What Are the Best Movie Musicals?

10 Best Movie Musicals to Sing Along to!

From about 1980 to 2000, Hollywood mostly neglected movie musicals. Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film Moulin Rouge was a worldwide hit that gave the genre new life and showed that audiences will fill theaters seats if they're offered an entertaining musical. After the success of Moulin Rouge, director Rob Marshall brought the hit stage show Chicago to the big screen. Chicago won six Academy Awards and further promoting the resurgence of the genre.

Here's a selection of some of my personal recommendations for movie musical fans looking for something decent to watch on video/DVD:

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Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Singin' in the Rain

Considered by some to be the greatest movie musical ever made, Singin' in the Rain features spectacular choreography, uplifting songs, and incomparable acting from stars Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor. Connor's backflip after running up a wall is unquestionably one of the most creative dance movements in movie history.

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Guys and Dolls (1955)

Guys and Dolls

Legends Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra headline an outstanding cast in this 1955 classic musical about gangsters, gamblers, and the women who love them. One of the most memorable songs is "Luck Be a Lady," which became one of Sinatra's standards -- although Brando's character actually sings it in the film!

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West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story
United Artists

This movie musical transplanted the story of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to then modern-day New York City and includes memorable songs like "Maria," "America," and "I Feel Pretty." West Side Story won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (shared by co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins).

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My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady
Warner Bros.

The winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, My Fair Lady stars Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in two of their finest roles. Adapted from the George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady's unforgettable soundtrack ("I Could Have Danced All Night," "Get Me to the Church on Time," "The Rain in Spain") combined with superb acting, help make it one of the best all-time movie musicals.

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The Sound of Music (1965)

The Sound of Music
20th Century Fox

A timeless classic starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the Sound of Music has continued to entertain audiences for generations with its memorable songs like "My Favorite Things" and "Do-Re-Mi." It won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Wise -- just four years after he shared the Best Director Oscar for another movie musical, 1962's West Side Story.

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Paint Your Wagon (1969)

Paint Your Wagon
Paramount Pictures

My husband insisted this one had to be on this list. Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin in a musical? It's too good to pass up. This enjoyable film features singing, drinking, gambling, and gold mining.

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Grease (1978)

Paramount Pictures

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta capture the 1950s era well, and the film's soundtrack is one of the most enjoyable movie soundtracks of any year or genre, including the title track, "Summer Nights," "You're the One that I Want" (which wasn't in the original stage musical), and "Greased Lightnin'."

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Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge
20th Century Fox

Unlike most of the other musicals on this list, Moulin Rouge didn't begin its life as a stage musical. Nevertheless, Moulin Rouge was one of the best films of 2001, and one of the best movie musicals to emerge in years. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor have amazing chemistry - and their vocal talents aren't too shabby, either.

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Chicago (2002)


won six Oscars and helped reinforce the fact that audiences will turn out for big screen musicals if they're given a quality product.

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Rent (2005)

Columbia Pictures

The Broadway hit made its way to the big screen in 2005 complete with many of the original members of the Broadway production. Despite the fact that it played to sold-out audiences for years, the film version failed to ignite audiences. But it's a fantastic musical that deserves attention, so pick it up on DVD if you haven't yet experienced it.