15 Best Musical Movies of All Time

POSTED BY Natasah Carim, UPDATED ON July 4th, 2022

Best Musical Movies of All Time

A musical film full of sing-alongs and energetic dance numbers is just the thing to keep you warm and snug when you’re feeling blue. Here we take a look at the best musical movies of all time that provide fans with spectacular duets and jazz hands:

 

 

 

15. Sing Street (2016)

Sing Street 2016

 

 

Directed by the popular Irish director John Carney, Sing Street features the story of a teenage boy that finds refuge from tense relationships and a hostile school environment in his pop music band. The film is set in Dublin during the 80s recession and accurately portrays the struggles of the time.

With great performances by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Aidan Gillen and brilliant music by Gary Clark, the film was able to impress critics and audiences alike. Along with box office success, the film also won several nominations including a Golden Globe Awards nomination.

 

14. Les Misérables (2012)

Les Miserables 2012

Set in the 1800s, this gushy French musical is likely to leave you misty-eyed. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables is the story of reformed criminal Jean Valjean, who becomes guardian to orphaned Cosette after she loses her mother.

The epic musical is layered with intricate themes, songs, and notes that connect the stories of each of the characters together. The Les Misérables ensemble includes A-listers Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, and Amanda Seyfried.

 

13. Hairspray (2007)

Hairspray 2007

Starring John Travolta, Nikki Blonsky, and Queen Latifah amongst a completely star-studded cast, Hairspray is a feel-good comedy musical. The movie revolves around a 1960s teenager who loves to dance, ultimately hitting gold when she lands a spot on her favorite TV show.

However, as this new role turns her into a bit of a celebrity, she realizes the lack of inclusivity in casting and tries to use her newfound fame to do something about the problem. Hairspray hits all the right notes and will have you singing along to its infectious soundtrack.

 

12. Chicago (2002)

Chicago 2002

Both Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart are great examples of unforgettable, strong female characters throughout the history of Broadway theatre.

In Chicago, the movie adaptation, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Renee Zellweger star as the prison rivals, putting on a pure spectacle for audiences. Infused with lots of razzle-dazzle, humor, and depth, Chicago also features a fiery performance by Richard Gere.

 

11. Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Moulin Rouge 2001

A historical adventure to early 19th century Bohemian Paris, Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of this musical reimagines beloved songs by modern artists including The Police and Elton John. Moulin Rouge! is the love story of a young, beautiful courtesan played by Nicole Kidman, who falls for a budding writer, Ewan McGregor.

A love-or-hate experience, Moulin Rouge! is stylish, and passionate and adds its own dramatic flair to the show.

 

10. La La Land (2016)

La La Land 2016

Simple yet heart-warming, La La Land is often dubbed the “modern musical.” The LA story follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Watson) and jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they try to land their big break in the world of showbiz.

With vocals by John Legend, La La Land highlights the disposition between ambition and romance, relying on thrilling musical climaxes to portray emotions. The variety of styles and elaborate choreography routines, combined with powerful old-school music, is bound to leave you enchanted.

 

9. My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady 1964

My Fair Lady was an all-rounder success, winning the hearts of both audiences and critics. It’s no surprise the musical went on to win eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Music.

With memorable performances by Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, George Cukor’s elegant adaptation of the classic stage play reaches new heights in the world of boy meets girl stories.  

 

8. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Mamma Mia 2008

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of ABBA, Mamma Mia! and its sequel are a must-see that takes you on a magical escape to Greece. The lighthearted jukebox musicals unravel the stories of three generations of Sheridan women and their relationships with their mothers.

Brimming with fluffiness, fun, and stellar performances by Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily James, Cher’s surprise appearance pulls the entire story together.

 

7. A Star is Born (2018)

A Star is Born 2018

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga co-wrote, directed, and starred in the fourth remake of the hit 1937 film. A Star is Born chronicles the relationship between an alcoholic musician and a younger, budding singer, featuring a performance by the lead stars that will leave you broken-hearted.

Despite being more serious than other musicals on this list, A Star is Born is a great choice with an unforgettable soundtrack.

 

6. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975

Known as one of the greatest cult musicals of all time, the Rocky Horror Picture Show still inspires theatrical performances worldwide. The movie recreates the chilling scenes from Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s haunted mansion as an erratic couple, Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), get stranded there due to a storm.

A movie with witty dialogue and unforgettable performances, the Rocky Horror Picture Show is a social phenomenon.

 

5. Dreamgirls (2006)

Dreamgirls 2006

The electrifying musical numbers and dazzling characters add depth to Dreamgirls‘ simple plot. Inspired by the history of The Supremes and Motown, the movie follows a girl group called the Dreams and their conniving record producer.

The musical features singer Beyonce Knowles and actors Jamie Foxx, Anika Noni Rose, and Eddie Murphy. Dream Girls is so much more than just the film that launched Jennifer Hudson to global stardom.

 

4. Annie (1982)

Annie 1982

Annie is a musical set during the 1933’s Great Depression in New York City. Starring Aileen Quinn as Annie, the life of a little orphan girl is about to change forever when she is taken in by the richest billionaire in America, Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney). 

You’re sure to be reminded that “the sun will come out tomorrow” and “you’re never fully dressed without a smile.”

 

3. Grease (1978)

Grease 1978

A tribute to the timeless bond of first love, Grease is a classic that will always be remembered for its flashy wardrobe, phenomenal cast, and mesmerizing songs. Recently, the musical made a comeback due to conspiracy theories.

However, the movie remains a favorite. Starring John Travolta as Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson as his dream girl, Grease is an epitome of 50’s glam, offering audiences the best of all things musical – especially unforgettable songs and dance numbers. 

 

2. Enchanted (2007)

Enchanted 2007

A blend of homage and satire, Enchanted is a modern-day fairytale. When Andalasia’s princess Giselle is thrust from her animated life into the realms of New York City, chaos erupts. This creative reinterpretation of classic fairy tales can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.

Enchanted features a clever script, well-executed animations, and noteworthy performances by Amy Adams, James Marsden, and Patrick Dempsey. 

 

1. The Sound of Music (1965)

The Sound of Music 1965

One of the most iconic and popular musicals to date, The Sound of Music enthralled audiences. For many years, the Von Trapp family spend an ideal life in the Austrian countryside with their wholesome governess, Julie Andrews. However, not everything goes as planned, and their lives are changed forever as war breaks out in Europe.

The Sound of Music, with its vintage tunes and infectious charm, will win over even the most cynical of audiences.

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions

  • West Side Story (1961)
  • In the Heights (2021)
  • The Muppets (2011)

Did we miss any worthy title that should have been a part of our list of the best musical movies of all time? Let us know in the comments below!


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