The Greatest Montage of all Time?

Last week, when I was writing about Star Wars and the journey of heroes, Phauna commented that the “eternal story usually also contains a training montage.” I couldn’t agree more.

Montage is from the French for ‘putting together’ and in film they are generally used to suggest a longish passage of time in a short period. This is done through a series of short shots edited together, normally without dialogue and often with some song playing over the top. Basically to move the story forward as quickly as possible.

There is also a Soviet montage theory, which works on the idea that in a montage the images are shown one after the other, but that they are interpreted as a whole, or being on top of each other. In this way, symbolic meaning is formed.

The training (or sports) montage, that Phauna was aluding to, is a common element in action films; and whenever I think of montage, I think of Team America.

So what are the best film montages of all time, in your opinion? Top Gun? Ghostbusters? Groundhog Day?

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5 thoughts on “The Greatest Montage of all Time?”

  1. I can only seem to remember martial art ones, maybe because I fantasised about doing them or something. Anyway, Van Damme is the king of MA training montages.

    Here’s Bloodsport, where he has to fight and serve tea blind folded, as well as have his legs forced into a split while hanging from some ropes. It starts about 2 minutes in.

    Here’s Van Damme again in Kickboxer, where he trains underwater, has coconuts dropped on his stomach and has to kick down a banana tree (which they used to really do).

  2. “Even Rocky had a montaaaaage, montaaaaage!”

    The one where Rocky is training in Russia helping old babickas to chop wood and husky teams to pull heavy sleds out of the snow, while the bad guy is running on treadmills and having the eye of his tiger measured by computers.

  3. These are some fine selections gentlemen – wow, Van Damme sure likes stretching out the ole’ groin area, doesn’t he?

    And the Rocky training montage is a really good piece of film making. It’s not just about the passage of time, but there’s a lot of meaning and cultural propaganda too.

    I particularly liked the Cinema Paradiso one, thanks for that Doogie – it’s a brilliant and moving example of the Soviet Montage Theory style.

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