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Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller
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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Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Dean Stockwell
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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Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Keenan Wynn
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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Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire
Easter Parade is a 1948 American musical film starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, featuring music by Irving Berlin, including some of Astaire and Garland's best-known songs, such as ...more
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James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston
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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Walt Disney, Corey Burton, Leopold Stokowski
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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Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin
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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Judy Garland, Mary Astor, Margaret O'Brien
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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Fred Astaire, Burgess Meredith, Paulette Goddard
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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Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire, Adolphe Menjou
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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Fred Astaire, Frank Morgan, George Murphy
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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Anton Walbrook, Robert Helpmann, Esmond Knight

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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Basil Rathbone, Esther Williams, Red Skelton
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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Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Billie Burke
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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Lucille Ball, Maureen O'Hara, Ralph Bellamy
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
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
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Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Eve Arden
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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Cyd Charisse, Ricardo Montalbán, Esther Williams
On an Island with You is a 1948 film directed by Richard Thorpe.
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Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Carole Landis
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
Stormy Weather is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Dance Movies of the 1940s
Lena Horne, Benny Carter, Cab Calloway
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