26 movie musicals that will spark joy in your life
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Effron and Zendaya.
The Greatest Showman was released at the end of 2017 with a star-studded cast. The musical movie tells the story of Phineas Taylor Barnum, a showman thirsty for innovation and hungry for success. After opening a wax museum, P.T. looks for ideas to make his exhibition come alive and thus the Barnum’s Circus begins. On a mission for fame, he ends up gambling his circus, his wife and daughters and all his money – that’s when things become treacherous for Barnum. “Will he leave everything he’s got behind?”
Showstoppers include, The Greatest Show, Come Alive and This Is Me.
La La Land (2017)
Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
La La Land is the story of an aspiring actress and a jazz musician who fall in love while yearning to make it in Hollywood. From its big opening scene, where a giant cast of extras turn the hell that is gridlocked LA traffic into an all-singing, all-dancing musical event, the whole movie is pure joy.
Show stoppers include, City of Stars featuring Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone, and Start A Fire by John Legend.
Wizard of Oz (1939)
Starring Judy Garland and Frank Morgan
Judy Garland dazzled as Dorothy in the movie that introduced the world to Glorious Technicolor™ in a truly magnificent fashion. The Kansas farm girl, who blew into Oz on a cyclone, inadvertently took out the Wicked Witch of the West and earned herself a pair of ruby red slippers. With her devoted pals Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow they followed the yellow brick road, hung out with munchkins and sang all the way to the Land of Oz in a bid to get herself home. Show stoppers include Over the Rainbow & We’re off to see the Wizard
Singin’ In the Rain (1952)
Starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds
The transition from silent movies to ‘talkies’ is the backbone of this all-singing, all-dancing take on the golden age of Hollywood. Featuring one of cinema’s most iconic scenes, Gene swings around lamp posts in a downpour, twirling his umbrella, with the rain only serving as a muse for one hell of a tap dance. We’re gonna say it… ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to!’ Show stopper – Singin in the Rain of course.
Guys And Dolls (1955)
Starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra
We can’t help but feel this uber-catchy romp through a downtown New York, inhabited by gamblers, gangsters, swindlers, hoodlums, dancing girls and one pious – yet beautiful – Salvation Army leader desperate to save everyone’s souls, is a little overlooked today. Brando’s turn as the dashing, dastardly and secretly romantic Sky Masterson is unlike anything you’ll have seen from him before – and Sinatra’s on pretty tuneful form, too. Show stopper – Luck Be A Lady (which went on to become a huge hit for Sinatra – despite sung by Brando in the film)
West Side Story (1961)
Starring Natalie Wood and Russ Tamblyn
Using Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet as inspiration, this story is set in New York in the late 1950s and sees rival gangs, The Jets and The Sharks, engage in a dangerous urban war. Caught in the middle are Tony and Maria who belt out Leonard Bernstein’s score in a magnificent and unforgettable fashion. Show stoppers include I Feel Pretty, Somewhere and America
Mary Poppins (1964)
Starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke
Julie Andrews plays a significant part in many of our childhoods, introducing us quite simply to the loveliest lady in the universe. As children we yearned for our parents to hire Mary Poppins, the magical nanny who can fly, pull out of lampshades from her carpet bag and magically tidy our bedrooms (this was the best one of all). As adults we wish she could be the nanny to OUR kids. The other significant moment borne from Mary Poppins was learning how to say ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocios’…. Showstoppers include Chim Chim Cheree and Just a Spoonful of Sugar
My Fair Lady (1964)
Starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison
George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion received a musical movie makeover in the early 60s with Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl who comes to the attention of phonics expert Henry Higgins. A simple bet (that Higgins can pass her off as a duchess) changes Eliza’s life and all around her forever. Top moments include Eliza’s elocution lessons (marbles in mouth) and her lapse into full-blown cockney at the races “C’mon Dover, move your bloomin’ arse!” Show stoppers include Wouldn’t It Be Loverly? & The Rain In Spain
Sound of Music (1965)
Starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer
Maria, a young nun, questions her calling after she develops feelings for the father of her seven wards – the Von Trapp children. A magnificent film that combines a brilliant score, actors and scenery with an amazing (and true) story. If you haven’t done so already, lose a rainy Sunday with this film. Show stoppers include How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? & So Long, Farewell
Sweet Charity (1969)
Starring Shirley MacLaine and Sammy Davis Jnr
‘There ain’t no use flappin’ your wings, ’cause we are stuck in the flypaper of life!’. This musical has serious mojo which sees MacLaine in the role of disappointed-in-life Charity, who wants to leave her less-than-virtuous life behind her, meet a nice fella and settle down. It’s an age-old problem, but she gets to sing, swing and jive her problems away in this vibrant and musically genius movie. Show stoppers Rhythm Of Life, Big Spender
Starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York.
