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The Best Ballet Movies

Updated April 1, 2021 3.1k votes 1.6k voters 220.0k views53 items

List RulesMovies must have ballet in them.

Ballet movies, with videos, ranked from best to worst by fans of movies about ballet. The best ballet movies show off lovely ballet dancing and portray the inner lives of ballerinas. These are the top ballet films, but if you believe we missed one, please feel free to add it to the list yourself. While ballet might not be for everyone, it certainly has a way of giving us some of the best movies available anywhere. This list includes such great movies about ballet as Black Swan and Billy Elliot. While most of the films are dramas, there is also some comedy, and even a thriller or two.

What are the best ballet films? What movies have ballet in them? Ballet originated during the Italian Renaissance. Since then, it has been refined and is today considered one of the most difficult forms of dance to master. Many of the films on this list show ballet dancing at its best.
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    Center Stage

    Zoe Saldana, Amanda Schull

    Released2000

    Directed byNicholas Hytner

    Center Stage is a 2000 American teen drama film, directed by Nicholas Hytner, about a group of young dancers from various backgrounds who enroll at the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York...  more

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  • 2
    362
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    Black Swan

    Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis

    Released2010

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

    Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production of...  more

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    216
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    Billy Elliot

    Jamie Bell, Julie Walters

    Released2000

    Directed byStephen Daldry

    Billy Elliot is a 2000 British dance drama film written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. Set in north-eastern England during the 1984-85 coal miners' strike, it stars Jamie Bell as...  more

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    Dance Academy

    Xenia Goodwin, Mackenzie Fearnley

    Released2017

    Directed byJeffrey Walker

    Dance Academy is a 2017 American documentary film directed by Jeffrey Walker, based on the TV show of the same name, tracking the original dance academy cast and where the characters are in their...  more
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    216
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    First Position

    Aran Bell, Rebecca Houseknecht

    Released2011

    Directed byBess Kargman

    First Position is a 2011 documentary film directed by Bess Kargman....  more
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    The Red Shoes

    Anton Walbrook, Robert Helpmann

    Released1948

    Directed byEmeric Pressburger, Michael Powell

    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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    The Turning Point

    Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft

    Released1977

    Directed byHerbert Ross

    The Turning Point is a 1977 drama film centered on the world of ballet in New York City, written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Herbert Ross. The film stars Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft,...  more
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    114
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    Mao's Last Dancer

    Joan Chen, Kyle MacLachlan

    Released2009

    Directed byBruce Beresford

    Mao's Last Dancer is a 2009 Australian film based on professional dancer Li Cunxin's autobiography of the same name. Li Cunxin is portrayed by Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Chi Cao,...  more
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    Save the Last Dance

    Kerry Washington, Julia Stiles

    Released2001

    Directed byThomas Carter

    Save the Last Dance is a 2001 American film produced by MTV Films, directed by Thomas Carter and released by Paramount Pictures on January 12, 2001. The film stars Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick...  more

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  • 10
    95
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    Ballet Shoes

    Angela Thorne, Joanna David

    Released1975

    Directed byTimothy Combe

    Ballet Shoes is British television adaptation of Noel Streatfeild's novel Ballet Shoes first broadcast on BBC One in 1975. Adapted by John Wiles and directed by Timothy Combe, the series was aired in...  more
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    White Nights

    Helen Mirren, Isabella Rossellini

    Released1985

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

    White Nights is a 1985 American drama film directed by Taylor Hackford and choreographed by Twyla Tharp and stars Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Jerzy Skolimowski, Helen Mirren and Isabella...  more
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    53
    29

    The Company

    James Franco, Neve Campbell

    Released2003

    Directed byRobert Altman

    The Company is a 2003 film about the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. It was released on December 26, 2003 in the United States and around the world in the first half of 2004. The movie was directed by...  more
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    23
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    Tutu Much

