Inventory: 76 trombones, 110 cornets, 10,000 marbles: 11 parades gone awry

Whenever you’re likely to come across a parade in film or television, you’re just as likely to come across a parade gone terribly, horribly wrong. These aren’t your garden variety float malfunctions, nor are they Ferris Bueller improving the Von Steuben Day Parade with a little Wayne Newton and The Beatles. These are the parades where things collapse, blow up, or catch on fire—for the purposes of comedy, drama, terror, or some combination of all three. They’ll make you question the intelligence level of the average marching band, and they’ll guarantee that you never trust a clown with a balloon again.

1. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

Anarchic to its final frame, Animal House sets the standard for cinematic parade disasters. Float collisions, a misdirected marching band, pancaked Kevin Bacon—the chaos of the campus comedy’s grand finale takes the cake, then …

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