Nine unexpected uses of Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker'

How Tchaikovsky's ballet crops up here, there and everywhere in popular culture...

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Nine unexpected uses of Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker'
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Fantasia (1940)

As well as mop-wielding Mickey Mouse, Disney’s feature-length cartoon has a gorgeously animated section devoted to The Nutcracker, including music from the Sugar-Plum Fairy, the Arabian Dance, the Russian Trepak and the Waltz of the Flowers. 

 

Barbie in the Nutcracker (2001)

Further cinematic Nutcracker delights, as a computer-animated Barbie embarks on a ballet adventure. It is, needless to say, all very pink, though our heroine does dance a neat little Sugar-Plum Fairy routine.

 

The Simpsons Christmas Stories (2005)

‘I hope I never hear that God-awful Nutcracker music again,’ complains a typically grumpy Homer Simpson. And guess what comes next? Yup, the Simpsons cast sings a Christmas medley to the tune of the Act I March.

 

Duke Ellington’s The Nutcracker Suite (1960)

Few musicians have fused the worlds of classical and jazz as sublimely as The Duke, whose 1960 take on Tchaikovsky comes complete with natty titles such as ‘Sugar Rum Cherry’ and ‘Toot Toot Tootie Toot’.

 

Nut Rocker (1962)

Two years after Duke Ellington, American rockers B. Bumble & the Stingers were inspired to create their own high-octane arrangement of The Nutcracker’s March, a version that’s been covered by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, among others.  

 

Nutcracker (1982)

Joan Collins is in quintessentially sassy form in this splendidly awful British film about a Russian ballerina defecting to the west. Finola Hughes is the dancer in question.

 

Cadbury's Fruit & Nut (1976 etc)

From Frank Muir pootling around in a punt in 1976 to a 1980s office worker being serenaded by a singing chocolate bar and her hunky-chunky almonds, Cadbury’s brilliant ad campaign had us all singing ‘Everyone’s a Fruit and Nut case’ to the Dance of the Reed Pipes.

 

Tetris (1989)

Block-dropping fun galore, as the Nintendo Gameboy version of this ultra-popular game was accompanied by The Nutcracker’s Trepak.

 

 

Hospital For Overacting (1970)

Here’s one for sharp-eyed Nutcracker spotters, courtesy of Monty Python’s 1970 sketch. As Graham Chapman enters the Richard III Ward  at the Royal Hospital for Overacting, a group of King Mice pass in the other direction.

 

 

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