They say music soothes the savage beast, but it seems to us that the best musically-driven movie scenes do just the opposite: They get our toes tapping, our hands clapping and our rumps shaking. When executed the right way, scenes that heavily involve music -- such as the 'Tiny Dancer' sing-along in Cameron Crowe's 'Almost Famous' -- can leave unforgettable impressions for decades to come.
Just how near and dear to cinephiles' hearts are such scenes? Well, take it from us: They are very important. As we set about to determine our list of the 50 all-time best music scenes in film history, the arguments that erupted around the Moviefone office as we whittled down our list were more contentious than a Rabbit vs. Papa Doc rap battle.
Yet even with our impassioned back-and-forths, we're sure our list omits some cinematic contenders that you love. We encourage you to argue along with us in the comments section. Before we begin the countdown, however, let's discuss the two rules that guided us as we shaped our list:
No musicals allowed!
As much as we like 'The Sound of Music' and 'An American in Paris,' the musical numbers in those films are a completely different breed of animal than, say, the parade scene from 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.' Both have their places, but this list is all about the latter.
No "scored" scenes!
We love a good soundtrack as much as anyone, but for this list we considered only those scenes in which the music -- whether emanating from an onscreen band, a boombox, a disco's sound system, the mouths of the characters, etc. -- is part of the action. (Film nerds refer to scenes like this as being "diegetic." Non-nerds, you just learned something.) This explains, for instance, the absence of movies with killer, primarily non-diegetic soundtracks, such as 'Rushmore' and 'The Graduate.'
Got it? Then click on the buttons below to enjoy our countdown of the 50 best music scenes from movies.