The 5 Best Clubbing Films Of All Time

24 Hour Party People

The club scene inside The Hacienda for seminal film 24 Hour Party People - actually filmed in a warehouse on the other side of Manchester, due to The Hacienda having been demolished by the time the film was made.

There are loads of good club, music and DJing documentaries around, but something happens when DJs and clubbing are used in films - almost invariably, the results suck.

The odd good scene here and there, sure (the opening blood bath scene in Blade, set to a Pump Panel remix of New Order's "Confusion" springs to mind), but by and large clubs and movies don't, ahem, mix. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, so today we thought we'd round up our five favourite club films of all time:


It's All Gone Pete Tong

1. It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004)

Set in party capital of the world Ibiza, the film tells the tale of musician-cum-DJ Frankie Wilde who loses his hearing through too many loud club gigs. It's a comedy, it's full of drugs, clubs and girls, in places it's hallucinogenic and bizarre, and above all, it does a good job of capturing the hedonism of Ibiza (after it had gone mainstream, anyway).

If you're wondering "It's all gone Pete Tong" means "It's all gone wrong", something that definitely happens for poor Frankie. Cameos from Pete Tong himself, Paul Van Dyk and Carl Cox among others.


Go

2. Go (1999)

Told from three different perspectives, this film tells the story of events after a botched drug deal in Vegas. Fast and furious and certainly feeling like a homage to Tarantino's Pulp Fiction style, its story occurs after 3am, one night between Christmas and New Year.

Director Doug Liman was of course to go on and make The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, but for now we had a convincingly filmed strip club, a drug deal and a big slice of Las Vegas nightlife to keep us entertained, with a pretty awesome club soundtrack too.


24 Hour Party People

3. 24-Hour Party People (2002)

I have a soft spot for this film as it's set in my home city of Manchester, home of the acid house revolution in the north of England thanks to the Hacienda club, and I played a small part in its making. But by anyone's calculation, though, this is a classic: irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and with a soundtrack and club scenes that hit the nail right on the head.

There's a great performance from Steve Cougan as Tony Wilson, who set up Factory Records in 1976, and whose story it tells. Crucially it follows the old adage: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story...


Human Traffic

4. Human Traffic (1999)

One of the few cult classic rave films to also achieve commercial success, Human Traffic documents the lives of a group of 20-somethings through a weekend out partying. Drug fuelled, it nonetheless pointedly doesn't moralise, simply showing things as they are (were), and pinnigg itself to a wider social and political context thanks to its use of archive footage.

The club scenes are simply bang on, and the soundtrack is also both accurate for the time and sounding great today.


Kevin & Perry Go Large

5. Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000)

Pure British comedy which is not to be taken seriously, and which couldn't be more different from Human Traffic. It features comedian Harry Enfield as one of the two 15-year-old teenage boys who spend the whole film trying to become superstar DJs and lose their virginity, mostly in Ibiza - with their parents in tow.

It contains some convincing club scenes (set in Ibiza superclub Amnesia) and a genuinely good soundtrack featuring a who's who of late 90s house and trance with a few classics thrown in there too.


 

What's your favourite club or DJing film? What's your favourite club scene from a film? Why are club scenes in films always so bad? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

  1. sameoldsong says:

    Berlin Calling. nuff said.

  2. Groove is one of my top favorites.

    • Phil Morse says:

      Groove nearly made it, it would have been number six, if only for the John Digweed cameo at the end…

      • May I ask why you weren’t a huge fan of Groove?

        In my opinion it nails a lot of things on the head. Especially first time experiences. Whether it’s your first time going to a party, rolling, convincing your nay-sayer friend, meeting that girl at the party or even a dj spinning his first public set!

        The movie is all about first times and feels very natural and authentic. Albeit wrapped in a bit of cheese for the rave promoter. Anyhow, Always a nostalgic watch for me.

        What’s not to like?

  3. I’m saying for years that KEVIN & PERRY is the most awesome DJ movie in the world! I mean, you don’t have to find it funny (It HAS a very special kind of humor), but it’s probably the most realistic depiction of bedroom DJ struggle AND arrogant Superstar DJ behaviour, that has ever been put on film!

