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The Top Ten Best Ball Gowns in Movies

Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera

Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera

The Top Ten Best Ball Gowns in Movies

Ball Gowns are typically categorized as being voluminous and grand, they are meant to impress. They are also a hallmark of princess gowns and are a statement of femininity. They are present in quite a few movies but which Ball Gowns are the best?

This a list of the Top Ten Best Ball Gowns in Movies. There are two rules there must be a some level of dance or at least party setting when these gown are worn and the skirt must have a poof, other silhouettes need not included, like ones seen in films set during the Regency or Edwardian period, etc.

The Ball Gowns are ranked by memorability, over-all prettiness and how well they reflect the character.

List Subject to change, spoilers

Anne Hathaway as Princess Mia, Princess Diaries

Anne Hathaway as Princess Mia, Princess Diaries

Number #10

Princess Mia, Princess Diaries

At the end of the First Princess Diaries movie, Mia, accepts her birthright as the Princess of Genovia.

At a formal ball she wears this strapless gown. It has a bit of an A-line shape but it has the volume associated with a ball gown.

It’s white with a floral print and beads. She keeps the jewelry to almost nothing and opts to have the glamour be in her crown with tiny earrings.

It is regal but quite youthful which is very appropriate for Mia’s new station and her character.

Costume design by Gary Jones

Deborah Kerr as Anna Leonowens, The King and I

Deborah Kerr as Anna Leonowens, The King and I

Number #9

Anna Leonowens, The King and I

The highlight of The King and I is when Anna and the King dance. It’s a part that everyone remembers and if they haven’t seen the movie they just know the scene.

The gown that Anna wears is also her trademark costume and no version have the other version beat than the 1956 version.

Anna in the 1956 version wears a lovely lavender ball gown made from satin. It has minimal detail aside from the puff over the shoulder sleeves and wide darker purple bow on the bodice. It’s a very charming and splendid gown.

Costume design by Irene Sharaff

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Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, The Young Victoria

Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, The Young Victoria

Number #8

Victoria, The Young Victoria

This gown not a super wide ball gown but it counts. Victoria wears this yellow gown for her coronation ball where she dances with Albert for the first time.

The fabric is a youthful yellow with a darker gold stripe woven into the fabric. The neckline is low with an open shoulder. The neckline is adorned with rose details. The short puffed sleeves are trimmed in lace. The waistline is extenuated with red ribbon tied is a demure bow.

The totally of the look showcases Victoria’s youth and free-spirited royal personality.

Costume deign by Sandy Powell

Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens, To Catch a Thief

Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens, To Catch a Thief

Number #7

Frances Stevens, To Catch a Thief

Frances is a rich girl looking for excitement. She finds it in former Jewel thief, John Robie. Towards the end of the movie, To Catch a Thief, Frances and John go to a costume ball at a grand French villa.

Frances‘ ball gown is 18th opulence mixed with 1950 glamour. The gown is a gold satin with a butterfly motif and a bustier bodice. The color compliments Grace Kelly’s stunning features and blond hair.

Costume design by Edith Head

Romy Schneider as Sissi

Romy Schneider as Sissi

Number #6

Sissi, Sissi First Movie

This ball gown comes from the first movie in the trilogy about Empress Elisabeth a.k.a Sissi. She wears this ball gown towards the end when she attends the twenty-third birthday part for Emperor Franz Joseph. There is a lot of plot during that ball scene that ends with the Emperor asking Sissi to marry him.

The ball gown is a light blue color that is very youthful. The gown has an embroidered floral patterns on the bodice and on the tiers of the skirt. The bodice also has layers of chiffon ruffles which adds to youthfulness and free spiritedness of the gown which fits Sissi’s character.

Costume Design by Leo Bai, Gerdago, Franz Szivats

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

Number #5

Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

Scarlett’s dress that she wears to the Barbecue is a gown that is meant to be worn later in the day to the ball. Really, just change some jewelry and her hair style and her green sprig dress is ball gown. The mainly because her shoulders are expose when convention dictated that shoulder were for the evening.

All of the costumes worn by Scarlett in the movie, this costume gets the most screen time. She wears this gown in the hopes of snaring her love in to leaving his fiancée. She is also wearing this when most of the main characters are introduced in the film.

The gown has a lovely green sprig pattern and off shoulder neckline that has ruffles and velvet ribbons. The sash at the waist is also velvet. This gown compliments Scarlett’s character and shows her ambition.

Costume deign by Walter Plunkett

Lily James as Cinderella, Cinderella 2015

Lily James as Cinderella, Cinderella 2015

Number #4

Cinderella, Cinderella 2015

The 2015 Live action version of Cinderella is a costume lovers dream, all the costumes are just so pretty. The hallmark of every Cinderella movie is magical her ball gown and this one is so whimsical.

Cinderella's ball gown is a very saturated blue color with multiple layers of fabric to give the skirt a glow. This was achieve by using layers of a super thin fabric called yumissima. The colors of these layer are not just blue but a mixture of a few color to give a unique color that looks like a walking and dancing watercolor painting.

The wideness of the skirt is balanced with the puffiness of the neckline with is studded with butterflies to showcase Ella's transformation from servant to queen, she skips being a princess in this version.

Costume deign by Sandy Powell

 Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina

Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina

Number #3


This gown might be a cheat, since the silhouette isn't quite a Ball gown. It is a pencil skirt with a ball gown train but the combination looks more like a ball gown than a straight skirt plus she is at a ball. This gown is a stunning example of 1950’s glamor.

In the 1954 version of Sabrina, Sabrina returns from France a sophisticated woman that outshine the other ladies at the ball. This gown showcases her elegant and sophisticated character feature perfectly.

The gown is made from organza with an embroidered floral pattern that is navy with beads.

Costume deign by Hubert de Givenchy

Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera

Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera

Number #2

Christine Daae's Masquerade Gown, The Phantom of the Opera

While Christine Daae’s ball gown is not a costume one would think to wear to a masquerade, it is still a beautiful ball gown.

The color is a demur light pink with a whiter sheer overlay. It has lace details at the neckline and bodice. The back is a stunning three tier bustle with flower and it is quite dramatic.The look of this gown is young, innocent and very romantic.

Costume deign by Alexandra Byrne

Jennifer Connely as Sarah, Labyrinth

Jennifer Connely as Sarah, Labyrinth

Number #1

Sarah, Labyrinth

This gown was worn in the only scene that Jim Henson had no muppets in, is like something out of a dream and considering this scene is like an acid dream it’s perfect.

The gown has an art nouveau feel combined with a Venetian flair. It has shades of pink, silver, gold and white running though it. The sleeves are huge and princess-like with an equally big grand skirt. The overall effect of Sarah's dream ball gown is a representation of childhood dreams meeting an adult world. It’s just a grand gown that matches the memorable scene perfectly.

Costume deign by Brian Froud


Melissa on August 27, 2020:

No, no, no. The best movie ball gown, by far, is the one worn by Sophia Loren in A Breath of Scandal.

Donna from East Yorkshire, UK on February 13, 2018:

Gotta love Scarlett vs Sabrina - These are all gorgeous :) Unusual piece, cheery & unexpected topic. I love it. Will share.

Robin Carretti from Hightstown on December 15, 2017:

Wow what an Iconic page the better to dance the night away so delightful how it touches my heart in every way so divine the videos you got them all lined up the way I wanted to enjoy them thanks so much

Rafael on March 22, 2016:

Scarlett´s red ball gown is the best of all the time. Not the one in your list.

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