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12 Musical Films of All Times You Have to Watch

Updated on March 16, 2019

I have always been fond of musicals. Living in a small city, my opportunities of seeing them on stage have never been many, so I have mostly built my knowledge on the subject through films. It is a genre I associate with cheerfulness and positivity.

I do not enjoy modern music very much, I feel it is barely a noise, something with no further meaning. But musical's songs are different. Maybe is the fact that, unlike the songs everybody listens nowadays, they were created to do one of my favorite things in the world: Tell stories.

Write a character is a difficult mission, but capture one already invented in the lyrics of a song is something I profoundly admire.

Here I share with you a list of the movies (And songs, of course) which have brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes in the past years.

Top Hat (1935)

Mark Sandrich's movie tells the tangled love story of famous dancer Jerry Travers (Played by the even more famous Fred Astaire) and beautiful Dale Tremont, a role played by Ginger Rogers. This couple is well-known, given that they worked together in nine opportunities during their career. In spite of that "Top Hat" is until today their most recognized movie. Irving Berlin's music completes the story wonderfully. We have to remember the fact that songs such as "Top hat, White tie, and tails" or "Cheek to cheek" became classics of American music.

The Sound of Music (1965)

Young novice Maria is sent to the house of an Austro-Hungarian Navy submarine Captain to work as a governess for his seven children. The kids have lost their mother, and their father is quite strict with them. Maria's cheerful personality will change the atmosphere at the family home, earn the love of the kids, and eventually, Captain Von Trapp's as well. Winner of an Academy Award for Best Movie, and with songs as remembered as "Sixteen going on seventeen", "So long, farewell" and "The lonely goatherd", "The Sound of Music" is still a classic.

Funny Girl (1968)

This movie is based on the life of actress and comedian Fanny Brice, played by a young Barbra Streisand. It introduces us to Fanny when she is still trying to find a chance, her subsequent rise to stardom and her relationship with her husband Nicky Arnstein through the years. Unlike other movies of the time, who presented a much more classic heroine, Funny's character has nothing to do with that: She has difficulties to start her career, things never go as she plans and she falls in love with the wrong man, but she faces everything with her usual energy and big sense of humor. "Don't rain on my parade", "I'm the greatest star" and "People" are just some of the amazing songs that accompany the story.

Annie (1999)

This version of the classic Broadway show was made for television, but I prefer it over the original one. Oliver Warbucks, trying to improve her public image, decides to invite an orphan child to spend Christmas at his mansion. He gets a surprise when, instead of a boy, his secretary appears with a talkative red-haired girl. Annie was put up for adoption when she was a baby, but despite the harsh treatment she receives in the orphanage she is cheerful, optimistic, and has a big heart. These characteristics will earn her the love of the grumpy millionaire, who will decide to help her to find her parents. "It's a hard knock life" and "Tomorrow" are some of the most recognized songs.

Mary Poppins (1964)

The life of the Banks family will change forever with the arrival of Mary Poppins, a magical nanny who descended from the sky with her umbrella. He job will consist of educating Jane and Michael, the two rebellious kids of the house. The little ones are used to spend all their talent to make the life of every single one of their nannies absolutely impossible, in an attempt to call their parents attention. They will soon discover that Mary Poppins is not a person easy to intimidate. The cinematographic debut of Julie Andrews brings us a story full of music and imagination for all the family. Its best songs: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Chim Chim Cher-ee". If you are interested, you can also check the resent movie sequel; Mary Poppins Returns.

Hello Dolly! (1969)

Another movie starring Barbra Streisand, who in this occasion gets in the role of Dolly Levi, the woman in charge of finding a wife to rich Mr. Vandegalder. Her plan is, of course, to marry him herself, and as part of this plan, she proposes the man a trip to New York. Encouraged by Dolly, Vandegalder's Nephew, her fiance, and the two shop employees, Barnaby and Cornelius will go there too. This will trigger many love stories. Streisand recognized that she did not have a good time filming this movie and that the final product did not satisfy her, but in spite of that it is still remembered and some of its songs considered classics. Some examples? "Hello Dolly", "Just leave everything to me" and " Put on your Sunday clothes"

Les Miserables (2013)

Based in Victor Hugo's work and adapted to cinema and theatre, this last version had good critics, especially regarding the cast, which includes actors such as Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe, and Helena Bonham Carter. The story of the former convict Jean Valjean through the years and his efforts to escape cruel inspector Javert are the center of the plot, which as progresses, takes different directions and begins to connect all the stories, culminating during the historic June Revolution in France. Its best songs are well-known: "One day more", "I dreamed a dream" and "Do you hear the people sing?"

La la land (2016)

Damien Chazelle's movie brings us the story of Sebastian, a jazz musician, and Mia, an actress. Both are living in Los Angeles, looking for an opportunity to succeed in their respective careers, and in spite of a complicated beginning, they end up falling in love. As they begin to grow in their professional lives, they will start to realize that to reach their dreams they will have to resign many things, even their relationship. A movie that speaks about dreams and how difficult the life of an artist can be. Its best songs: "City of stars", "The fools who dream" and "Someone in the crowd"

Hairspray (2007)

Tracie Turnblad, a Baltimore's teenager, is a great admirer of "The Corny Collins Show", a local teen dance television show. After an audition, Tracie is chosen to be one of the dancers but is criticized by the other girls because of her weight and appearance. The film questions society's beauty ideals and the prejudices towards afro-American people during the '60s. Inspired in the comedy movie of the same name, released in 1988 and the subsequent Broadway show, its songs include "You can't stop the beat", "Good morning Baltimore" and "I can hear the bells"

Singin' in the rain (1952)

Another very much acclaimed musical. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds star in this movie, which shows one of the most important moments in the history of the seventh art: The transition from silent films to the "talkies". Don Lockwood, interpreted by Kelly, is a popular actor of silent films, who after the release of the first talkie by another cinematographic studio, must transform his present project to adapt it to the new fashion. Kathie Selden, Reynolds' character, is an aspiring actress hired to dub Don partner's voice in the movie. Of course, there will be a love story between Don and Kathy. The songs "Singing in the rain" and "Good morning" do not need an introduction.

Into the Woods (2014)

This musical intertwines many of Grimms brothers and Charles Perrault's stories. The film develops around a baker and his wife, who try to get rid of a curse that prevents them from having children. Their story will tangle with young Cinderella's, little Jack and red riding hood's, a pair of forgetting princes' and a wicked witch's, played by Merryl Streep. The actions of each one of them will have direct consequences in the lives of the others. The most recognized songs: "Into the Woods" and "No one is alone"

The Greatest Showman (2017)

The story of P.T Barnum, founder of Barnum and Bailey's circus was the inspiration for this movie. After a difficult childhood, Barnum succeeds with his spectacle that shows peculiar people showing their talents. His life changes when he begins to get fond of fame, this situation pushing him apart from his family and the people who supported him from the beginning. Barnum's struggles to keep the circus and the stories of the other members of the show are told in a film which celebrates differences. Its soundtrack includes the song "This is me", that received a nomination to the Academy Awards and another to the Golden Globes.

© 2019 Literarycreature

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    • BrandyMcNelson profile image

      Brandy McGhee Nelson 

      12 months ago from Arkansas

      I love Singin' in the Rain. I will have to watch Funny Girl, I've never seen it. Excellent Hub!

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