Movie Musicals

musical (noun): a stage, television or film production utilizing popular-style songs – dialogue optional – to either tell a story (book musicals) or showcase the talents of the writers and/or performers (revues).

The best musicals have three essential qualities –

Brains – intelligence and style

Heart – genuine and believable emotion

Courage – the guts to do something creative and exciting.

“What is a Musical?” by John Kenrick

The 1930s through the 1960s were considered the “Golden Age” of movie musicals.  With the advancement of film technology, Hollywood brought the thrill of the theater to the big screen complete with well-known songs, elaborate dances, lavish sets, and brilliant stars such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland. During a time of financial and political instability, movie musicals revived hope and optimism amongst the American public.

  • 42nd Street
  • Swing Time
  • Babes In Arms
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Babes In Toyland
  • Singin’ In The Rain
My favorite movie musical is definitely “Singing in the Rain.” It’s the all time classic musical with fantastic dance routines, costumes and songs. With a mix of comedy and amour, it is the perfect date film. Gene Kelly’s masculine perfection and Debbie Reyonlds’ tough femininity work in perfect sync. You can sing along, cry along and laugh along! – Kayla Janssen (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • The Band Wagon
  • Brigadoon
  • Meet Me In St. Louis
  • The King And I
  • Stormy Weather
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Easter Parade
  • Anything Goes
  • White Christmas
  • Gigi
  • Carousel
  • Pal Joey
  • Oklahoma!
  • South Pacific
  • Damn Yankees
  • The Pajama Game
  • Show Boat
  • An American In Paris
I have many favorites – but I love “An American in Paris!”  – Megan Shuffle (BDC Groups Director)
  • Porgy and Bess
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Top Hat
  • On the Town
  • Guys and Dolls

The 1960s witnessed more direct restagings of Broadway musicals from stage to screen.

  • Mary Poppins
  • Oklahoma!
  • Sweet Charity
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Kismet
  • Camelot
  • West Side Story
West Side Story… it was one of the first move musicals I ever saw and I remember saying to myself “It is okay to be a guy and dance. They are doing it.” I remember being a kid and anytime I was in a parking garage, I would start doing my version of COOL. I would get some interesting looks. – Ricky Hinds (BDC Theater teacher, Associate Director of “Newsies” on Broadway)
  • The Sound of Music
  • My Fair Lady
  • Funny Girl
  • The Music Man
  • Gypsy
  • Hello Dolly
  • Bye Bye Birdie
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
I love “Thoroughly Modern Millie!”  It is the most unappreciated, underrated movie musical of all time!  It’s hilarious, quirky, and inspiring with a dynamite cast of Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing, and James Fox. – Becky Stout (BDC student)
  • Oliver
  • How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

The 1970s movie musicals, however, were not the joyous and idyllic films of the Golden Age.  Rather, filmmakers focused on rock n’ roll and stark realism that was influenced by the hippie movement, the Vietnam and Cold Wars, and American individualism.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Grease
Grease! I’ve watched that movie so many times! The music is catchy, and stays in your head. The dancing is energetic and vibrant! Just a great movie! – Nikki Croker (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
  • Godspell
  • Fiddler On The Roof
  • Hair
  • Cabaret
  • All That Jazz
I love “All That Jazz.”  It’s essentially a sort of autobiography of Bob Fosse and the dancing just can’t be beat.  The story is so raw and real – it really illustrates the up’s and down’s of “showbusiness.” – Mary Callahan (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Mame
  • Tommy
  • The Wiz

The 1980s/1990s attempted to boost the movie musical genre with the generous help of financial backers.

  • Xanadu
  • Annie
  • Victor, Victoria
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  • Fame
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Evita
  • Flashdance
  • Dirty Dancing
  • A Chorus Line

The Disney animated-musicals also thrived during the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Pocahontas
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Aladdin
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Lion King
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Since 2000, movie musicals have continued to rise in popularity, with stage to screen adaptations, remakes, animated films, and brand new shows busting out all over.

  • Rock of Ages
“Rock of Ages!” – because I am obsessed with their styling/outfits and the music… I love the 80s and that was my all time favorite musical to watch!  Plus Russell Brand is in it…which basically sells it! – Kimberly Hamilton (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Hairspray
“Hairspray” was first a movie, then a musical, then a movie again!  It’s the quintessential movie musical! I love the magnetic energy of the film.  The story line is fun with such a wonderful underlying theme.  I want to jump up and “pony” every time I watch the movie…and I do!- Lizz Picini (BDC Assistant Groups Director)
  • Footloose
  • Les Miserables
  • RENT
  • Fame
  • Dreamgirls
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Chicago
“Chicago!”  Everything about the movie is just brilliant.  It is so different from the stage version, yet so good in its own way.  The lighting, costumes, camera movement, and cast are amazing! – Molly Day (Professional Semester S’12)
  • Moulin Rouge

“Moulin Rouge” is my all-time favorite movie musical. The combination of genius cinematography, a fatally twisted love story with demonic undertones, and a new spin on songs we know and love make it a “Spectacular, Spectacular” film. – Carie Jurcak (BDC Educational Programs Student Advisor)

  • Enchanted
  • Phantom of the Opera
My favorite modern musical is “Phantom” because it really communicates the depth behind each of the characters’ emotions and motives.  And the cinematography is gorgeous! – Lily Lewis (Summer Intern ’12)
  • Fame
  • The Producers
  • Sweeney Todd
I liked Sweeney Todd! Music was incredible. I could tell they really took it seriously. Orchestrations are PRICELESS. – Michael Petrowski (ISVP ’11)
  • Across the Universe
  • Burlesque
  • Sparkle
  • High School Musical

While Broadway will always remain the pinnacle of live musical theater, film has brought the joy of the theater to audiences all over the world.

Here are the TOP 10 movie musicals of all time!

  1. Singin’ in the Rain
  2. The Wizard of Oz
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. The Music Man
  5. West Side Story
  6. My Fair Lady
  7. Cabaret
  8. Meet Me in St. Louis
  9. The King and I
  10. An American in Paris
Advertisements