Rarely captured on film, Scottish Dancing does occasionally appear in the context of period movies or documentaries. There are some historically and technically accurate renditions, and many more strange and humorous approximations. Click on the pictures for any available film footage.
Pardon My Scotch (1935)The Three Stooges (Larry, Curly, and Moe) perform their version of a highland fling (or lowland shim) at a posh dinner party. Dance sequence starts at 13:20.
Bonnie Scotland, 1935Bonnie Scotland is a 1935 American film starring Laurel and Hardy, produced by Hal Roach for Hal Roach Studios and directed by James W. Horne. Although the film begins in Scotland, a large part of the action is set in India.
I Know Where I'm Going, 1945Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) is a young middle class Englishwoman with an ambitious, independent spirit. She knows where she's going, or at least she thinks she does. She travels from her home in Manchester to the Hebrides to marry Sir Robert Bellinger, a very wealthy, much older industrialist, on the (fictitious) Isle of Kiloran.
The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)The Barkleys of Broadway is a 1949 musical film from the Arthur Freed unit at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that reunited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers after ten years apart.
Madeleine (1950)Madeleine is a 1950 film directed by David Lean, based on a true story about Madeleine Smith, a young Glasgow woman from a wealthy family who was tried in 1857 for the murder of her lover, Emile L'Angelier. The trial was much publicized in the newspapers of the day and labeled "the trial of the century." The film dramatizes events leading up to the 1857 trial of an otherwise-respectable young woman, Madeleine Smith (Ann Todd), for the murder of her draper's-assistant lover.
The Great Rupert (1950)This Jimmy Durante film includes a dancing squirrel (wearing a kilt!) who becomes the mysterious benefactor of a down-and-out family of vaudeville performers.
Happy Go Lovely (1951)Publicity still of dancer Vera Ellen for Happy Go Lovely (1951). The chauffeur (Hugh Dempster) for the richest man in Scotland, greeting card manufacturer B.G. Bruno (David Niven), drops by an Edinburgh theater to return the lost purse of chorus girl Janet Jones (Vera-Ellen).
Road to Bali (1952)Road to Bali is a 1952 American comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Released by Paramount Pictures on November 1, 1952, the film is the sixth of the seven Road to … movies. It was the only such movie filmed in Technicolor and was the first to feature surprise cameo appearances from other well-known stars of the day.
The Master of Ballantrae (1953)The Master of Ballantrae is a 1953 British Technicolor adventure film starring Errol Flynn and Roger Livesey. It is a loose and highly truncated adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel of the same name. In eighteenth century Scotland, two sons of a laird clash over the family estate and a lady.
Rob Roy: Highland Rogue (1953)Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue is a 1953 British-American action film, made by Walt Disney Productions. This film is about Rob Roy MacGregor, and it is also the final Disney film released thru RKO Radio Pictures. Rob Roy was shot on location in Scotland. Richard Todd related in his autobiography that the extras were soldiers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who had just returned from the Korean War.
Click for an extended dance sequence.
Brigadoon (1954)Film version of the broadway musical, starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson about two Americans on a hunting trip in Scotland who become lost and encounter the small village Brigadoon, in which people harbor a mysterious secret.
Spolight (1954)Hosted by Jimmy Durante, Spotlight, a program of music, songs, and dances, featured English actress Jeannie Carson doing a Scottish song and dance.
Scotland Dances, 1957The tradition of Scottish Highland and Country dancing, reflecting some of its world-wide popularity.
The White Heather Club (1958)It's Artful Throwback Almost Thursday (Wednesday, actually)! Today we have a depiction of Scottish Country Dancing and Highland Dancing from the 1950s television show, "The White Heather Club."
The White Heather Club was a BBC TV Scottish variety show that ran on and off from 7 May 1958 to 1968.
Though criticised for the tartanised view of Scotland that was put forth, it is remembered fondly by those who watched it, and is one of the earliest TV programmes that can still be viewed today.
Indiscreet (1958)Indiscreet is a 1958 Technicolor British romantic comedy film directed by Stanley Donen and starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. An actress falls in love with a man she believes to be married, who is secretly concealing from her the fact that he has no wife. Full length "Eightsome Reel" performed.
Sheila "Le Kilt" (1967)Sheila is a French pop singer who became successful as a solo artist in the 1960s and 1970s and later fronted a disco act called Sheila and B. Devotion. "Le Kilt" has interesting lyrics and a highland dance theme.
The Massacre of Glencoe (1971)This film includes a barefooted dirk dance!
Directed by Austin Campbell and starring James Robertson Justice, Andrew Crawford and William Dysart, the film depicts the 1692 infamous massacre of the Macdonalds by the Campbells in February of 1692.
The film was made on location with, naturally, most of the outdoor scenes being filmed in Glencoe, along with Argyll and Bute.
Waterloo (1970)Waterloo is a 1970 Soviet-Italian film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. It depicts the story of the preliminary events and the Battle of Waterloo, and is famous for its lavish battle scenes.
It stars Rod Steiger as Napoleon Bonaparte and Christopher Plummer as the Duke of Wellington with a cameo by Orson Welles as Louis XVIII of France. This film features the pipes and drums and dancers of the Gordon Highlanders.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 American musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company in North America on December 13, 1971. It is based upon the books The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1945) by English children's author Mary Norton. The film, which combines live action and animation, stars Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson.
Tunes of Glory, 1960Tunes of Glory is a 1960 British drama film directed by Ronald Neame, based on the novel and screenplay by James Kennaway. The film is a "dark psychological drama" focusing on events in a wintry Scottish Highland regimental barracks in the period following World War II. It stars Alec Guinness and John Mills, and features Dennis Price, Kay Walsh, John Fraser, Susannah York, Duncan MacRae and Gordon Jackson.
Brigadoon (1966)Winning 5 primetime Emmy awards, and starring Robert Goulet, Sally Ann Howes, and Peter Falk, this version includes songs and dances not included in the more familiar 1954 film version with Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly. Ballet dancer Edward Villella performs an extended sword dance sequence during the wedding scene. Click for the link to the production.
Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1978)From the "Scottish Dancing" episode of the TV Series Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - the Eightsome Reel with a surprise ending!
Greystoke (1984)Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel Tarzan of the Apes (1912).
Following onto the classic story, Tarzan is reunited with his relatives at Greystoke, the family's country estate in the Lowlands of Scotland.
Her Majesty Mrs. Brown (1997)Mrs Brown, also theatrically released as Her Majesty, Mrs Brown, is a 1997 British drama film starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Antony Sher and Gerard Butler. It was written by Jeremy Brock and directed by John Madden. The Eightsome Reel performed at the Balmoral Ball.
Highland Heartbreat (2009)Darren MacLean's Scottish Mouth Music (puirt-a-beul) with special highland dance choreography
2) The Dashing White Sergeant
3) The Eightsome Reel performed on the last episode of Season 3.