I have a confession to make. I was a theater major in college. Yep, complete with a Les Miserables shirt and debates about the merits of Madonna as Eva Peron in the greenroom between classes. Perhaps it was because my mom made me listen to too much Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar when I was little? (That’s it, blame the parents.) My passion for movie musicals is merely the culmination of my two loves: film and non-plot advancing song and dance numbers! Like, OmG!
Here are the 10 Movie Musicals I think are the best of the best. This is based on the oh-so-scientific criteria of how much I love the film so if your favorite is missing, by all means, leave a comment and let us what makes you want to spontaneously break into song. Come on, I showed you mine…
10. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
This film is a frantic, glitzy, over-the-top music video. But, it works. Songs you recognize stuck into a plot set in 1899 Paris and all tied together with Baz Luhrmann‘s special brand of magic. It’s so wrong that it’s oh-so-right. I adore this film and I think it contends with more “classic” musicals any day.
9. Mary Poppins (1964)
Classic Disney sweetness with an extra spoonful of sugar! Who doesn’t love Mary Poppins? Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are simply superb. This is one of those movies that deserves all the accolades it has received over the last forty years. Wow, forty years? That nanny’s old but still awesome.
I’m a major Sondheim fan and Sweeney Todd is my favorite, so it was with a knot of excitement and dread in my stomach that I watched Tim Burton‘s version of this dark, spooky tale unfurl. Nailed it! It is simply delightful, paying careful tribute to the stage version but forging it’s own way with a great cast and a sense of humor shining through the murk. “Have a Little Priest” is spot-on! Watch for a great performance by Alan Rickman.
7. My Fair Lady (1964)
Audrey Hepburn may not actually sing in this movie but she sure does charm. Just try and watch it without being won over by Eliza Doolittle! “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Get Me To the Church On Time” are show stoppers. Super cute and still as fun today as when you were a child.
6. Singing In the Rain (1952)
This film is a dose of sunshine and who couldn’t use that now and again? Gene Kelly stars in this classic Hollywood musical and I really don’t think anyone has ever been cuter on screen. Classic songs such as “Good Morning, Good Morning” and, of course, “Singing In the Rain” keep you tapping your feet while watching. There’s also an amazing dance number with the lovely Cyd Charisse. Mandatory viewing for any movie lover!
5. The Sound of Music (1965)
When you think “musical”, you probably think of this classic escapist film. The Von Trapp Family sing their way into your heart in this Rodgers and Hammerstein stunner. Say what you will about this movie being corny or sugar-coated, but I’ll bet you’ve hummed “My Favorite Things” a couple of times.
4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
“Let’s do the time warp again!” Oh, man, this cult-classic delivers the goods. Even if you’ve never been to an audience participation viewing of this flick, you’ll still appreciate the spunky dance numbers, the wonderful characters and the full-on camp that this movie bombards you with. It’s like the anti-Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Watch this and The Sound of Music back to back. Tim Curry vs. Julie Andrews smack down! Yes!
3. Guys and Dolls (1955)
Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra (with Stubby Kaye as Nicely Nicely Johnson!) bring the Broadway show to the screen in a big way. Great songs you’ll recognize like “Luck Be A Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” combine with a cute, heartwarming plot to ensure you’ll be smitten. Vivian Blaine turns in an amazing performance as Miss Adelaide.
2. Annie (1982)
Fun, lighthearted version of the Broadway show with great performances by Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan and Tim Curry as her brother Rooster. The kids are pretty darn cute too. Yes, this film is cheese-tastic, but it also has a lot of heart. It doesn’t hurt if you grew up in the ’80s but even if you didn’t, give Annie a chance to win you over. Yes, there’s that “Tommorrow” song, but there’s also the orphan’s “Hard Knock Life” and Miss Hannigan’s drunken “Little Girls” to make you smile.
1. Grease (1978)
Grease is not just another movie musical, but the anthem of a generation. How ironic is it that the theme song of Gen X is from a movie set in the 50′s? Don’t believe me? Have you been to a karaoke bar in the last 10 years without hearing “Summer Lovin’”? John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John star as Danny and Sandy, respectively, and provide valuable life lessons. Now we know you should always change yourself for a man, just like Sandy did when she got the perm and took up smoking for Danny. Thanks Grease! Mwah!