Gershwin himself appears in The King of Jazz (1930) playing his world-renown Rhapsody in Blue (and, for some unfathomable reason, uncredited), and in archive footage in the television miniseries New York: A Documentary Film (1999). The ever popular and variously interpreted and orchestrated Rhapsody in Blue also occurs in Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors (1928), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), the TV miniseries Jazz (2001), and an exquisite animated sequence in Fantasia 2000 (1999). The signature clarinet glissando has been used to open countless city scenes and to suggest contemporaneity.
The composer's famed opera Porgy and Bess, a brilliant synthesis of Tin Pan Alley lyricism, Impressionist opera, harmonies, blues, and gospel influences, has received several productions: in a sketchy but very effective 1959 dramatization directed by Otto Preminger with an all-star cast including Sidney Poitier as Porgy, Dorothy Dandridge as Bess, Sammy Davis Jr. as Sportin' Life, and Pearl Bailey as Maria; Trevor Nunn's faithful and excellent 1993 television version with Willard White and Cynthia Hayman; a fascinating television documentary entitled Porgy and Bess: An American Voice (1998) which features many personalities and performers who have been involved in the history of the legendary piece; and the New York City Opera's 2002 television production of the complete work. Individual songs from the opera have appeared in The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988) ("It Ain't Necessarily So"), an electronic version of "Summertime" in Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (1993), and in numerous television performances, and as fragments employed as momentary references and segues in many films.