Tango Here and There

by jposburn | created - 09 Jul 2018 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

A list in progress of films with a tango element, dance, music, or song, that may be dramatically important (or not) but doesn't make the full movie a "tango film." The dance styles are all over the place and sometimes promiscuously mixed... Argentine, ballroom, international, americano, interpretive. The order isn't a ranking. My notes can be read under "detail view." See also my lists of "Narrative Tango Films" and "Tango Documentaries."

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1. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Passed | 121 min | Comedy, Music, Romance

98 Metascore

After two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Votes: 247,634 | Gross: $25.00M

Tango in drag with a stiff arm.

2. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Passed | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Votes: 204,979

"Valentino said there's nothing like tile for the tango."

3. Apartment Zero (1988)

R | 124 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Set in modern day Buenos Aires, the film centers around a relationship between two emotionally crippled roommates. Adrian LeDuc is a lonely sociopath who is forced to rent his insane ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Donovan | Stars: Hart Bochner, Colin Firth, Dora Bryan, Liz Smith

Votes: 3,704 | Gross: $0.67M

A disturbing psycho-sexual political thriller with overtones of Hitchcock and Highsmith. Tango weaves in and out of the soundtrack and there is a cabaret scene of a tango singer. It's never quite a tango film, however, and the references drop away well before the end.

4. Tempest (1982)

PG | 140 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

John Cassavetes gives a compelling performance as a man confronting a mid-life crisis with extraordinary results for everyone around him.

Director: Paul Mazursky | Stars: John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon, Vittorio Gassman

Votes: 2,168 | Gross: $5.01M

Paul Mazursky's magical update of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" reconciles friend and foe with a tango dance party, stiff-armed but strangely tender, rather than dinner and a court masque.

5. Le Bal (1983)

109 min | History, Musical

Dance moves, music and fashion mark the passage of time inside a Paris dance hall, throughout fifty years of history.

Director: Ettore Scola | Stars: Étienne Guichard, Régis Bouquet, Francesco De Rosa, Arnault LeCarpentier

Votes: 2,598

A wordless history of a fictional Paris dance hall. Not a "tango film," but tango has a heightened significance as it winds through multiple periods and survives competing fads.

6. Love and Other Disasters (2006)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

An American intern at U.K. Vogue helps her friends find love.

Director: Alek Keshishian | Stars: Brittany Murphy, Matthew Rhys, Catherine Tate, Santiago Cabrera

Votes: 13,819

The always appealing Brittany Murphy dances a tango - rather well.

7. Scent of a Woman (1992)

R | 156 min | Drama

59 Metascore

A prep school student needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.

Director: Martin Brest | Stars: Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar

Votes: 270,130 | Gross: $63.90M

Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar's famous tango to "Por una cabeza."

8. Avellaneda's Moon (2004)

143 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport

The story of a social and sports club in a Buenos Aires neighborhood and of those who try to save it from being closed.

Director: Juan José Campanella | Stars: Ricardo Darín, Eduardo Blanco, Mercedes Morán, Valeria Bertuccelli

Votes: 5,179

"Luna de Avellaneda" is a beautifully poetic movie about a neighborhood club threatened by hard times and vulture developers. It opens with a flashback to a 1950s carnival overflowing with tango, romance, sport, and procreation.

9. Underground (1995)

Not Rated | 167 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A group of Serbian socialists prepares for the war in a surreal underground filled by parties, tragedies, love and hate.

Director: Emir Kusturica | Stars: Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic, Slavko Stimac

Votes: 55,807 | Gross: $0.17M

A WWII Yugoslav resistance fighter drinks and dances with his actress-lover during an Allied bombardment, and tango, recurrent on the soundtrack, is the opening theme of a carnivalesque subterranean wedding.

10. Rent (2005)

PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

53 Metascore

This is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Rapp

Votes: 49,057 | Gross: $29.08M

A bracing scene is Tango Maureen.

