When it comes to movie musicals, nothing is more magical than a duet; the combination of two voices in perfect harmony are enough to resonate with audiences and make the experience special. As someone who likes to sing karaoke as much as he can, I have heard any a sweet, charming duet (and even dabbled with it). It gave me inspiration to come up with ten of my favorite duets the silver screen has to offer. While a lot of them are amazing in their own way, I could only pick ten that stick with me the most; the ones that would (and should) be sung for karaoke night. So grab a partner and get ready to do these ten lovely movie duets that you may want to consider. These are not the best duets per se, but these are what I prefer the most. If there is one you feel I missed, feel free to tell me what your favorites are.
#10.) “A Lovely Night” – La La Land
With the pizzazz and showmanship of a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers number, “A Lovely Night” is far from your usual romantic duet. In fact, it is a battle of wits. This musical number from Damien Chazelle’s romantic-musical-comedy-drama takes everything from the duets of yesteryear and subverts all expectations. From the start, we know that Ryan Goslings Sebastian and Emma Stones Mia do not like each other and this musical number makes it very clear, even if it is expected that they fall in love later on. It’s a playful, jazzy little number that does not feel cliche or tied-down to any of the tropes. Anyone who is cynical about how mushy and sappy most duets are should look no further than this little ditty.
#09.) “Elephant Love Medley” – Moulin Rouge!
I have to be honest. Moulin Rouge! is one of my least favorite movies. It’s showy, unfocused, and the film is completely all over the place. There is no stopping to take a breath while watching this movie as it is filled to the brim with musical numbers taken from classic pop songs from the sixties to the new millenium. However, if there was a moment that showcased the best of what duets have to offer, it would be the “Elephant Love Medley”; a combination of love songs from Kiss’ “I Was Made For Loving You” to Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and David Bowie’s “Heroes” sung by the talents of Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, which ultimately cultivates into McGregor crooning Dolly Parton’s (or Whitney Houston’s depending on your take) “I Will Always Love You” with Kidman ending with Elton John’s “Your Song” (Sang by McGregor earlier). The fireworks cement the works into a truly epic duet. It is bombastic, but in a good way.
#08.) “Suddenly Seymour” – Little Shop of Horrors
As a musical, Little Shop of Horrors is as fun as it should be, with songs that will make you want to get up and tap your toes. However, “Suddenly Seymour” is a sweet little number which puts Rick Moranis’ Seymour Krelborn and Ellen Greene’s Audrey’s romance at the forefront, as they declare their love for one another. Seymour loves Audrey with all his heart, while Audrey has never had any luck with guys. (Her boyfriend we do see is a semi-sadistic dentist played by none other than Steve Martin for golly’s sake!) The piano is gentle as Seymour comforts Audrey, only for the music to swell as their feelings come to a head, and they start accepting what could be the future of their relationship. It’s an emotional song, yet a funny one as well.
#07.) “My Eyes” – Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
It is debatable whether Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is considered to be a movie since it was intended as an online miniseries divided into three acts, when combined is the length of your usual series you see on The CW. Yet, it somehow has been fully embraced as a film in its own way (with a cult following to boot). Though, one thing is truly undeniable, which is, the musical talent on display. All these songs are memorable thanks to the voices of Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion. “My Eyes” combines Harris’ and Days voices into perfect harmony, though with different perspectives. Harris’ Dr. Horrible sees the world as a cesspool only made worse that his crush, Penny (Played by Day) is dating his arch-nemesis, Captain Hammer (Fillion), while Penny sees hope and goodness in the world, especially since she has found love. What is a clashing of viewpoints pushes together to make a duet as beautifully harmonious, showing the power of two voices.
#06.) “Sneakin’ Around” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
I watched The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas nearly two months ago. While watching, I knew I was in for something special. It is as fun of a musical that I have seen in years. Its musical numbers are especially a treat. The Dolly Parton/Burt Reynolds duet “Sneakin’ Around” is no exception as it shows the chemistry these two actors have and the relationship the characters of Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd and Mona Stangley share. It is clear that Parton and the late Reynolds are having fun and it shows.
#05.) “Summer Nights” – Grease
No duet list should be complete without “Summer Nights” from Grease. It is clear to see why it is one of the most beloved musical numbers and choice songs for karaoke nights. The beat is jazzy, energetic fun. The back-and-forth between Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) as they share about the summer they met with their respective friends, as they beckon to hear the details with some interesting questions. (“Tell me more. Tell me more.”) Everything these characters sing grabs our attention. Not only are we hearing more, but the questions themselves are pretty fun.
#04.) “SOS” – Mamma Mia!
Say what you will about the movie version of Mamma Mia!, I found it to be a delightful take of Abba’s greatest hits! While not a perfect film by any means, it still became a pleasant experience for me. “S.O.S.” is one of the catchiest breakup songs in existence and Abba makes it so. While the movie version may not appeal to some, especially with Pierce Brosnan’s vocals. What really makes this song for me is the rocking guitar and the emotional commitment that Brosnan and Meryl Streep use to their advantage.
#03.) “Let’s Duet” – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is a ridiculous parody of musical biopics, mainly Walk the Line. What is a ridiculous parody without a ridiculous song to match. “Let’s Duet” is a duet song that relishes in glorious innuendo with lyrics that would make Johnny Cash and June Carter blush. But the charm comes from its raunchy approach. It may not be appropriate for your usual country station, yet “Let’s Duet” is still a riot of a time.
#02.) “Dammit, Janet” – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
When it comes to movie musicals and cult films, none have made more of an impact than The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with its long theatrical run and slew of fans, there is always something for everyone to enjoy. While “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite” are staples, we must not forget about the duet between couple Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) “Dammit, Janet”, where Brad attempts to propose to Janet in the most adorkable fashion ever. Combine that with hilarious name-dropping by background characters and a surfin’ style guitar and you have a song that rocks and adds to the cult status.
#01.) “Movin’ Right Along” – The Muppet Movie
When it comes to duet songs, no one does it better than The Muppets. They may be plush toys designed for entertainment, but they can do a good song or two. “Movin’ Right Along” from The Muppet Movie has everything a duet song could possibly need. Fun, travelling on the road, best friends, or according to Fozzie “A bear and a frog seeing America”. It makes for a good road trip song, a must-sing for karaoke, and an enjoyable romp that only The Muppets could pull off.
What are your favorite Duet songs? Sound off below!