Thursday, October 15, 2009


Hello ukulele friends:
I have a few movies that have ukulele scenes in them and I thought I would devote this entire post to just movies with ukulele scenes. I would like to know what movies that have a substantial ukulele playing sequence that might be worth watching. For instance I have the movie, The Glass Bottom Boat, in which Doris Day and Arthur Godfrey sing and he plays the ukulele for two complete songs: Que Sera, Sera and the Glass Bottom Boat. It is a fun early color film from 1966. HU
Foreign, I mean non-U.S., film names are VERY welcome. I will edit and realphabetize this list as I get more information. As this lists develops I'll change it to spreadsheet and make a pdf for easier viewing. NOTE: I have not checked all of the movies in the list (yet).
50 First Dates (Adam Sandler)
A League of Their Own (???)
Australia (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman)
Balloonatic 1923 Silent (Buster Keaton)
Blue Hawaii 1960 (Elvis)
The Cat's Meow 2001 (Ian Whitcomb soundtrack)
Dirty Dancing (Baby's Sister plays a Baritone Uke)
Five Easy Pieces (Jack Nicholson)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Jerk 1979 (Steve Martin, Lyle Ritz [not seen])
Joe Versus the Volcano (Tom Hanks)
GEORGE FORMBY [ALL of HIS MOVIES, this be a separate blog entry]
The Gus Kahn Story ( Doris Day)
Glass Bottom Boat 1966 (Doris Day, Arthur Godfrey)
Honolulu 1939 (Gracie Allen, Eleanor Powell)
IT (Clara Bow silent movie)
Mixed Nuts (Steven Martin, Adam Sandler)
On Moonlight Bay 1951 (Doris Day -- WWI era time period)
Pest from the West 1939 (Buster Keaton)
Please Don't Eat the Daisies 1960 (Doris Day)
The Hudsucker Proxy (Charles Durning)
The Jumping Flea - Tales of the Modern Uke (Ukulele Documentary)
The Purple rose of Cairo (Mia Farrow)
Reds (Warren Beatty)
Rock That Uke 2007 (Documentary)
Seabiscuit (William H. Macy uke on his office wall, no playing)
Shallow Hal
Some Like It Hot (Marylin Monroe)
Sons of the Desert 1940 (Laurel & Hardy)
Stage Door 1937 (Ginger Rogers)
Stanley's Gig 2000 (William Sanderson, Ian Whitcomb's playing [not seen])
Steamboat Bill, Jr. 1920's Silent (Buster Keaton)
Stingray Sam (Cory McAbee)
The Giant Gila Monster
Take a Chance 1933 (Cliff Edwards)
A Thousand Clowns
Waikiki Wedding 1937 (Bing Crosby & Martha Raye)
Waking Life (Guy Forsyth)
Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story
Where the Truth Lies (Kevin Bacon plays a tiple)
You, Me & Dupree (Owen Wilson)
Miss Congeniality (Sandra Bullock) (A uke is held by a beauty contestant)
I Love Lucy "Little Ricky Gets Stage Fright
Lilo & Stitch (Disney)
Princess & the Frog (Disney)
The Muppets (where? Ukulele Lady)
There's a quick link for future access "UKES in MOVIES LIST"
(Thanks and Happy Strumming to all!)
Amazon Movies
Shelley Rickey (Netherlands)
Alistair Wood (UK)
Liesbeth en Karl (muziek maken in Belgium)
Ron Hale


  1. "Waikiki Wedding" 1937
    starring Bing Crosby & Martha Raye

    & I'm assuming that all the George Formby played the banjoukulele in all of his movies. (See his wikipedia entry.)

    That's all i can come with right now, but there are lots more from the 30's i'm sure.

  2. Oh, & "Please Don't Eat The Daisies" 1960 with Doris Day

  3. Clara Bow in IT
    Pretty much every George Formby film.
    Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates.
    My new favourite: Cory McAbee in Stingray Sam.

  4. - Seabiscuit, but in the background only (William H. Macy has a habit of smuggling in ukuleles in his films)
    - Where the Truth Lies, in which Kevin Bacon plays a mean bit of tiple in front of a big band. Tiples do count, do they?
    - Dirty Dancing - a baritone ukulele for a goofy contribution to the open mike event, I think even played by the main girl's sister.

    And if you include TV, a special mention should go to the Muppets.

  5. You list documentaries, so:

    Mighty Uke -- Not for sale yet, but still...

    The documentary about Jake - Play Loud Ukulele,
    is it in the spirit of things? Perhaps, not.

  6. The 2001 film The Cat's Meow, soundtrack by Ian Whitcomb (with ukulele), but also a very, very brief shot at a funeral, of a uke player & a guitarist.
    See Youtube:
    Funeral With Ukulele From Cats Meow (2001)

  7. TV

    Tiny Tim plays Whistling in the Dark
    on the premiere episode of Ironside,
    1967. Also on Youtube...

    Kate Micucci plays the uke on Scrubs

  8. Doughboys, 1930 --

    Buster Keaton holds & frets an 8-string (it has 8 tuning pegs, can't tell if it's fully strung), while Cliff Edwards sits across from him and plays on the strings with a pair of drumsticks.

