RANKED! The 8 Best Movie Montages of All Time
Movies are full of tropes, clichés, and beat points, but perhaps the most effective way of getting to the point of a story is by using a musical montage. A montage is a collection of scenes set to a certain song, usually an uplifting one, and it is designed to show the growth of a character and to progress his or her story in an upbeat way. We love a good musical montage, which is why we’ve ranked the eight best musical movie montages of all time.
Photo Credit: United Artists
8. ‘Team America: World Police’
There’s literally an entire song dedicated to the montage in this film. It's called "Montage." Team America, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is a divisive film. Some love the satire it creates; others think it’s immature, lazy bathroom humor. But one thing everybody can agree on is that it features one of the best movie montages of all time.
“I’ll make a man out of you,” the pretentious warrior tells Mulan. Well, Mulan proved that anything men can do, women can do better and she did so in Disney’s best montage. The “warrior training” montage is probably the most well-known type, but Mulan was one of the first animated films to utilize it and it resulted in one of the catchiest, most inspiring songs in Disney’s catalog.
6. ‘The Mighty Ducks’
Everybody knows that any time Coach Gordon Bombay needs to find himself again, all he needs to do is throw on a pair of skates and glide across the ice while the sun sets and a soft melody plays in the background.
5. ‘Evil Dead 2’ and/or ‘Army of Darkness’
In the original Evil Dead, our beloved Ash was not the smooth-talking, bare-chested, boomstick-shooting anti-hero we would come to know and love. In that film, he was just a dork who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the subsequent films, however, Ash became the badass we all remember him as today. A big reason for his bad-assedness is because of the cool montages in which he builds a chainsaw arm, cocks his shotgun, and prepares to take on an army of darkness. They’re short montages, but sweet and very effective.
4. ‘Kill Bill’
There are a few instances in Quentin Tarantino’s revenge thriller, Kill Bill, that act as montages. All of them revolve around Beatrix Kiddo (or "The Bride," played by Uma Thurman) being trained to kill Bill. Each time a montage begins, the audience holds its collective breath until the final shot of the scene. These are more than just mid-film scenes designed to make up part of the run time. They’re mini-poems, really. Or they’re anthems in an opera. They’re beautiful, that’s all.
3. 'The Breakfast Club'
Montages often show the bond of friendship being created. Such was the case with John Hughes’ classic film, The Breakfast Club. The entire film is perfectly lovely, but it’s the montage in the middle of the film that really captures the essence of friendship between the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal.
We can’t talk about this one too much, because doing so requires us to spend the rest of the week in bed, whimpering. Up is a phenomenal tale of friendship between an old man and a young boy, but it’s the montage at the very beginning of the film, depicting the history of the old man and his bride, that is most remembered. It’s remembered because it’s beautiful, poignant, and absolutely devastating.
1. The ‘Rocky’ Series
And this is where we’ve always been heading. When one thinks of a montage, more often than not, their mind flashes to Rocky, the story of the underdog boxer fighting against all odds. It's a classic film. Most of its sequels are, too, and each one features a training montage that makes Rocky look like a friggin’ superhero. The Rocky movies are perfect examples of how to best utilize a montage. Each montage in the Rocky films outdid the previous one and that is why Rocky will always remain the reigning, defending, undisputed champion of movie montages.