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The Top 12 Must-See Musical Movies for Every Fan

Introduction to Musical Movies

Musical movies are an essential genre of films that have been entertaining audiences for the past century. They are a perfect blend of music, dance, and storytelling that capture the essence of the human experience with emotions and abstract elements.

Music has become an integral part of our lives, and musical movies enable us to express our emotions.

Importance of Musical Genre in Showing Emotions and Abstract Elements

Through musical movies, filmmakers can transcend the boundaries of realistic storytelling and offer an imaginative place where anything can happen. Musical genres are unique in providing a platform where the characters and the audience can communicate with each other through music.

The characters in musical movies can showcase their emotions and experiences using music. Additionally, these movies provide a unique opportunity to explore abstract themes like love, life, and death.

Use of Music to Capture Life’s Emotions and Offer Clarity into Characters’ Experiences

Music has the power to convey emotions that words cannot. Directors use music to reflect the mood and tone of a particular scene.

For example, the use of sad music can evoke emotions of grief, whereas upbeat music can convey happiness or joy. The characters’ experiences in musical movies become more vivid and authentic when accompanied by the correct musical score.

The music helps to create a highly emotional and immersive environment for the viewer.

List of Top 20 Musical Movies of All Time

There are countless musical movies that have left an indelible mark on cinema history. Here are the top 20 musical movies of all time:


The Sound of Music (1965)

2. West Side Story (1961)


Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

4. Grease (1978)


Moulin Rouge! (2001)

6. Beauty and the Beast (2017)


Chicago (2002)

8. La La Land (2016)


Cabaret (1972)

10. Mary Poppins (1964)


The Wizard of Oz (1939)

12. My Fair Lady (1964)


Phantom of the Opera (2004)

14. Evita (1996)


The Lion King (1994)

16. Dreamgirls (2006)


Les Misrables (2012)

18. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)


Hairspray (2007)

20. Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021)


Musical movies are unique in the way they use music to convey emotions and themes that words cannot. The top 20 musical movies listed above have left an indelible mark on cinema history and continue to inspire generations of movie enthusiasts.

Regardless of your taste in music or stories, there is a musical movie out there that will speak to you on an emotional level.

3) Across the Universe

Across the Universe is a 2007 musical movie that offers a unique take on the music of the Beatles. The movie features a romantic plotline that portrays the events of the 1960s, including the Vietnam War protests, the countercultural revolution, and the civil rights movement.

Through its music and plot, the movie offers social commentary on the turbulent 60s, including themes on love, war, social injustices, and personal growth. The film follows Jude, a working-class Liverpool man who travels to the United States in hopes of finding his father.

Once there, he meets Lucy, who is passionate about the anti-war movement, and they fall in love. The couple’s story is interwoven with other storylines that explore the impact of war and inequality on various characters from diverse backgrounds.

The movie’s soundtrack features over 30 Beatles songs, including “All You Need Is Love,” “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.” The performances from the cast, including Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, and Joe Anderson, are exceptional, with each one bringing a unique perspective and voice to the music. The social commentary in Across the Universe explores the themes of the 1960s in a way that is both timely and relevant in contemporary times.

The film’s examination of issues of war and inequality are striking in their universality and underscore just how much there is still to be accomplished in terms of social justice.

4) Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is a timeless tale that has captured the hearts of generations. In 2017, the classic movie was remade as a live-action film and once again enchanted audiences.

While there were some changes made to the original plot, the film stayed true to the essence of the story, while also bringing some new elements to the table. One of the major differences between the original animated movie and the live-action remake is the cast.

Emma Watson portrays Belle. Her portrayal of Belle brings a new layer to the character, displaying strength and intelligence.

On the other hand, Dan Stevens as Beast is more convincing in bringing out the characters anger, aggression, and ultimately vulnerability. The music in Beauty and the Beast was one of the essential aspects of the original movie and remains central to the success of the remake.

The live-action version featured new songs, in addition to the original ones, written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice. The new songs added depth and character development to the story.

The live-action remake also featured stunning visuals and cinematography that brought the world of Beauty and the Beast to life. Through the use of special effects, the film created an immersive experience that made the viewers feel as if they had been transported into the storybook world of magic and enchantment.

The movie received a high rating of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, with positive reviews from both critics and audiences. Beauty and the Beast has become a beloved movie to watch again and again, regardless of the version you prefer.

5) The Muppets

The Muppets is a family-friendly musical comedy movie released in 2011. The movie follows the journey of Walter, a huge Muppets fan, and his brother Gary, and Garys girlfriend Mary, as they help the Muppets reunite and save their theater from being demolished.

