Curl Up on the Couch With These 10 Movies About Dance Music
Filmmakers since the early '90s have been keen to interpret the fascinating factions of dance music. They were building out cinema masterpieces capturing the global fad of this flamboyantly dressed, drug-consuming, rave-dancing culture.
Packed with often inexplicable, emotional encounters on and off the dance floor dance music movies run the gamut of subject matter. Whether the focus is on dealing with the tragic loss of hearing, social activism, chemical overload, or running from the cops they are the compelling stories of those who are closest to the culture. And of course, the enticing tunes of the culture make for electrifying soundtracks in themselves.
The music industry has always provided excellent movie plot lines. Some of these films focus on the music and the scene, while others derive dilemma and drama. Here are some of the most notable dance culture movies to date to spark nostalgia and take you down on a party movie bender.
Originally a play, the Stephen Soderberg-directed film is set in 1994 during the historic rave legislation crackdown in the UK. This feature follows two best friends as they encounter underground parties and rave culture for the first time. You will want to turn up the volume for the soundtrack to this epic film as it hosts a killer soundtrack featuring Plastikman, Phantasia, The Prodigy, The Golden Filter, LFO, Outlander, and Model 500.
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
This film forms a historical connection between AIDS activism in Paris and house music. Featuring a warm and euphoric soundtrack that captures the escape and solidarity within the nightlife scene. The historical authenticity of the club scenes in the film makes an emotional impact showcasing life and unity in music even at the height of the AIDS pandemic.
Daft Punk Unchained
A Documentary on the mystic of the duo Daft Punk. The French DJs are famed for the beloved robot attire that keeps them in complete anonymity. The documentary chronicles the group's career from its start in the early '90s through 2014. This film deep dives into radio interviews, rare footage, and exclusive interviews with close friends and collaborators.
XOXO is quoted as the rave equivalent of "Dazed and Confused." Taking place over 24 hours, following multiple characters' at an EDC-like music festival. The portrayals are accurate to festival personas, making you laugh and reminding you of your best festival adventure.
The story of Party Monster was a movie adaptation from James St. James' 1999 book 'Disco Bloodbath.' Based on the true story of New York City's club famed promoter Michael Alig, the film is, at the least, a strange drug-fueled trip as he rose to the top. With a cast that includes Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green, the film pushes boundaries full of dark and twisted humor, making you think twice about going out.
24 Hour Party People
This is one of club culture's most exciting films. It depicts the crest and fall of the late 1970s to early 1990s, a fun and in-depth survey of the global scenes of the era in Manchester, England. 24 Hour Party People is a tale of an enormous passion for leisure. Whether for the historically accurate context or the insanely fun soundtrack—think early euro rave—it's one of the best films to watch to get your fix of the underground party scene.
Mia Hansen-Løve produced the semi-biographical film co-written by her brother. A story takes us from the early days of the French electronic scene—when house music was still considered a spawn of disco. This epic film charts the evolution of Daft Punk from two adolescents behind the decks to the internationally beloved duo we all know and love; and the eventual rise of a fall of a local DJ. The movie is full of colorful visuals, moments of excess-- topped off with a killer soundtrack.
Suppose the smiley guy on the subway with a giant disco ball between his legs tells you anything. Groove is all about one epic night set in a San Francisco underground warehouse scene, staying true to the hurdles that may come is par to the course. Then fast forward to the magical night itself – the euphoric dance music, absurdity, and counter-culture. Whether the cops break it up or not (as their station is three blocks away), this party is going to be an all-nighter for the books with a soundtrack to match.
This cult classic captures the 'weekend warrior' mentality of UK ravers in the 90s. The story follows a group of friends who escape the mundanity of their day jobs by mixing club culture with a cocktail of drugs. The low-budget film unfolds over the course of one wild weekend celebrating rave culture.
It’s All Gone Pete Tong
Shot in the style of a mockumentary, It tells the fictional story of notorious DJ Frankie Wilde, who loses his hearing. Despite doctors’ orders to stay clear of the rave scene he continues his life as a famous DJ until he loses his hearing entirely. His depression starts, taking him to a point where things are not looking so good. Before passing the point of no return, Frankie decides to make changes in his life, experiencing music in revolutionary ways.