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Best Movie Musicals

15. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
(1999)


Breaking the mould of its tamer musical cousins, South Park’s debut on the big screen is an all singing, all dancing extravaganza of epic proportions continuing the dirty, controversial nature of the television show into the musical genre. There are 146 F-words in the film, which also gets bonus points for having a penis joke in the title. Fun fact: the song “Blame Canada” was actually nominated for an Academy Award.

Songs: “It’s Easy, MMMKay”, “Blame Canada”, “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”, “Good Love”

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Warning: Video NSFW



14. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
(1971)


Here’s an Oscar-nominated crowd favourite they just love replaying each Christmas on TV. The adventures of Willly Wonka, Charlie and friends has since been remade by Tim Burton but it’s hard to beat this timeless classic and this one really never gets old.

Songs: “The Candy Man Can”, “(I’ve Got A) Golden Ticket”, “Pure Imagination”, “Oompa Loompa”

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13. Dreamgirls
(2006)


Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, Dreamgirls is the most expensive film to feature an all African American starring cast, costing $80 million. Starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, the film won three Golden Globes and two Oscars and launched the professional acting/singing career of Jennifer Hudson.

Songs: “Love You I Do”, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”, “Listen”, “One Night Only”

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12. Beauty and the Beast
(1991)


Still the only traditionally animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast exemplifies the art of the animated musical. Beloved by children and adults alike, this film has spawned television series and a Broadway stage adaptation that has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide.

Songs: “Be Our Guest”, “Something There”, “Beauty and The Beast”

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11. West Side Story
(1961)


Imagine the classic story of Romeo and Juliet retold as a New York gang war. Sounds like it shouldn’t work but West Side Story does on so many levels. A satisfying pairing of beautiful music and incredible dance scenes, this is a film that will live on as one of Hollywood’s greatest ever works.

Songs: “I Feel Pretty”, “Maria”, “America”, “Tonight”

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10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
(1975)


Richard O’Brien’s rock musical has been playing in limited release at theatres around the world ever since it first came out in 1975. The film has become a cult hit and is one of the most well known midnight movies of all time. Though initially a box office flop the continuous run shows that audiences can’t get enough of Janet, Brad, Frank-N-Furter and Riff Raff.

Songs: “Time Warp”, “Sweet Transvestite”, “Dammit Janet”, “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me”

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9. Grease
(1978)


Who hasn’t seen Grease? This is the film that turned fresh-faced actors John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John into global entertainment icons. Here’s a musical that has been repeated on television endlessly but try as you might you can’t resist singing along to such catchy songs. Bonus points for telling little girls everywhere the only way to get the man is to dress in leather and smoke.

Songs: “Summer Nights”, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “Greased Lightning”, “You’re the One That I Want”

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8. Mary Poppins
(1964)


Julie Andrews takes centre stage in her Oscar-winning movie debut; the Disney musical Mary Poppins. This English nanny can sing, goes out with Dick Van Dyke, gives you sugar when you’re sick and is MAGIC! When the wind blew this into cinemas it created a sensation and went on to become the number one movie of 1965 and still to this day holds an incredible 100% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Bonus: The stage version is coming to Auckland this October.

Songs: “A Spoonful of Sugar”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “Feed the Birds”

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7. The Wizard of Oz
(1939)


Judy Garland, the epitome of Hollywood class and glamour, stars in this 1930s classic adventure to another world. A strong central cast and interesting story are elevated by the exciting and memorable songs, as well as a truly frightening villian in the Wicked Witch of the West.

Songs: “Over the Rainbow”, “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, “The Merry Old Land of Oz”, “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead”

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6. Hairspray
(2007)


Director Adam Shankman’s choreography background served him well as Hairspray is a high energy jaunt through the sixties playing homage to the era through irresistible musical numbers and some seriously show-stopping set pieces. Based on the Broadway musical, which was itself based on the 1988 John Waters comedy film of the same name, Hairspray featured an impressive cast with John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah and Zac Efron taking part.

Songs: “Good Morning Baltimore”, “Welcome to the ‘60s”, “Run and Tell That”, “You Can’t Stop the Beat”

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5. The Lion King
(1994)


Considered by many as one of the best Disney animated musicals this tale of a young lion cub tricked into thinking he’s responsible for the death of his father, the King of the Pridelands, features a sinister storyline punctuated by energetic musical numbers. When young Simba is finally convinced to return to his homelands to retake the throne from his evil uncle he brings with him a lush new start and completes the “Circle of Life”. The Broadway adaptation of the film won six Tony awards and has become one of the longest-running shows in history as well as the highest grossing Broadway show of all time.

Songs: “Circle of Life”, “Hakuna Matata”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”

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4. Moulin Rouge!
(2001)


This one’s a little different in that it’s an original story not based on a Broadway musical, and the songs are all existing tracks from popular music used in the film to give them a new meaning. From director Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge! stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor and is at once flashy, indulgent and dark.

Songs: “Your Song”, “Like a Virgin”, “Elephant Love Medley”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

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3. The Sound of Music
(1965)


Here is a film that has been shown on television repeatedly for as long as television has been around yet is still infinitely enjoyable. Based on the Broadway musical with songs written by the legendary duo Rodgers and Hemmerstein, the film is the 3rd highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation. The film was so popular when it first came out it ran in theatres for several years.

Songs: “Maria”, “My Favorite Things”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”, “Edelweiss”

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2. Chicago
(2002)


Chicago continued the recent trend of critically acclaimed movie adaptations of Broadway musicals. Starring Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the star power was on high in this story about the fight for fame. The film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture in addition to five other awards.

Songs: “All That Jazz”, “Roxie”, “Cell Block Tango”, “Razzle Dazzle”

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1. Singin’ In The Rain
(1952)


This musical starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds was only a modest hit when it was first released but has since developed a reputation as one of the greatest musicals ever made. Singin’ In The Rain takes a lighthearted look at Hollywood’s transition from silent films to “talkies.” It is the perfect mix of catchy songs, lovable characters, expert choreography, all set in a romantic bygone time of glamourous Hollywood.

Songs: “All I Do Is Dream of You”, “Make ‘Em Laugh”, “You Were Meant for Me”, “Singin’ in the Rain”

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Content updated: 29/07/2014 06:26

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