11. Soldier of Orange (1977)

R | 165 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

During World War II, Dutch students join the resistance movement against the German occupation of The Netherlands.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Rutger Hauer, Jeroen Krabbé, Susan Penhaligon, Edward Fox

Votes: 11,051

Same sex Nazi and Resistance tango.

12. One Deadly Summer (1983)

R | 133 min | Drama, Mystery

Oozing sensuality, a young woman arrives in a small town and gets married to the local mechanic. Was it love at first sight? What links her enigmatic presence to the family's piano? Is it curiosity or is it something far more sinister?

Director: Jean Becker | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Alain Souchon, Suzanne Flon, Jenny Clève

Votes: 4,361

In the midst of this tonally, dramatically, and emotionally complex film there comes, as though to make it even more so, "La cumparsita."

13. The Conformist (1970)

R | 113 min | Drama

100 Metascore

A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio

Votes: 27,804 | Gross: $0.54M

Tango tends to pop up in films about fascism.

14. Indochine (1992)

PG-13 | 160 min | Drama, Romance, War

Eliane adopts Camille, whose Vietnamese parents were friends. In 1930, a French navy officer is interested in Eliane (owns 60km2 plantation) and later in Camille. There's an uprising in Vietnam against French colonial power.

Director: Régis Wargnier | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Perez, Linh Dan Pham, Jean Yanne

Votes: 9,444 | Gross: $5.73M

Catherine Deneuve and Linh Dan Pham (as an adopted daughter) dance a tango symbolic of the fading French colony.

15. The Plague (1992)

R | 148 min | Drama

In the 1990s, a South American city is rocked by the imminent outbreak of a plague. While many attempt to flee the city, Dr. Bernard Rieux sends his sick wife away and does his best to care... See full summary »

Director: Luis Puenzo | Stars: William Hurt, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jean-Marc Barr, Robert Duvall

Votes: 834

This interesting version of Camus' "The Plague" includes an impressive tango by Carolina Iotti and Estanislao Herrera in which the performance cliché of the woman's back arched in the man's arms takes a shocking and sardonic turn.

16. Gran Casino (1947)

92 min | Drama, Musical

A prison escapee becomes involved with an independent oil well owner threatened by corporate thugs, who do their dodgy business in the glamorous Grand Casino.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Libertad Lamarque, Jorge Negrete, Meche Barba, Agustín Isunza

Votes: 723

Someone sings in that casino - Libertad Lemarque directed by Luis Buñuel. There's also some good fun with porteño slang in an early scene.

17. El hijo pródigo (1969)

102 min | Drama, Crime, Mystery

A lawyer convinces his client to cheat on a famous singer with great wealth, thus eliminating him and collecting the insurance. What nobody expects is that the farce is uncovered sooner than they thought.

Director: Servando González | Stars: Libertad Lamarque, Carlos Lico, Julián Bravo, Adriana Roel

Votes: 6

Libertad Lemarque, seeking her wayward son, sings "Nostalgias."

18. Upside Down (I) (2012)

PG-13 | 109 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

45 Metascore

Adam and Eden fell in love as teens despite the fact that they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions. Ten years after a forced separation, Adam sets out on a dangerous quest to reconnect with his love.

Director: Juan Solanas | Stars: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma

Votes: 69,812 | Gross: $0.10M

Kirsten Dunst dances with Pablo Verón in a topsy-turvy ballroom.

19. Easy Virtue (2008)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

58 Metascore

A young Englishman marries a glamorous American. When he brings her home to meet the parents, she arrives like a blast from the future - blowing their entrenched British stuffiness out the window.

Director: Stephan Elliott | Stars: Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth

Votes: 20,352 | Gross: $2.66M

Tango scene with Jessica Biel and Colin Firth.

