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Whether you actively enjoy ballet or simply love to watch others perform, there’s nothing more fun than having a marathon ballet movie session where you watch the best dance films ever made.

We Love Ballet Movies

As dancer teachers in North Tyneside we love to watch great dancers doing clever choreography in the comfort of our own home (we even might join in!). And there have been some great ballet movies made, going back some decades and including more recent additions to the list.

Ballet Movies List

Here’s a list of our favourites to inspire your viewing:

The Red Shoes

Starting with a classic, the 1948 movie is still considered one of the best ballerina movies ever made. The story is one of a ballerina torn between two men – one an impresario who can help her career and another a composer who can do nothing for it. She wants to be the lead dancer in a show called The Red Shoes based on a Hans Christian Anderson story about a girl who finds a beautiful pair of red shoes but finds she cannot stop dancing when she wears them. Have your tissues ready when watching this one!

West Side Story

Another classic, West Side Story is based around the plot of the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. It features warring families with a love-struck couple from each and plenty of modern ballet. So the film gives something to dance fans and those who love a good tragedy too.

Black Swan

Black Swan stars Natalie Portman in the role that is often said to be her best performance. She plays the part of a ballerina who has led a sheltered life and wants to be the lead dancer for a top New York ballet company. But the pressure of the ambition slowly drives her mad and she loses her grip on reality with terrible consequences.

Save the Last Dance

Not only is this a film about ballet and dance but it also has a great soundtrack. Released in 2001, the film is about a young girl who gives up ballet after the death of her mother. She moves to Chicago with her father and finds a hip-hop dance club where she learns new dances. It is a great teen movie, lots of great dancing and a heart-warming story.

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot is probably one of the most famous ballet movies, most particularly because the central character is a boy who loves ballet and comes from a part of England where this was unusual at the time (the early 1980s). The film was a massive hit and has even been made into a live stage show.

The Turning Point

The Turning Point is a 1977 film based on the world of ballet in New York City and starring Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft. The film is based on real life events and won a total of eleven Academy Awards.

These films represent some of the most popular ballerina movies over the last few decades and show both dancing at its best and the people involved with the dance. They will make you cry and smile in even measures and are always worth watching – usually again and again!