    Oh, and Doug Liman only directed the first BOURNE movie. (Y’know, the one where you could actually see what was going on.)

  4. Not a film, but the episode from the Spaced TV show where the gang head to a club is my favourite clubbing reference in popular culture.

    • Phil Morse says:

      I’d forgotten that – that is indeed an awesome episode. Might have to dig Spaced out again…

  5. Night At the Roxbury!

  6. night at the roxbury is a must

  7. “Loved UP” is an awesome film that was on BBC 2. It was part of a series of films the BBC ran back in 1994. The soundtrack is great! It was only release on VHS from the BBC and is no longer available unfortunately. Plenty of clips on youtube though;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_KWFogXoMA

  8. What the hell??! Where is Berlin Calling…? 1st place movie…

  9. Until One – swedish house mafia

  10. I would say “Lola Rennt” (“Run Lola Run”) is the ultimate techno movie. The story is a 3 times the same story of a girl trying to prevent a robbery, almost without words, just the music. The music plays the central role in the movie: it is actually the whole reason for the movie.

  11. Howitzer says:

    Human Traffic! Epic film!
    I’ll definately be checking the rest of this list out. Great article Phil :)

  12. Lo.Definition says:

    Maestro

  13. Scalawag says:

    With no doubt: Basic Instinct club scene!!!!!!

  14. It’s All Gone Pete Tong also has one of the best characters as well with the badger. I’ve never heard of Kevin & Perry but looking forward to finding a copy.

  15. just want to add my voice for berlin calling! greatest dj culture movie I know.

  16. DeeJayIvan says:

    I definitely agree with 3 out of 5 of the selections here, especially 24-hour Party People, pretty much all the music of those era’s in that movie molded my musical tastes… “Kevin and Perry” I’m not familiar with so no judgement … Would drop “Go” from the list for “Night At The Roxbury” HANDS DOWN!

    So, strictly for perspectives sake, here are some “alternative” clubbing movie choices which I personally enjoyed including one GLARING omission IMHO from the original top 5:

    Saturday Night Fever – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076666/

    54 – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120577/

    Last Days of Disco – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120728/

    Thank God Its Friday – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078382/

    Party Monster:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141716/ (documentary)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320244/ (film adaptation)

    Bright Lights Big City – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094799/

    • Phil Morse says:

      Brilliant, thanks for the extra options! We kind of knew this would be a good way to give us some ideas for what to watch over the next few months! ;)

  17. CosmicRift says:

    Hopefully I won’t get bashed or yelled at for this but I thought the Matrix club scene was pretty cool. Am I the only one?

  18. Club scene in City of God. Looks like an epic night – apart from the shooting…

  19. StrangeMatter says:

    Human Traffic is still part of my clubbing preperations! Watch the first half, go out & get smashed, get home and watch the rest on the comedown. Absolute bliss!

  20. I have to say I didn’t like “It’s all gone” at all. Especially due to the confusion it made and still makes. Films are not for stupid people, and mainstream clubbers actually are some kind of “unintelligent”.

  21. The Matrix Reloaded

    …..

    Just kidding:) Worst rave scene ever.

  22. Beat Street is my favorite.

  23. you’ll have to do a top 5 documentary list next!!!!

  24. “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” is the greatest… I definitely have to check out “Berlin Calling” though

  25. Absolutely agree with Agostinho, would like to see some receommendations for documentaries.

  26. Umit SAG says:

    —Groove—(2000)Directed & Produced by Greg Harrison (DJ John Digweed) Best films…..

  27. I find that people who lived through the ecstasy time are far bigger fans of Human Traffic than any other of these films you mention Phil.

    I’m amazed Human Traffic didn’t make your number one spot, but then I realised not everyone lived through pill culture. How about you Phil did you ever lose it all loved up on the dancefloor? Your film selection doesn’t really suggest that you did.

  28. the documentary ‘Maestro’ is a must, Run -dont walk -& check it out!

  29. Wow! You missed two huge films. London and Stark Raving Mad, which btw is a bank robbing film entirely focused on the dj as an intergal part of the robbery! Stars Lou diamond Phillips and Sean William Scott.