    See excerpt on

  9. - Stanley's Gig (2000)
    - The Best Things in Life are Free
    (movie bio of Henderson, DeSylva and Brown)
    - Pixar's 'Up' -- at least there was a ukulele on the hearth
    - Toy Story Two -- a Woody Uke

  10. Have you looked into Jim Beloff's ukulele history -- he lists a number of uke scenes in movies -- In Tin Pan Alley (1941) with Alice Faye and Betty Grable.

  11. The 1956 film "The Best Things In Life Are Free"
    Starring Gordon McRae and Dan Dailey.

  12. SADIE MCKEE (1934), starring Joan Crawford, with two scenes in which her co-star Gene Raymond plays "All I Do is Dream of You".

    TO YOU SWEETHEART, ALOHA (2004), a documentary about Bill Tapia.

    For a long list of uke movies, go to the internet movie database at

  13. Zac Efron plays ukulele in the upcoming film, Me and Orson Welles (set in 1937), according to various movie/celebrity websites. Begins limited release Nov. 25, 2009.

  14. TV --

    Peter Sellers performs the George Formby song,
    When I'm Cleaning Windows, in the style of Formby,
    on the Parkinson interview show. On YouTube

    Various websites claim he says that his father taught Formby to play, but this isn't on the same video as the song mentioned above.

  15. I think I will separate out TV appearances or animations for another day. I want to stay focused on Movies for now - so that I may stay sane for a while longer. HU

  16. Ukulele Ike --

    Film - Marianne, 1929 -- Performs the song,
    When I See My Sugar YouTube

    Film - Hollywood on Parade, 1933 -- Performs the song, Theme Songs (I think that's the song title) YouTube

    Short - Starlit Days at the Lido, 1935 -
    Performs the song, Oh! Honey,It's So
    Funny YouTube

    He did Singin' in the Rain in Hollywood Revue of 1929. Can't find any film, but it's possible he played ukulele.

    There's a YouTube video of him performing I Did it with My Little Ukulele (which sounds like a Formby title), video labeled as BLAME IT ON A UKULELE & dated as 1933, but with no positive I.D. of the film title.

    Hard to pin things down on these older films, the film titles, song titles, etc.

  17. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid - 1969
    Ukulele playing during the song, Raindrops Keep
    Fallin' on my Head.

  18. More soundtrack uke -

    The Japanese film, Matango, aka Fungus of Terror,
    & The Mushroom People, 1963. Soundtrack includes what is described as a "jaunty ukulele number." And the no.9 track listing on the soundtrack is entitled, "The Ukuleles."

  19. Jack Johnson plays the ukulele on the soundtrack to the film, Curious George. Honolulu on the Cheap's site says that the uke appears on the soundtrack to the film, Surf's Up.

  20. Ukulele on soundtrack --

    American Beauty 1999

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. OK. Let's stick actually visual playing in Movies for now. These suggestions are all great but I would like to focus this a bit. I may categorize into Formby, Silent, pre-1945, 1945-color, color-1999, 2000-. Then perhaps Animation, Uke Documentary, Soundtrack, etc.

  23. Jack Hulbert film, "Falling for you" (193?)-- I believe that there is a song where Jack is joined by 3 singers, one of whom plays ukulele.

  24. My wife Wendy spotted a ukulele being held by a beauty pageant contestant in Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality.

  25. just mentioned British Pathe vis-a-vis
    ukulele on film(hard to fight through the translation), so you might visit them & then British Pathe (search on ukulele & ukelele)to find some old film with ukulele.

  26. A beautiful scene of Debra Paget and Hoagy Carmichael doing "Japanese Sandman". He appears to play a soprano uke while she dances and sings. You can find it on You Tube.

  27. There's a yellow ukulele inside Carl's house in the Pixar movie Up! :D

  28. Update on Jack Hulbert film, "Falling for you"

    (1933)-- There is a song where Jack is joined by 3 singers, one of whom plays ukulele. The song is 'Sweep your troubles away' (about 53 minutes into the film).

  29. "High Society Blues" with Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor (1930). The Times newspaper of 13 May 1930 said that "there is a ukulele to give them the opportunity to sing duets together".

  30. Alistair Wood added
    Broadway Danny Rose
    a Woody Allen movie

  31. I found a new one!
    At least i don't think it was on your list.
    Glorifying The American Girl, 1929
    appears at :57 and is played at 5:00

  32. Here's a great one. The Green Pastures 1936 (3:16)

  33. and more importantly at 8:15 in part 3 of The Green Pastures 1936

  34. Rose of Washington Square (1938). The uke player, whoever he was, knew what he was doing with that Martin K5.

  35. A silent Buster Keaton film, The HighSign, has a young woman playing the ukulele -- she looked like she played well (but I could hear her strumming).

  36. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Dwayne Johnson "The Rock" is a great player.

  37. There is a US war film with a guy playing Don't fence me in. Can't remember the name.

  38. Blue Valentine. You always hurt the one you the ones you love. Ryan Gosling.

  39. Jack Lemmon in "It Happened to Jane" He strums the uke as Doris Day sings to a bunch of cub scouts

  40. "The Greatest Show on Earth" - Emmet Kelly plays a shiny purple uke while Dorothy Lamour sings "Lovely Luawana Baby." Dorothy also plays it for a minute, or pretends to. Later, just before the train crash, the circus folk are relaxing by campfires before boarding the train and I spotted at least one uke.