Music plays a major role in making movies memorable, and big screen musicals go even further in their use of tone and melody to enrapture audiences.
Of course not all movie musicals are classics, so if you want to avoid the high profile duds and instead dine only on the finest cuts of cinematic splendour, here are just a few options to add to your watch list.
A huge commercial hit upon its original release back in 1965, this classic musical has continued to delight subsequent generations of viewers with its superb numbers and stellar performances.
The events of the Second World War have inspired countless creative endeavours, from movies and stage plays to games found on Casumo Casino, and the Sound of Music is arguably the pinnacle of its genre for both the quality of its songs and its emotional core.
Dripping with 80s glam and rammed with tracks that have plenty of personality, A Chorus Line might seem like something of a time capsule to modern audiences, but it still manages to offer a lot to enjoy regardless of its era-defining nature.
This is also a movie musical that specifically targets musical fans, with its plot focusing on the plight of wannabes auditioning to be in a Broadway show helmed by a hard-nosed director played by Michael Douglas. While it might miss out on all the attention heaped upon Fame, it is arguably the superior slice of aspirational action from that decade.
On paper, the idea of a musical exclusively starring child actors who lip sync to tracks performed by adults while lampooning prohibition era America with cream pies used in place of Tommy guns sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Yet somehow with Bugsy Malone, this mad mishmash of ideas comes together to create one of the most relentlessly entertaining musical experiences ever conceived.
While the performances are mostly well judged and charming, it is the strength of the songs which really sells Bugsy Malone. From the uplifting ‘You Give A Little Love’ to the mournful ‘Tomorrow’, every emotion is encompassed in the course of the movie and it remains a cult hit to this day.
The fact that Julie Andrews appears in two films on this list is no coincidence; her credentials as one of the best musical movie performers in history are unquestionable and this family-friendly Disney flick has been wowing viewers ever since it hit cinemas just a year before The Sound of Music.
Like the best musicals, the songs from Mary Poppins have transcended the film itself and entered the canon of pop culture as independent touchstones. Whether the same fondness for the numbers written for the 2018 reboot will endure in the same way remains to be seen.
With its rock and roll-inspired soundtrack and its exaggerated period setting, Grease is still adored by millions of fans, even if many were not even alive at the time the film first emerged in 1978.
Perhaps the strangest thing to consider about Grease is that it is set just 19 years before its cinematic release; the equivalent of a musical releasing today which focuses on youth culture of the early 2000s. Perhaps the pace of cultural change was swifter back then, or perhaps the rise of digital technology has made it easier to document and revisit the recent past in the 21st century, meaning people are less interested in seeing it reflected back at them.
In one sense, Moulin Rouge is not a true musical, given that most of its songs are merely covers of existing hits, smashed together and rearranged to suit the frenetic energy that is familiar to any frequent viewers of director Baz Luhrmann’s work. In another, it manages to become more than the sum of its parts thanks to its preposterous, over-the-top style and exaggerated performances from its stars.
As the only post-Millennium movie musical on this list, it also benefits from all of the technical trickery and gloss that evolved to make big budget extravaganzas look truly spectacular and replicate the live experience on the silver screen. Not to everyone’s tastes, but undeniably important and influential.
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