    Kayla Steinman, Alicja Buchowicz

    Released2010

    Directed byElise Swerhone

    Tutu Much, stylised as TuTuMUCH, is a 2010 Canadian documentary film that focuses on the 9-12 year old entering class of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Summer School Program. It is produced by Ballet...  more
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    The Tales of Hoffmann

    Pamela Brown, Frederick Ashton

    Released1951

    Directed byEmeric Pressburger, Michael Powell

    The Tales of Hoffmann is a 1951 British film adaptation of Jacques Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann, written, produced and directed by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger working...  more
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    23
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    Suspiria

    Joan Bennett, Alida Valli

    Released1977

    Directed byDario Argento

    Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, co-written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi, and co-produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento. The film stars Jessica Harper as an...  more

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    Dr. Coppelius

    Walter Slezak, Claudia Corday

    Released1966

    Directed byTed Kneeland

    Dr. Coppelius is a 1966 Spanish English-language comedy film based on the ballet Coppelius directed by Ted Kneeland and featuring Walter Slezak and Claudia Corday....  more
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    15
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    Dancers

    Trine Dyrholm, Birthe Neumann

    Released2008

    Directed byPernille Fischer Christensen

    Dancers is a 2008 film written by Pernille Fischer Christensen, Kim Fupz Aakeson and directed by Pernille Fischer Chistensen....  more
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    8
    21

    Flying Boys

    Lee Joon-gi, Yoon Kye-sang

    Released2004

    Directed byByun Young-joo

    Flying Boys is a 2004 South Korean film, written and directed by Byun Young-joo, and starring Yoon Kye-sang and Kim Min-jung. The film had 114,478 admissions in South Korea....  more
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    Dancing with Time

    Heike Hennig, Ursula Cain

    Released2007

    Directed byTrevor Peters

    Dancing with Time is a film by Trevor Peters about the autobiography Dance Theater Zeit – tanzen seit 1927 by Heike Hennig....  more
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    1
    0

    Nijinsky

    Jeremy Irons, Alan Bates

    Released1980

    Directed byHerbert Ross

    Nijinsky is a 1980 American biographical film directed by Herbert Ross. Hugh Wheeler wrote a screenplay that explores the later life and career of Vaslav Nijinsky; it was based largely on the premier...  more
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    Released1924

    Directed byDudley Murphy, Fernand Léger

    Ballet Mécanique is a Dadaist post-Cubist art film conceived, written, and co-directed by the artist Fernand Léger in collaboration with the filmmaker Dudley Murphy. It has a musical score by the...  more
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    1
    1

    Save the Last Dance 2

    Jacqueline Bissett, Shaffer Smith

    Released2006

    Directed byDavid Petrarca

    Save the Last Dance 2 is a direct-to-video sequel to 2001's theatrical feature Save the Last Dance. It was released to DVD on October 10, 2006 by Paramount Home Entertainment and MTV. While featuring...  more
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    Wishing Stairs

    Song Ji-hyo, Park Han-byul

    Released2003

    Directed byYun Jae-yeon

    Wishing Stairs, also known as Ghost School and Ghost School Horror, is a 2003 South Korean horror film directed by Yun Jae-yeon, and a sequel to the 1999 film Memento Mori. Two young beautiful...  more
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    1
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    Ballet Shoes

    Emma Watson, Richard Griffiths

    Released2007

    Directed bySandra Goldbacher

    Ballet Shoes is a 2007 British television film, adapted by Heidi Thomas from Noel Streatfeild's 1936 novel Ballet Shoes. It was produced by Granada Productions and premiered on BBC One on 26 December...  more
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    1
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    William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet

    William Shatner, Henry Rollins

    Released2009

    Directed byAndrew Swant, Bobby Ciraldo, Patrick Buckley, Kevin Layne

    William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet is a feature-length documentary film about a ballet by Margo Sappington called "Common People", which was set to the music of William Shatner and Ben Folds from their...  more