Classic Movie Piano Scenes

You may or may not know that Don Cheadle is making a biopic about the late, legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. (And that is fine casting indeed, even if his jumping on the project renders the casting suggestion I made last year here completely irrelevant) While that was exciting news for me as a Miles fan, one of the first places my mind went about this movie was: Who’s gonna play Chick Corea?

That’s because while I definitely appreciate the special relationship that music—and movies about music, or about musicians—has always enjoyed with the movies, I also happen to be very much partial to the piano. It’s the instrument I studied in school, and what I use as my primary tool in composing music, so my interest is always heightened whenever piano music or pianists play vital roles in cinematic storytelling.

Catching the last half of Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra on television the other night (Michael Douglas is great as “Lee” and Matt Damon gives a compellingly tortured performance as companion Scott Thorson) finally pushed me into deciding it was time to tickle the MovieFanFare ivories with a look at my five favorite classic movie piano scenes:

So: Were any of those your favorites? (I’ll bet at least one of them was) I made time for only my Top five here, but could have easily gone on at length about several other great piano-related movies and movie moments—those passing nods I made to Amadeus and Five Easy Pieces, for example, would have easily cracked into a “Top 10” list, for example—but now it’s time to turn the concert over to you. What are your favorite classic movie piano scenes?

As for who’s going to play Chick in the Miles movie, I’ve always been partial to Jeff Goldblum. Maybe we should ask our guest-blogging casting guru.

One extra challenge, while we’re at it: This is my favorite piece of piano music ever, period, full stop. I’m not sure that I have ever heard it used substantially in the movies, but I would absolutely be interested to have a reader point out where I might find it used brilliantly in a film.