  30. Favorite Club Scene in a movie is definitely the end of Groove when John Digweed drops Heaven’s Scent. Perfect ending to that movie, and its just a great film. Surprised it didnt make this list, but there are definitely 5 good ones up there.

  31. Chris Argueta says:

    1) Saturday Night Fever. This should have been No. 1.

    2) Thank God It’s Friday.

    3) Klute (the club scenes have Francis Grasso in ‘em! That’s every DJ’s grandaddy.)

    4) Maestro (It’s a documentary, but it smokes everything else on this list)

    5) Blade: New Order: Confusion (Pump panel reconstruction mix) Amazing scene, need I say more?

  32. Bikram aditya says:

    Hi Phil , all the movies are really good ,I’d only seen Pete Tong’s Its all gone, long long time back when its sample was given free with the DJ mag .You are a good man doing great job,keep it up
    best wishes & best of luck to you

  33. Where’s

    Studio 54

    and

    Berlin Calling

    ?

  34. totally forgot about this.

    You should definitely check out “dachkantine”. it’s a docu about the legendery club dachkanine in zurich.

  35. Last Days of Disco
    Party Monster
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

  36. Man With No Name says:

    196 BPM (2003)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421527/

    24 Hour Party People (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274309/

    54 (1998)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120577/

    American Massive (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362407/

    And the Beat Goes On (2009)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285210/

    The Art of Glowsticking (2006)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1292011/

    Be.Angeled (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261804/

    Berlin Calling (2008)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211946/

    Better Living in Circuitry (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207998/

    Beyond the Rave (2008)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1104731/

    The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down (2006)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464907/

    Club Le Monde (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274430/

    Clubbed (2008)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0856778/

    Clubbed to Death – Lola (1996)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117329/

    Coming Down (1997)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0236109/

    Ecstasy (2011)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1552221/

    Electronic Awakening (2011)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2038260/

    Fix (2008)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1103221/

    Formula 51 aka The 51st State (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0227984/

    Go (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0139239/

    Groove (2000)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0212974/

    Hang The DJ (1998)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168846/

    Hey DJ (2003)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0322621/

    Hey, Happy! (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0220514/

    High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music (2006)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0877337/

    Human Traffic (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0188674/

    Is Harry on the Boat? (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0280779/

    It’s All Gone Pete Tong (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388139/

    Kevin and Perry Go Large (2000)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0205177/

    L.A. D.J. (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348663/

    The Last Days of Disco (1998)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120728/

    Late Night Sessions (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0235539/

    Limelight (2011)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1418702/

    London (2005)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449061/

    Loved Up (1995)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113710/

    Maestro (2003)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368851/

    Melbourne Shuffler (2005)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0779276/

    A Midsummer Night’s Rave (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0323248/

    Modulations (1998)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0139468/

    Moog (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0378378/

    One Perfect Day (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316353/

    Party Girl (1995)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114095/

    Party Monster (2003)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320244/

    Party Monster – The Shockumentary (1998)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141716/

    Peace Love & Beats (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0430453/

    Planet B-Boy (2007)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770796/

    Pump Up The Volume – The History of House Music (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0847411/

    Put The Needle On The Record (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472164/

    Rave (2000)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0156942/

    Rave Macbeth (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251364/

    Rise: Rave Outlaw Disco Donnie (2003)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0756337/

    Rolling (2007)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469966/

    Sample People (2000)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177195/

    Seamless – Kidz Rule (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0138787/

    Small Town Ecstasy (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337719/

    Sorted (2000)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0221563/

    South West 9 (2001)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0297403/

    Spin (2007)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0490701/

    Stark Raving Mad (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286152/

    Still Movin’ (1997)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120212/

    Summer Love: The Documentary (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0236774/

    Synergy: Visions of Vibe (1999)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0189132/

    Take One: A Documentary Film About Swedish House Mafia (2010)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1757880/

    Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (1994)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108323/

    True Vinyl (2004)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0229792/

    Vibrations (1996)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114845/

    Wasted! (1996)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117142/

    Weekender (2011)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706470/

    When Boys Fly (2002)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318828/

    World Traveler Adventures (2005)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Traveller_Adventures

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