Once upon a time, lip-syncing was considered a major pop culture faux pas (just look at Ashlee Simpson and Milli Vanilli), but now there’s an entire realm dedicated to lip syncing as expertly as possible.
And while Lip Sync Battle, lip syncing for your life on RuPaul’s Drag Race or lip syncing your way to an Academy Award are a popular part of the entertainment world today, there were other artists who blazed the mouth-mashing trail.
On the big screen, there have been some seriously iconic lip sync moments by actors and actresses that are just as good, if not sometimes better, than the musicians they’re emulating. These are the ten all-time best lip sync scenes from movies.\
Tom Cruise in Risky Business
Pretty much the gold standard for movie lip-syncing, it’s often imitated but never replicated. Thanks to Tom Cruise, it’s now all but impossible to hear Bob Seger‘s “Old Time Rock and Roll” without imagining yourself mouthing the words while you slide across the floor in nothing more than a shirt, socks and underoos.
Jon Cryer in Pretty In Pink
The only other lip sync scene that might give Tom Cruise a run for his money for being considered the all-time great is Jon Cryer’s spirited performance of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” at the record store. Who the hell doesn’t pick Duckie after seeing that?
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in The Skeleton Twins
The only thing more entertaining than the outtakes from this little-seen indie gem is the lip sync magic that unfolds between comedy geniuses and SNL alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. As estranged siblings, the pair allows Starship’s schmaltzy ballad “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” to say everything they couldn’t.
Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller was considered a righteous dude amongst the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies and dickheads, and could you blame them? The high school student set the bar for how to skip school, i.e. getting the entire city of Chicago to twist and shout along while you lip sync The Beatles on a parade float.
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World
Queen is, undoubtedly, having a huge resurgence thanks to the wild success of Bohemian Rhapsody, but the ’70s rockers got a boost all the way back in 1992 when Wayne, Garth and friends did a most excellent lip sync of, yep, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing
Sure, “the lift” may get all the love (and failed attempts on dance floors), but the sensual, sweet, and oh-so-funny duet exchange of Mickey & Sylvia’s “Love is Strange” holds up just as well.
Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet
Everything that unfolds in Blue Velvet feels like its very own frenzied fever dream, so it’s fitting that the unforgettable lip sync moment is set to none other than Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.”
Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths in Muriel’s Wedding
In a perfect world, Collette’s Muriel and Griffith’s Rhonda would have starred in both of the Mamma Mia! movies, but they still forever have their own place in ABBA fandom history with their joyous performance of “Waterloo.”
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
J. Law’s frenzied, fire-starter (literally) of a performance earned her a best supporting actress Oscar nomination in 2013, thanks largely in part to her wild combination singing/lip sync/interpretive dance to Wings’ “Live and Let Die.”
Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
No road trip is complete without one (or many) lip sync sessions, but unless you have the costumes, makeup and general fabulousness of the gang in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, your take on Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is going to pale in comparison. Sorry, but it’s true.