The movie celebrates the Muppets’ classic songs, dance routines, and silly jokes, with the characters bringing laughter and joy to audiences of all ages. The movie features a host of memorable characters, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear, and Gonzo.

Each character has unique personalities, quirks, and talents that make them stand out from one another. The film also features cameo appearances from numerous celebrities, including Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, and Ken Jeong.

The Muppets have a nostalgic appeal that resonates with audiences who grew up watching their performances. The film caters to this sense of nostalgia by showcasing the classic songs that made the Muppets famous.

The movie was also a commercial success, grossing over $165 million worldwide. 6) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 musical movie directed by Tim Burton, based on the popular stage play by Stephen Sondheim.

The movie tells the story of Sweeney Todd, a barber who was unjustly sent to prison for 15 years and seeks revenge on those who wronged him. He meets Mrs.

Lovett, who runs a pie shop below his old apartment, and the two of them hatch a plan to get rid of the people Sweeney hates and turn them into pies. The themes of the movie are dark and mature.

The film deals with themes of revenge, violence, and death. Sweeney Todd is a complex character who is driven by revenge and a thirst for justice.

The film’s use of violence and gore is unrelenting, and the music contributes to the film’s macabre and suspenseful atmosphere. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Sweeney Todd is a tour de force.

He brings a depth and intensity to the character that makes him both terrifying and compelling. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, and the film won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a unique and unforgettable movie that stands out for its combination of dark themes, intense performances, and haunting music. The movie shows that musicals can be more than just saccharine performances but can delve into darker themes and leave an impact on the audience.

7) Tick Tick Boom

Tick, Tick… Boom! is a musical drama movie based on the 1990 off-Broadway musical of the same name by Jonathan Larson.

The film’s plot follows the story of Jon, a struggling composer who feels the pressure of turning thirty while fearing he has wasted his talents. The film explores themes of self-doubt, ambition, and creativity.

The film is directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is best known for creating and starring in the musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. The cast includes Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, and Robin de Jesus, who all gave fantastic performances in their roles.

The film received generally positive reviews, with an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and praise was given to Garfield’s portrayal of Larson. Tick, Tick…

Boom! is an insightful film that explores the creative process, ambition, and the fear of failure that many artists have experienced. The music of the film is fantastic, capturing the essence of Broadway-style musicals while also focusing on Larson’s introspective ballads.

8) The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is a movie musical that tells the story of P.T. Barnum, a visionary American showman who created the circus. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya.

It is a heartfelt, feel-good movie that touches on the themes of love, acceptance, and diversity. The movie features original tracks that were created by two of the most successful songwriters of the past decade, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the music for movies like La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen.

The music of the film showcases a variety of genres, including pop, rock, and musical theater. The Greatest Showman became a commercial success, grossing over $400 million worldwide.

The film’s success was fueled by its heartwarming story, catchy tunes, and stunning visuals. The movie celebrates diversity by showcasing performers from various backgrounds and a range of talents.

The financial success of The Greatest Showman is a testament to the universal appeal of musical movies. The film’s story and music continue to resonate with audiences of all ages, with its message of acceptance and inclusivity continuing to be an essential value in our society today.

9) In The Heights

In the Heights is a 2021 musical drama movie that takes place in the tight-knit community of Washington Heights in New York City. The movie tells the story of Usnavi, a bodega owner who dreams of a better life, and the people around him who all have their own aspirations.

The film explores themes of identity, gentrification, and the pursuit of the American Dream. The movie was directed by Jon M.

Chu and stars Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, and Olga Merediz in the lead roles. The cast’s performances were critically acclaimed, with particular praise given to Ramos for his portrayal of Usnavi.

The film received generally positive reviews and was commended for its music, choreography, and visuals. In The Heights is a movie that celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of inner-city communities.

The film’s themes, including identity, hope, and community, resonate with audiences worldwide. The movie showcases the power of music to bring people together, and the cast’s performances bring authenticity, warmth, and energy to the story.

10) Enchanted

Enchanted is a 2007 movie that mixes animation and live-action elements to tell a fairytale story. The movie portrays Giselle, a princess from the animated world of Andalasia, who is transported to the real world of New York City, where she meets cynical divorce lawyer Robert and falls in love.

The film pokes fun at typical Disney tropes while also reveling in them. The movie is a romantic-comedy musical that features catchy and memorable songs, including “That’s How You Know” and “True Love’s Kiss.” The film’s soundtrack received numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Enchanted is an exceptional homage to Disney movies of the past, featuring numerous Easter eggs and references to classic Disney movies like Snow White and Beauty and the Beast. The film is a unique blend of humor and romance that’s sure to bring a smile to viewers’ faces.

