10 Best Fred Astaire Movies Of All Time

Fred Astaire: The Legendary Career of an Iconic Actor and Dancer

Fred Astaire is undoubtedly one of the most iconic actors and dancers in the history of cinema. With a career spanning over 70 years, Astaire became a household name through his performances in numerous films, shows, and stage musicals. Let’s explore some of the most significant moments in his prolific and celebrated career.

10. ‘Holiday Inn’ (1942)

In 1942, Fred Astaire starred alongside Bing Crosby in the musical “Holiday Inn,” directed by Mark Sandrich. The film follows the story of Jim, who opens an inn that operates only on holidays, and his romantic entanglements with a beautiful up-and-coming performer and a former friend, Ted, who once betrayed him.

“Holiday Inn” quickly became a classic, thanks to the timeless songs by Irving Berlin, including the ever-popular “White Christmas.” However, the film’s legacy has been marred by a controversial musical number featuring blackface, which has made it uncomfortable for modern audiences.

9. ‘Yolanda and the Thief’ (1945)

Directed by Vincente Minnelli, the 1945 musical comedy “Yolanda and the Thief” paired Fred Astaire with Lucille Brenner, who was the partner of the film’s producer. Set in a fictional Latin American country, the movie revolves around a charming thief who tricks a naive heiress into believing he is her guardian angel.

Although “Yolanda and the Thief” was meant to boost Brenner’s career, it failed to resonate with audiences, leading to her decline in the industry. For Astaire, however, the film showcased his talent and dedication, even in the face of his partner’s limited appeal.

8. ‘Blue Skies’ (1946)

The 1946 musical comedy “Blue Skies,” directed by Stuart Heisler, features Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby alongside Joan Caufield. The film revolves around a love triangle between a singer, a showgirl, and a nightclub opener with a gambling problem.

“Blue Skies” thrives on the electrifying rivalry between Crosby and Astaire, who bring Irving Berlin’s timeless tunes to life with their unmatched charisma and energy. While it might not be considered one of the all-time best movie musicals, it remains a remarkable achievement, thanks to the stars’ performances.

7. ‘Funny Face’ (1957)

In 1957, Fred Astaire starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in the romantic comedy “Funny Face.” Astaire plays a fashion photographer who discovers a shy bookstore employee and transforms her into a successful model during a trip to Paris. A romance blossoms between the two in the city of love.

“Funny Face” is remembered for its iconic images of Audrey Hepburn donning exquisite gowns against the picturesque backdrop of Paris. Astaire’s leading man charm shines through, despite the significant age gap between him and Hepburn, creating a compelling dynamic between the two characters.

6. ‘Easter Parade’ (1938)

Directed by Charles Walters, the 1938 film “Easter Parade” paired Fred Astaire with the legendary Judy Garland. The plot revolves around Don Hewes, a Broadway performer who takes on the task of turning a young dancer named Hannah into a star after his previous partner abandons him.

“Easter Parade” marked Astaire’s return to the big screen following a quasi-retirement in 1946. The film’s success can be attributed to the magical chemistry between Astaire and Garland, complemented by Irving Berlin’s unforgettable musical compositions.

5. ‘The Band Wagon’ (1953)

Fred Astaire and Vincente Minnelli teamed up once again for the 1953 musical romance “The Band Wagon,” starring Cyd Charisse as Astaire’s co-star. The film follows Tony Hunter, an aging musical star attempting to revive his career by starring in a Broadway musical alongside a beautiful ballerina.

“The Band Wagon” is a dazzling display of rhythm and color, showcasing Astaire’s talents at their best. With the support of Charisse and a talented ensemble cast, the film pays tribute to the magic of theater and music, a perfect fit for the legendary Fred Astaire.

4. ‘Shall We Dance’ (1937)

Mark Sandrich directed Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the 1937 film “Shall We Dance,” their seventh collaboration. The movie tells the story of a ballet dancer and a tap dancer who fall in love after the tabloids publish a false story about their supposed marriage.

As with other Astaire/Rogers films, “Shall We Dance” boasts memorable musical numbers, such as the Oscar-nominated “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” Astaire and Rogers’ unique chemistry shines through in this delightful and timeless musical.

3. ‘The Gay Divorcee’ (1934)

“The Gay Divorcee” (1934), directed by Mark Sandrich, marked the second collaboration between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The film revolves around a woman who travels to England to obtain a divorce from her estranged husband and ends up meeting a charming performer.

“The Gay Divorcee” marked a turning point in the Astaire/Rogers partnership, showcasing the true power of their on-screen chemistry. The duo’s electrifying musical sequences, especially the now-iconic third act, solidified their status as one of cinema’s greatest pairings.

2. ‘Swing Time’ (1936)

In the 1936 film “Swing Time,” Fred Astaire portrays Lucky Garnett, an ambitious gambler and dancer trying to raise money for his impending marriage. However, his plans take an unexpected turn when he meets the dance instructor, Penny, and they share an undeniable connection on the dance floor.

“Swing Time” features several iconic tunes, including the Oscar-winning “The Way You Look Tonight.” The film is often considered one of the finest in the Astaire/Rogers collection, highlighted by the spectacular musical sequence “Never Gonna Dance.”

1. ‘Top Hat’ (1935)

“Top Hat” (1935) is the fourth film in which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers starred together and is undoubtedly one of the most timeless classics of cinema. The story revolves around Jerry Travers, a tap dancer who falls for Dale Tremont, a wealthy woman on vacation in London.

“Top Hat” features unforgettable songs, including the title track “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails.” However, it is the iconic song and dance number “Cheek to Cheek” that has left an indelible mark on the hearts of audiences worldwide. Astaire and Rogers are at their finest in “Top Hat,” showcasing a warm and electrifying partnership that remains unmatched to this day. The film stands as the crowning achievement of Astaire’s illustrious career.


Fred Astaire’s career is a testament to his unparalleled talent and versatility as an actor and dancer. Throughout his long and illustrious journey in the entertainment industry, he left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. From his iconic partnership with Ginger Rogers to his memorable performances in a myriad of musicals, Astaire’s legacy continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide. His contributions to American cinema are timeless and continue to be celebrated today. The magic of Fred Astaire will forever be etched in the annals of

Author Profile

Michael P
Los Angeles based finance writer covering everything from crypto to the markets.

Leave a Reply