20. Miss Europe (1930)

93 min | Drama

Lucienne, typist and gorgeous bathing beauty, decides to enter the 'Miss Europe' pageant sponsored by the French newspaper she works for. She finds her jealous lover Andre violently ... See full summary »

Director: Augusto Genina | Stars: Louise Brooks, Georges Charlia, Augusto Bandini, André Nicolle

Votes: 540

The great Louise Brooks plays a woman who enters a beauty contest and pursues a film career in defiance of a possessive husband. When she wins, she dances a tango that is played in her honor. The music re-emerges as a theme in a romantic tragedy that was Brooks' first sound film (she is convincingly dubbed in French).

21. True Lies (1994)

R | 141 min | Action, Comedy, Thriller

63 Metascore

A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used-car salesman while terrorists smuggle nuclear war heads into the United States.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton

Votes: 241,181 | Gross: $146.28M

Schwarzenegger parodies Connery's Bond tango.

22. Never Say Never Again (1983)

PG | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

68 Metascore

A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow

Votes: 62,958 | Gross: $55.50M

Connery's Bond tangos with Kim Basinger.

23. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

55 Metascore

A bored married couple is surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Adam Brody, Vince Vaughn

Votes: 456,221 | Gross: $186.34M

Spies and assassins love tango.

24. Valentino (1951)

Approved | 102 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

Italian immigrant Rudolph Valentino makes it big in silent Hollywood, but he ends up struggling between his career and the woman he loves.

Director: Lewis Allen | Stars: Eleanor Parker, Richard Carlson, Patricia Medina, Joseph Calleia

Votes: 274

If there's Valentino, there must be tango.

25. Valentino (1977)

R | 128 min | Biography, Drama

The life of 1920s movie star and sex symbol, Rudolph Valentino.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Rudolf Nureyev, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips, Carol Kane

Votes: 1,711

Nureyev directed with style and excess by Ken Russell.

A great version of "Garua" sung by Goyeneche in his prime.

27. The Devious Path (1928)

107 min | Drama, Romance

Neglected by her husband, an ambitious lawyer, Irene seeks variety in Berlin's nightlife, drugs and flirtations included.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Gustav Diessl, Brigitte Helm, Hertha von Walther, Jack Trevor

Votes: 332

A silent film by G.W. Pabst that includes a scene in which tango and foxtrot alternate in Weimar Berlin.

28. Secrets of a Secretary (1931)

71 min | Drama

When her father dies, a wealthy young women discovers that she's not wealthy at all--her father lost all of his money in the 1929 stock market crash and she's now officially broke. She ... See full summary »

Director: George Abbott | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Georges Metaxa, Betty Lawford

Votes: 93

Nightclub tango...

29. Always Goodbye (1938)

Approved | 75 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A woman must decide between two men - one she loves, the other she admires and respects.

Director: Sidney Lanfield | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Herbert Marshall, Ian Hunter, Cesar Romero

Votes: 432

Nightclub tango...

30. Outpost in Morocco (1949)

Approved | 92 min | Action, Adventure

After escorting an Emir's daughter to her father's stronghold, French Foreign Legion Captain Gerard's unit joins an isolated Moroccan outpost facing imminent attack by rebel Bedouin tribes.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: George Raft, Marie Windsor, Akim Tamiroff, John Litel

Votes: 395

Nightclub tango...

31. Under the Pampas Moon (1935)

Approved | 78 min | Music, Romance, Western

Cesare Campo is a hard-riding and hard-loving Argentine gaucho. Yvonne LaMarr is a famous Parisian singer on her way to play an engagement in a Buenos Aires cabaret. THe plane she is flying... See full summary »

Director: James Tinling | Stars: Warner Baxter, Ketti Gallian, John Miljan, J. Carrol Naish

Votes: 43

Cobra tango.

32. Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Passed | 140 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Music

60 Metascore

A pair of sailors on leave try to help a movie extra become a singing star.