The movie’s success paved the way for Disney to release more live-action remakes of their classic movies. Enchanted is a unique gem that stands out as a charming and entertaining film, with an endearing storyline and unforgettable performances.

The film’s celebration of love and the power of happily ever after continues to make it a beloved classic.

11) Dream Girls

Dream Girls is a 2006 musical drama movie inspired by the rise of the Motown era in the 1960s. The movie follows the story of the Dreams, an all-female musical group, and their rise to fame.

The film was directed by Bill Condon and starred Beyonc Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, and Anika Noni Rose. The movie received widespread critical acclaim, with particular praise given to Jennifer Hudson’s performance as Effie White.

The film’s music, costume, and set design were also commended by critics. The plot of the movie follows the Dreams as they navigate the music industry, family struggles, and competition within the group.

The characters are all well-developed and relatable, and their stories ring true to real-life experiences. Overall, Dream Girls is a powerful and engaging film with amazing music and performances.

It manages to promote themes of ambition, loyalty, and the cost of fame while still entertaining audiences with its catchy tunes and impressive visuals.

12) Les Miserable

Les Miserable is a classic story that has been adapted into numerous films, plays, and musicals since its publication in 1862 by Victor Hugo. Set in 19th-century France, the story follows the lives of several characters, including ex-convict Jean Valjean, his nemesis Inspector Javert, and young orphan Cosette.

The story is centered on the theme of social justice, exploring the struggles of the poor and oppressed in society. The original novel was adapted into a musical in 1980, which became a worldwide phenomenon and is still being performed today.

The latest film adaptation of Les Miserable was released in 2021, directed by Ladj Lyto movie musicals:

Movie musicals have been around since the beginning of cinema, bringing together the best of both worlds: music and film. With a good musical, audiences can experience a story that connects emotionally and theatrically with uplifting songs, dances, and epic performances.

Popular examples of movie musicals include films like The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Wizard of Oz.

But what makes a good movie musical so powerful? For starters, the music.

Adding music to a plot or character can change the tone and mood of an entire movie. A song can create a sense of unity, a shared experience with the audience, even to communicate what the characters are feeling or expressing.

Importance of music in movie musicals:

Music is an essential aspect of a movie musical. It is what sets the tone for a scene, gives weight to a particular character, or evokes a particular emotion.

Most of the time, music is intentionally used to tell the story in a musical, with a combination of lyrics and melodies to flesh out a scene. In some cases, movies will even use music to convey plot twists or emotional truth in a significant way.

One great example of the heavy reliance on music in a movie musical is the critically acclaimed film Moulin Rouge. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the film tells the story of Christian, a struggling writer who falls in love with a courtesan named Satine in Paris’ Montmartre quartet at the turn of the 20th century.

The film is filled with music from various genres and utilizes popular songs from a range of eras. The music enhances the on-screen action without overwhelming the story.


The movie Grease is a classic movie musical that has garnered a massive following since its release in 1978. The movie stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as Danny and Sandy, two teenagers who fall in love over the summer.

After returning to school, Sandy finds that Danny is a different person around his friends, the T-Birds. The film follows their quest to get back together as they navigate the trials of high school social life.

The characters in Grease are an essential aspect of the movie. Danny Zuko, the leader of the T-Birds, is portrayed as a cool, leather-jacket-wearing bad boy.

Sandy, on the other hand, is the sweet and innocent girl who turns Danny’s life upside down. Besides the iconic duo, the supporting cast includes memorable characters like Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing, who is the leader of the Pink Ladies, and Kenickie, Danny’s best friend.

Critically, Grease was well-received and did well at the box office. It earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song and spawned a sequel and a Broadway musical.

However, critiques of Grease point out that some of the show’s themes, particularly those surrounding bullying and sexism, have not aged all that well.


Overall, movie musicals and Grease, in particular, possess massive cultural significance. The combination of iconic music and memorable characters make them beloved by audiences worldwide.

While some films may be subject to criticism for outdated themes, the ability to tell stories through music and dance will ensure they remain relevant to future generations. So put on some tunes, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show!

The Wizard of Oz:

The Wizard of Oz is a classic movie musical that has enchanted audiences since its release in 1939.

The film, directed by Victor Fleming, is based on the book by L. Frank Baum and follows a young girl named Dorothy, who is swept away from her Kansas home and into a magical land by a tornado.

After landing in the land of Oz, Dorothy embarks on a journey to find a way back home, meeting new friends like the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion along the way. The characters in The Wizard of Oz are among the movie’s most compelling aspects.

Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, is a strong-willed and determined young girl whose love for her family motivates her to find her way back home. The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion are exciting and humorous characters that bring an added layer of levity to the film.

The Wizard of Oz is also noteworthy for its impact on film history and culture. The film’s use of vibrant Technicolor sets and groundbreaking special effects has made it a landmark in the movie industry.

Its release coincided with the beginning of the Golden Age of Hollywood, which saw the production of many iconic films. Additionally, the film’s message of never giving up hope and the power of friendship continues to inspire and resonate with audiences today.

Singin’ in the Rain:

Singin’ in the Rain is a beloved movie musical that premiered in 1952 and is considered one of the best films in cinematic history. The film, directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, tells the story of Don Lockwood, a silent movie star that falls in love with aspiring actress Kathy Selden.

As talkies become popular in Hollywood, Lockwood, and his friend Cosmo Brown, played by Donald O’Connor, have to adjust to singing and dancing in sync with the new technology. The characters in Singin’ in the Rain are charming and witty.

Don Lockwood, played by Gene Kelly, is a suave and charming leading man with a heart of gold. Cosmo Brown, played by Donald O’Connor, is a hilarious sidekick who provides much of the film’s comedic relief.

Kathy Selden, portrayed by Debbie Reynolds, is a talented singer and dancer whose sweet personality is the perfect complement to Don’s more suave demeanor. The importance of dance and choreography is evident throughout Singin’ in the Rain.

The film has some of the most iconic dance sequences in cinema history, including Gene Kelly’s classic dance in the rain. The choreography is intricate, yet effortless, making the dance routines both entertaining and memorable.

The film’s use of music and dance as an integral part of the storytelling is what makes Singin’ in the Rain so memorable. In conclusion, The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain are two of the most iconic movie musicals in cinema history and have both left an indelible mark on film culture.

They feature timeless stories, iconic musical numbers, and unforgettable characters that have made them beloved by audiences for generations. Whether it’s the magic of Oz or the joy of singing and dancing in the rain, these movies are sure to continue captivating and entertaining audiences for many years to come.

Moulin Rouge:

Moulin Rouge is a critically acclaimed movie musical directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film tells the story of Christian, a young writer who falls in love with Satine, a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge, a famous Parisian nightclub.

The movie is known for its stunning visuals and use of pop songs from various eras as its soundtrack. The characters in Moulin Rouge are complex and alluring.

Satine, played by Nicole Kidman, is a beautiful but tragic courtesan who dreams of leaving the Moulin Rouge and achieving stardom. Christian, played by Ewan McGregor, is a romantic and idealistic writer who falls deeply in love with Satine.

Together, they make an unlikely but magnetic couple. The impact of the jukebox soundtrack in Moulin Rouge cannot be overstated.

By using pop songs and reimagining them to fit into a narrative context, the film creates a unique cinematic experience for the audience. The use of popular music also helped to increase the film’s appeal to a younger generation, making it a commercial success upon its release.

The soundtrack featured songs from David Bowie, Elton John, and Madonna and encourages audiences to sing along while watching the movie. Hairspray:

Hairspray is another classic movie musical that has become a fan favorite since its release in 1988.

The film, directed by John Waters, tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a teenager with big dreams of becoming a dancer on The Corny Collins Show, a popular TV dance program in the 1960s. The film’s themes of racial integration and self-acceptance have earned it a place in pop culture history.

The characters in Hairspray are both quirky and charming, bringing the movie to life. Tracy Turnblad, played by Ricki Lake, is a spunky and determined young girl who stands up for what she believes in.

Edna, played by Divine, and Wilbur Turnblad, played by Jerry Stiller, are Tracy’s loving and supportive parents, who provide both comedic relief and heartwarming moments. The success of the remake of Hairspray in 2007 renewed interest in the classic story and garnered critical acclaim.

The film, directed by Adam Shankman, featured an all-star cast, including Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, and John Travolta as Edna Turnblad. The remake was not only commercially successful but also received glowing reviews from critics, praising its upbeat tone and excellent performances.

In conclusion, both Moulin Rouge and Hairspray are classic movie musicals that have transcended their time periods. Whether it’s the reimagined jukebox soundtrack in Moulin Rouge or the themes of acceptance and self-love in Hairspray, these movies have left an indelible mark on film culture.

Their colorful characters, infectious music, and inspiring messages have captivated audiences for generations and will continue to do so in the future. La La Land:

La La Land is a contemporary movie musical directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

The film follows the love story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a jazz pianist, as they navigate their careers and romantic relationship in Los Angeles. The movie is a nod to classic Hollywood musicals, with stunning cinematography, elaborate musical numbers, and unforgettable original songs.

