Great dancing doesn't necessarily happen in great films. Unfortunately, fancy footwork can't make a mediocre movie, well, step out of the ordinary.
Only one of my favorites is a classic Hollywood musical. And another is a kind of cheat -- a DVD compilation of the best musical numbers from MGM, a studio that invented and created the best movie musicals.
1. "Dirty Dancing" (1987) -- Between the title and Patrick Swayze's moves, it's no surprise "Dirty Dancing" was a unanimous choice on our informal Best Dance on DVD GMA Poll.
2. "Pulp Fiction" (1994) -- John Travolta finished second. The issue wasn't over whether he should make the list. It was deciding which of his films to choose. "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) gave us the dance -- not to mention the suit and the haircut -- that changed America. What about "Grease" (1978)? "Look Who's Talking" (1989) even got a few votes from our younger interns. But I'm the critic. I pick the winner. This is it: "Pulp Fiction." You got a problem with that?
Let's pause for a second and give honorable mention to the F-films -- "Fame," (1980) "Flashdance" (1983) and "Footloose." (1984)
We should also remember, believe it or not, that some of the best on-screen dancing was featured in films where the couples actually touch, such as "Casablanca," (1942) "Roman Holiday," (1953) "The Bodyguard" (1992) and "The Way We Were" (1973).
In the William Shakespeare category: Romeo and Juliet meet on the dance floor in the 1996, Leonardo DiCaprio/Baz Luhrmann version, and that leads us to our next DVD dancing honoree …
3."West Side Story" (1961) -- When Tony and Maria meet on the dance floor it's Romeo and Juliet in a whole new neighborhood. "West Side Story" turned street dancing into art.
4. "Shall We Dance" (2004) -- The Richard Gere/Jennifer Lopez version of this film has sold nearly $100 million in DVDs alone -- proof of the popularity of dance at the living room theater. Nevertheless, I think the 1996 Japanese original is a much better movie.
5. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (1985) -- Tom Cruise usually wins the "Who'd a-Thunk Dancing Would Make Him a Star" award for his extravaganza in his skivvies in "Risky Business" (1983). Then we discovered "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" with Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt as best friends.
6. "Napoleon Dynamite" (2004) -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus takes honors in the "They Could Use a Lesson" category for her work in "Seinfeld." But the "Freestyle" award goes to "Napoleon Dynamite," just out on DVD. It's hysterical.
Just remember, if the "King of Queens" can't dance, neither could the King of Hollywood. Yes, Clark Gable. The guy from Six Flags has more class. And frankly, he did give a damn.
In "Gone With the Wind" (1939) -- the only time he danced in a movie -- they built a series of turntables on the dance floor. Clark Gable didn't move … the dance floor did. It's OK, Gable couldn't sing either.
7. "That's Entertainment" (1974) -- Here's someone who could dance -- Fred Astaire. In this compilation, you'll see him dancing with Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse and even a hat rack. You won't believe it when you see him dancing in "Royal Wedding. If you ask yourself how he does it here's a hint: Fred moved one way, the entire room moved the other way. This compilation of MGM musicals also features Gene Kelly. Now "That's Entertainment." The best number ever? Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain." (1952)