My Favourite Movie Musicals
After a fabulous night with the In The Heights movie, I got to thinking about how amazing movie musicals are, and how they’ve been needed since the theatre shutdown.
Professional recordings of Broadway shows are slowly becoming more available, which is amazing! But before that, and even now, movie musicals are one of the best ways to make musical theatre available to everyone!
In a year without live, in person theatre, and in a very scary world, movie musicals have provided a safe haven and a source of comfort.
So, I wanted to share ten of my favourites with you!
In The Heights
In The Heights is a film adaptation of the stage musical of the same name by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The all-star cast includes Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, and Daphne Rubin-Vega.
The story captures three days in the life of the tightly knit community of Washington Heights, New York. Each inhabitant’s story is linked tightly to their dreams, and is told through Usnavi, owner of the local bodega.
Mamma Mia is a film adaptation of the stage musical of the same name by playwright Catherine Johnson, based on and featuring the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.
The movie stars Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried as mother-daughter duo Donna and Sophie, with Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth as men from Donna’s past. Christine Baranski and Julie Walters round out this cast of Hollywood stars.
Donna Sheridan is hard at work preparing for her daughter Sophie’s upcoming wedding. What she doesn’t know is that Sophie has invited the three men who could possibly be her father to the event, hoping to finally meet her father and have him walk her down the aisle.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This musical is a film adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show.
The cult classic film stars Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostowick, and features stars of the stage show Tim Curry, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, and MeatLoaf (yes, that MeatLoaf), and Richard O’Brien himself.
Newly engaged sweethearts Brad and Janet start off on a trip to visit their old friend and mentor Dr. Everett Scott. When their car breaks down during a thunderstorm, they seek shelter at a castle belonging to the mysterious Dr. Frank N Furter. They soon discover that the doctor is celebrating his newest project, that he has made a man (with blond hair and a tan), who is to be born that very night - and Brad and Janet find themselves trapped to bear witness to the once in a lifetime event.
Moulin Rouge is a jukebox musical made for the screen, co-written by director Baz Luhrmann and features mainly pop music hits such as Lady Marmalade, Roxanne, and Your Song.
The film stars Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman as the show’s star-crossed lovers.
Christian, a British writer moves to Paris at the turn of the century, and falls head over heels for Satine, a courtesan and nightclub singer at the Moulin Rouge. He coaxes her into a relationship, only to find out that she has been promised to the wealthy Duke as payment for his investment in an upcoming show. The two hide their secret affair from the Duke, while Satine hides a deadly secret from both men in her life.
A Chorus Line
This film is an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name written by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante, with songs by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban.
The movie has a talented cast, featuring Michael Douglas, Alyson Reed, Terrence Mann, Nicole Fosse and Vicki Frederick.
A Chorus Line takes place at an audition for a new Broadway musical. After the first round of cuts, Zach, the director and choreographer, asks the remaining dancers to share their own stories. The dancers bare their souls for a chance to be cast in the show, presenting themselves as individuals and shattering the illusion of an identical chorus.
The Sound Of Music
The Sound of Music is based on the beloved stage show with classic tunes from Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II, with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse.
The film stars the legendary pairing of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
This musical is based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp, and tells the real-life story of the Von Trapp family. When Maria is deliberating on whether or not to become a nun, she accepts a position as governess to the large Von Trapp family. She falls in love with the seven children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain Von Trapp. Shortly after their marriage, the Captain is ordered to join the German Navy, but opposes the Nazis, leading the family to flee their home in Austria.
This movie is based on the legendary musical of the same name by Jonathan Larson.
For Rent, the film cast is actually made up of most of the principal cast of the stage musical, including Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, and Taye Diggs. Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms joined the Broadway cast for the movie.
This rock opera is a retelling of La Boheme, and documents a year in the life of a group of artists living in New York City at the height of the AIDS crisis.
The Producers (2005)
This musical is a film adaptation of a musical which was adapted from a film. Make sense? The musical, and films, were written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan.
The movie stars Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman, Gary Beach, and Robert Bart.
Once-legendary producer Max Bialystock is on a losing streak… Until he’s visited by nervous accountant Leo Bloom, who unwittingly mentions that producers could make more money off of a flop than a hit. The two set off to find the most offensive musical they can, the worst director in town, and a cast of horrific actors.
My Fair Lady
This movie adaptation is another one which ranks among the Hollywood classics, based on the stage musical of the same name by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.
This legendary film stars Rex Harrison in the role he originated onstage, and Audrey Hepburn.
My Fair Lady is based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The story follows Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who is taken under the wing of Henry Higgins, a language professor, who teaches her how to be a proper lady with the goal of passing her off to win a bet.
Grease is one of the most well-known movie musicals of all time, and is based on the stage show of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.
This classic movie stars Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conway, and Frankie Avalon.
After a whirlwind summer romance, good-girl Sandy and greaser Danny find themselves in the same school when Sandy transfers. The 1950s highschool cliques quickly force the two apart by their apparent differences, despite how much they care for each other.
Of course, this is a small list of my movie musical collection. I’ll probably have to make this a two-parter, but this seems like a good place to sign off!
What’s your favourite movie musical?