10 of the Best Nightclub Scenes in Cinema

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Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden opens this weekend — her new film set during the EDM scene in ’90s France. It features portrayals of several real-life DJs, including Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. For anyone heavily into the club scene during this time, Eden will surely feel somewhat nostalgic.

We couldn’t resist collecting a few of our favorite nightclub scenes in film to celebrate the release of Eden. Depending on how out of touch the director is with anyone under the age of 30, the nightclub scene in cinema can be a tricky thing to get right. But these movies have fun with it, putting a unique spin on what it means to dance all night.

Mulholland Drive

David Lynch’s surreal neo-noir film Mulholland Drive is an interconnected tale of shifting personalities, places, and time. One of the movie’s pivotal scenes takes place at a strange club known as Silencio (now a real thing). The club’s emcee announces that everything is an illusion before a woman takes the stage for an a cappella version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” in Spanish. She collapses on stage, revealing her performance to be a lip-synched recording. Lynch isn’t exactly known for his cheery nightclub settings. In Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, the Bang Bang Bar is a cover of sorts for a backroom club where drugs and sex have helped destroy the lives of Twin Peaks’ sobbing high schoolers.

The Blue Angel

In Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 film, the action takes place on stage where Marlene Dietrich’s sultry performer Lola-Lola woos the cabaret. But the movie also takes us behind the scenes, where we learn that Lola enjoys humiliating one of her most devoted suitors, delighting in his downfall.

Point Blank

Lee Marvin kicks a guy’s ass, set to Stu Gardner, while ’60s dancing girls shake it. This nightclub has everything.

Goodfellas

Goodfellas contains one of the greatest tracking shots in film. Martin Scorsese’s camera winds its way through the bowels of the Copacabana nightclub before emerging inside the hot spot. The unbroken shot wasn’t originally planned this way, but the filmmaker could not get permission to enter the club from the front. The scene heightens the excitement that Lorraine Bracco’s Karen feels as she is introduced to Henry Hill’s (Ray Liotta) lavish lifestyle.

Summer of Sam

John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino party like it’s 1977 and David Berkowitz isn’t murdering everyone in their neighborhood in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam. As the body count rises, the club becomes less populated, and relationships start to break apart. The disco was part of the glue that kept the community together.

A Night at the Roxbury

TFW you walk into da club only to be greeted by an awkward hip thrust because he can’t dance.

Blade

A rave where it rains blood and vampires feast on you and your friends sounds like a party that is probably happening somewhere in Brooklyn or Los Angeles. The nightclub scene in Blade is perhaps the best thing the movie has going for it — apart from Wesley Snipes in head-to-toe leather fighting the undead with a sword.

American Psycho

New Order’s “True Faith” plays when we first meet deranged investment banker Patrick Bateman, who uses the noise of a cocaine-filled nightclub to cover his hate speak directed at an annoyed bartender. “I want to stab you to death and play around with your blood,” he shouts as she fixes him drinks. She’s shamed him, and he’s unhappy — but knowing how psychotic Bateman is, you could almost mistake his venomous words for a pick-up line.

Trainspotting

Still true, Renton: “The world is changing. Music is changing. Drugs are changing. Even men and women are changing.”

From Dusk till Dawn

Santánico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) is the Titty Twister headliner, and it’s easy to see why. Plus, snakes. Even well-known foot fetishist Quentin Tarantino couldn’t resist writing himself into a scene with the sexy dancer, in which she uses her foot to feed him a drink.