The characters in La La Land are charming and relatable. Mia, played by Emma Stone, is a struggling actress whose determination and resilience endears her to the audience.

Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, is a jazz musician whose love for music puts a strain on his relationship with Mia. Together, they make a compelling and dynamic couple that keeps the audience invested in their story.

La La Land was a critical and commercial success, earning over $440 million worldwide. The film was nominated for a record-tying 14 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Director for Damien Chazelle.

The movie captured the attention of the film industry and audiences worldwide, becoming a modern classic in the process. Rocketman:

Rocketman is an exceptional biopic musical that portrays the life of the iconic musician, Elton John.

The film, directed by Dexter Fletcher, follows the life of Reginald Dwight, Elton John’s real name, from his humble beginnings as a shy piano prodigy to his rise to stardom. The movie features some of Elton John’s most renowned songs, with Taron Egerton delivering a standout performance as Elton.

The characters in Rocketman are complex and compelling. Elton John is played by Taron Egerton, who delivers a sensational performance that captures the singer’s essence and unique persona.

Bernie Taupin, Elton’s longtime collaborator and best friend, is played by Jamie Bell and brings a new dimension to Elton’s story. The movie’s pacing, directing, and cinematography all work together exceptionally well to create an immersive experience for the audience.

Rocketman’s success as a biopic musical is due in large part to the film’s critical reception. The movie was praised for its emotional depth, impressive performances, and excellent musical numbers.

It was a commercial success, grossing over $195 million worldwide and receiving numerous accolades, including a Best Original Song win at the Golden Globes. In conclusion, both La La Land and Rocketman are exceptional movie musicals that have taken the genre in new and exciting directions.

Whether it’s the homage to classic Hollywood musicals in La La Land or the unique portrayal of a legendary musician in Rocketman, these films have left an indelible mark on film culture. Their critical and commercial success speaks to their lasting impact and their ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level.

All That Jazz:

All That Jazz is a semi-autobiographical movie musical directed by Bob Fosse and starring Roy Scheider. The film follows the life of Joe Gideon, a successful director and choreographer whose life spirals out of control as he balances his professional life with his personal problems.

The movie is known for its innovative editing, dark humor, and provocative content. The characters in All That Jazz are complex and deeply flawed.

Joe Gideon, played by Roy Scheider, is a troubled but talented director and choreographer who is dealing with a failing marriage and health problems. The film portrays his life candidly, without sugarcoating the consequences of his choices.

There is a supporting cast of characters that add depth and nuance to the story, including Jessica Lange, who plays Angelique, and Ann Reinking, who plays Kate Jagger. All That Jazz was critically acclaimed upon its release and received numerous accolades, including four Academy Award nominations and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film’s editing, direction, and music were hailed for their innovation and creativity. West Side Story:

West Side Story is a classic movie musical that was released in 1961 and won ten Academy Awards.

The film is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name and tells the story of two rival gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, in 1950s New York City. The movie is known for its elaborate dance sequences, powerful musical numbers, and compelling characters.

The characters in West Side Story are some of the most memorable in movie musical history. Tony and Maria, played by Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood, are the film’s central love story, while the gang leaders, Bernardo and Riff, played by George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn, bring a raw energy to the screen.

The movie’s themes of love, racism, and violence are still relevant today and have helped make it a timeless classic. The success of the remake of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg, has yet to be seen, as the film is set to release in December 2021.

However, early reviews of the film have praised its stunning visuals, fresh interpretation of the classic story, and excellent performances from its cast, which includes Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, and Ariana DeBose. In conclusion, All That Jazz and West Side Story are both iconic movie musicals that have left an indelible mark on film culture.

The characters, music, and themes explored in these films have resonated with audiences for decades, making them classics in every sense of the word. Whether it’s the dark humor and innovative editing in All That Jazz or the timeless love story and themes of social justice in West Side Story, these films will continue to captivate and inspire audiences for years to come.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg:

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a unique movie musical directed by Jacques Demy and released in 1964. The film tells the story of a young couple, Guy and Genevieve, who fall in love in Cherbourg, France.

However, their love is tested when Guy is sent off to fight in the Algerian War, and Genevieve learns that she is pregnant. The movie is known for its use of bright colors, simple sets, and the fact that the entire movie is sung.

The characters in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg are ordinary people trying to navigate the complexities of love and life. Genevieve, played by Catherine Deneuve, is a young woman who is in love with Guy, played by Nino Castelnuovo.

Guy is a simple mechanic who dreams of a better life, while Genevieve works in her mother’s umbrella shop. The supporting cast, including Guy’s aunt played by Danielle Darrie

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