In early 1930s Berlin, American singer and dancer Sally finds herself mixed up in all sorts of sexual adventures when a British man moves into her lodgings and her life. Iconic action that sees Minnelli at her finest. Show stopper – Don’t Tell Mama
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Starring Ted Neely and Carl Anderson
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice hit the big time with this rock version of Jesus’s final days. Controversial for some, perhaps one thing everyone agreed on – the musical talent was incredible and the songs – whether you have seen the show or the movie or not – now make up a part of our popular culture. Show stoppers include Jesus Christ Superstar and I Don’t know How to Love Him
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Richard O’Brien.
When young lovers Brad and Janet breakdown on a dark, lonely and wet road at night they find themselves at the mercy of the Annual Transylvanian Convention led by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, ‘Sweet Transvestite’, his servant Riff Raff and sister Magenta. If you really want to feel the vibe of the Rocky Horror, get your suspenders on and head to a cinema showing the movie – you can guarantee audience participation is 100% required. Show stoppers include The Timewarp and Sweet Transvestite.
Bugsy Malone (1976)
Starring Scott Baio and Jodie Foster
Brit director Alan Parker created a classic when he swapped grown-ups for kids as the leads in his take on the 1920s Chicago mob, complete with splurge guns (firing custard), some cracking tunes and entertaining leads from Baio and Foster (as Tallulah). With every generation a new group of fans emerge – what’s not to love? Show stoppers include So You Wanna Be A Boxer? & Bugsy Malone.
Starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton John and Stockard Channing
The first and last stop for young girls (and boys) seeking out the truth behind high school. Think it’s all reading, writing and maths? WRONG! It’s about having cool clothes, non-moving hair, matching friends, a greaser boyfriend (preferably with a car) and going to school dances. Probably the best film ever. Well, we think so anyway. Show stoppers? How can we be expected top pick out just a couple? All of them. Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee, You’re The One That I Want & Stranded At The Drive-In
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Starring: Rick Moranis, Steve Martin
A mutant bloodthirsty Venus Fly Trap brings in good business and a glittering career for florist Seymour but things begin to fall apart when the plant demands Seymour murder. Show topper – Feed Me, Seymour.
Starring Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney
Who doesn’t love Annie? Only silly boys and they don’t count. Every girl MUST spend a reasonable percentage of her young life learning every note of this brilliant comedy musical about a little orphan who finds love in the form of Daddy Warbucks. Show stoppers include The Sun’ll Come Out, It’s A Hard Knock Life and Tomorrow.
Moulin Rouge (2001)
Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor Baz Luhrmann reignited our love of musicals in 2001 with this beautifully visualised story of Christian, a poet who falls in love with dancer Sabine. Show stoppers include Like A Virgin & Roxanne.
Starring Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere Catherine Zeta-Jones
Set in 1920s Chicago, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly await trial for murder using whatever it takes to spare them from execution. An all-star Hollywood heavy cast had us longing for the golden era of cinema once again. Show stopper – All That Jazz
High School Musical (2006)
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale.
Three movies on and it looks like the super squeaky-clean tale of East High students has carved itself a long-term place in musical history. Who can resist the charms of handsome Troy Bolton, basket ball superstar and secret singer? Show stoppers include – What I’ve Been Looking For, Stick To The Status Quo
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Colin Firth.
Using Abba tunes to weave the plot together this all-singing story of a girl’s dream to discover the true identity of her father is a genuine gem with a stella cast running the show.
Show stoppers include Mamma Mia, Honey Honey.
The Muppets (2011)
Starring Jason Segal, Amy Adams.
Bringing Jim Henson’s original crew smash bang into the 2000’s we LOVE the newest film in our musical countdown. We laughed when Gonzo shot himself out the canon, we cried when Kermit was discovered living alone in a mansion and we rejoiced when the muppets got back together again. Now? Now we worship Miss Piggy. She works for Vogue Paris y’know. Show stoppers include I’ve Got Everything That I Need, Rainbow Connection, Man Or A Muppet?
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Michelle Williams.
A brand new original musical, The Greatest Showman tells the story of a family living in poverty who start their own circus.
Mamma Mia 2 (2018)
Yes, indeed, here we go again. But this time around the storyline follows a young Meryl Streep played by Lily James as she meets her three suitors. Plot spoiler: there are Abba songs involved.
Listen, these Dream girls will make you happy! Featuring Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar winning turn as Effie, this musical has more sequins and sass than most musicals have in one chorus. Following the ups and downs of one girl group, this rags to riches story will have you singing along. Oh and… Beyonce is in it.
Into The Woods (2014)
A former beautiful witch played by Meryl Streep puts a curse on a young couple (Emily Blunt and James Corden) so they can never have children. During their trips to retrieve materials to return the witch’s beauty they meet Cinderella played by Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine who aptly plays Prince Charming and the Big Bad Wolf AKA Johnny Depp.