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03 August 2011

Top 11 Greatest Musical Films

Musicals Sweet Musicals; Instead of the usual top 10 list, I have decided to have a top 11 list. Musicals are great and I cannot see why people have a problem with them. They can be joyful, sad, romantic, upbeat and many other emotions other feature films achieve. They are certainly not all the same for one thing and several I have seen stand unique mostly. You put say, The Wizard of Oz and compare it to Sweeney Todd, and see the tremendous differences they have. Musicals are brilliant and always capture me because I love dance routines, songs with catchy lyrics and a catchy beat and all that jazz. Enjoy reading my top 11 musicals list!

Adapted from Richard O’ Brian’s 1973 Broadway show comes a hilarious, wild and fun b-movie classic, and one of the last true b-movies. ‘Rocky Horror’ has gained it’s cult status since it’s 1975 release because of it’s corny dialogue and acting which is what makes this film what it is. The film also features a young Susan Sarandon and even Tim Curry in tights, a corset and high-heels. The songs are undeniably catchy and the characters are good wacky fun.

Filled with great emotion and a grand heartbreak tragedy A Star is Born is another one of the great classic musicals. Starring Judy Garland in one of her finest performances of her career brings such emotion to the screen. Garland plays a girl who goes from nothing to star as we follow her career filled with it's ups and downs. George Cukor's musical drama, the second version of Star Is Born, is a classic, an emotionally touching tale in which Judy Garland renders her most impressive performance as dramatic actress. This drama music will not be forgotten for it’s marvellous drama efforts, terrific acting and grand story.

All That Jazz tells the story of an exhausted director/choreographer who is frantically working on his new Broadway show while editing a film. Without a daily dose of Vivaldi, Visine, Alka-Seltzer, Dexedrine and sex, he would not have the energy to keep up the biggest show of them all — his life. We see his completely dysfunctional life through this psychological musical drama that is thoroughly entertaining.

Sweeny Todd is most certainly a musical of a different breed. You compare this to musicals like Easter Parade, Hairspray (2007) and Grease and you’ll see the overwhelmingly surprising difference. Musicals are commonly happy, joyful and consist of musical numbers about love and happiness; whereas Sweeney Todd creates a chilling atmosphere along with the satirical songs of murder and revenge. Furthermore, there is no dancing here. So I give great merit for the film’s achievement of indifference with the common musical.


This film is exceptionally wonderful with award winning performances from Julie Andrews. This film has beautiful emotion as well as beautiful songs.
. It is most certainly happy for sure and I think that is the film’s nice buzz. It is a beautifully filmed and graciously crafted film. Seeing that first opening helicopter shot (which I might add is quite impressive, no CGI remember) was a beautiful intro and the film’s colour palette was warm and bright. Julie Andrews was a star and the story as a whole has a great warmth that only a classic could create.

This probably is the best adaption of Romeo & Juliet to hit the screen because of it’s solid characters, drama and plot. Stories of love and romance stretch back thousands of years and Romeo and Juliet is one of the pioneering ones that thousands of stories after it lent from it’s concept. I loved what Sondheim did with the lyrics and the songs felt very much unique, catchy and at times fun. I also loved the musical scores from Bernstein. The film went home taking 10 academy awards some of which being best picture, best original score and even best cinematography. One thing for sure is ‘West Side Story’ is a resonant musical with great dancing, singing and is overall beautiful.

6. Dancer in the Dark: 9/10 
The most unconventional musical I have ever seen definitely has to be on this list. 

As with Nightmare before Christmas, in musical perspective this is where the film stands. Despite it being one my most cherished films, it would be unfair to crown it at the top for that. The songs are wonderful and bright and this is a fair place for the film. The Wizard of Oz is charming, warm and exuebrant even after 70+ years. A masterpiece that will never be forgotten.

I know this is one of the highest rated, but in musical terms this is where it stands.Even its run time is 76 minutes, it’s one of those films that the characters have great quality and there is a lot to say about Burton’s world. Not many people will agree on this film being one of the best ever made, but it is certainly an animated wonder. It’s a film highly recommended to people of all ages, and leaves you with a smile and a feel good buzz at the end. It’s hard even sum this up in a few words, but it is warm, original and a delightful piece of work and every minute is enjoyable. Although I have given this such a high rating, I wouldn't call it my favourite musical of all time, but one of my favourite animated films because of it's artistically resonant style and beautiful story.

Legendary musical director Bob Fosse puts this film in great direction in a musical based in Berlin Germany 1931 an era you think is unlikely for a musical to take place. Starring Liza Minnelli who is stunningly talented and Michael York and let’s not forget the Master of Ceremonies Joel Grey in one of the greatest musicals of all time. With some remarkable musical numbers, outstanding acting the film is worthy of it’s cult status, and winning of 8 academy awards in 1972.

‘Chicago’ is a modern classic of a musical. It tells the tale of a minor chorus dancer who murders her love affair and winds up in prison. Soon with the help of Billy Flynn, the lawyer who has never lost a case, she becomes popular in the papers winning the society’s heart. Of course, the story is bigger than that, but that is brief way of putting it. It has award winning performances from Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones and even Richard Gere. Chicago is stylish, glamorous, (dare I say sexy) and wholesome in plot and character that has dark humour and has some of the greatest musical numbers you can witness. It is a must-see musical classic because of its clean edited brilliance and glorious story.

The casting was right, the cinematography was bright and the music was a real delight! Excuse my use of rhyming. The time zone of this musical masterpiece is of the time when cinema was making a conversion to sound. Hollywood, 1927: the silent-film romantic team of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is the toast of Tinseltown until their current motion picture is to become a sound picture.  On the strength of the plot alone, concocted by the matchless writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, ‘Singin' in the Rain’ is a delight. What was great about the story is its honesty and it really made me laugh. It is stylistic and songs are golden from previous MGM films so this film serves almost as the ultimate homage. It has some brilliant choreography and a terrific cast. This is Gene Kelly’s masterpiece. It is charming, funny, witty, and exuberant and is one of the most delightful musical film experiences you could ask for.


  1. No Mouli Rouge!(2001)?

  2. I have not yet seen it :)

  3. Have you seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg?

  4. No I haven't. I will check it out :)

  5. Just a heads up on the movie. It looks like it will be a happy, romantic kind of movie. It's not.

  6. I'm probably being too anal, but you've got some 9.5 rated movies higher on the list than some 10.0 rated movies. Are you making a distinction between movie vs. music?

  7. yes, I mentioned that in the descriptions of them, as musicals it is were they stand.



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