Directors: George Sidney, Joseph Barbera, William Hanna | Stars: Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly, José Iturbi

Votes: 8,013

A very free form tango by Gene Kelly to "La cumparsita."

33. Broadway (1942)

Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Music

George Raft, playing himself, recalls his days on Broadway, where he acquired a reputation as a great dancer--and also one as a brawler, a ladies man and an associate of some of the city's most notorious gangsters.

Director: William A. Seiter | Stars: George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Janet Blair, Broderick Crawford

Votes: 99

George Raft knew some tango.

34. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

Approved | 93 min | Biography, Drama, Musical

67 Metascore

The story of the dancing team who taught the world to two-step.

Director: H.C. Potter | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver, Walter Brennan

Votes: 2,334 | Gross: $1.12M

I don't think tango is really Fred Astaire's thing.

35. Way Out West (1937)

Passed | 66 min | Action, Comedy, Family

Stanley and Ollie are enlisted to deliver the deed to a goldmine in a small village, only for it to be stolen.

Director: James W. Horne | Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Sharon Lynn, James Finlayson

Votes: 7,745

A tango moment with Laurel and Hardy.

36. Flying Down to Rio (1933)

Passed | 89 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

72 Metascore

A bandleader woos a Latin flame who is already engaged to his employer.

Director: Thornton Freeland | Stars: Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien, Ginger Rogers

Votes: 3,415

Among the many Latin dances - tango.

37. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,234,110 | Gross: $96.90M

Again, that strange perceived affinity between tango and times of fascism.

38. Evita (1996)

PG | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

45 Metascore

The hit musical based on the life of Eva Perón (Evita Duarte), a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Domingo Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Madonna, Jonathan Pryce, Antonio Banderas, Jimmy Nail

Votes: 34,309 | Gross: $50.05M

The tango elements include an extremely inauthentic dance between Madonna and Antonio Banderas.

39. Strictly Ballroom (1992)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

72 Metascore

A maverick dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine and sets out to succeed with a new partner.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter, Pat Thomson

Votes: 25,499 | Gross: $11.74M

Ballroom, not Argentine, but tango is in the mix.

40. Death on the Nile (1978)

PG | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

59 Metascore

As Hercule Poirot enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board. Can Poirot identify the killer before the ship reaches the end of its journey?

Director: John Guillermin | Stars: Peter Ustinov, Mia Farrow, Simon MacCorkindale, Jane Birkin

Votes: 29,472

Tango a la Agatha Christie, Niven and Ustinov leading with stiff arms.

41. Wild Tango (1993)

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama, Music

A biopic based on the life of one of the pioneer argentine rock stars 'Tanguito'. The movie tells the story of his rise and fall from grace, encompassed in violent times of a military regime.

Director: Marcelo Piñeyro | Stars: Fernán Mirás, Cecilia Dopazo, Imanol Arias, Antonio Birabent

Votes: 1,440

The milieu is Argentine rock, but the star is called Tanguito and there is tango in the film, as metaphor and love-making.

42. Alice (1990)

PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Romance

67 Metascore

A spoiled Manhattan housewife re-evaluates her life after visiting a Chinatown healer.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia Farrow, William Hurt, Joe Mantegna, June Squibb

Votes: 13,555 | Gross: $7.33M

"La cumparsita" as a romantic and emotional motif.

43. Flawless (1999)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

50 Metascore

An ultraconservative security guard suffers a debilitating stroke and is assigned to a rehabilitative program that includes singing lessons, with the drag queen next door.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Miller, Chris Bauer

Votes: 17,938 | Gross: $4.49M

A touchingly simple tango danced during the emotional and physical recuperation of a cop debilitated from a stroke.

44. Addams Family Values (1993)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy

62 Metascore

The Addams Family try to rescue their beloved Uncle Fester from his gold-digging new love, a black widow named Debbie.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack

Votes: 83,199 | Gross: $48.92M

Tango, flamenco, paso doble, all rolled into one.