The 35 Best Musical Movies to Get You Singing

All the dance numbers! All the show tunes!

image
Walt Disney / Getty Images / Shutterstok

Although rom-coms are easy entertainment to chase away the Sunday Scaries, there's nothing more warm and fuzzy than a solid musical movie, complete with sing-a-longs and high-energy dance numbers. Who doesn’t like feeling like the world is capable of just bursting into song at any moment? Here, 35 iconic musicals that are not to miss, featuring the most epic duets, dance sequences, and hand jives of all time.

1 of 35
La La Land (2016)

Created as a "modern musical" by director Damien Chazelle, this L.A.-based flick follows an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a traditionalist jazz musician (Ryan Gosling) as they struggle to hit the big time, but adorably hit it off instead.

2 of 35
Les Miserables (2012)

Keep the Kleenex close at hand during this weepy French musical set in the 19th century. In it, an ex-convict named Jean Valjean takes in an orphan named Cosette after her mother dies. Valjean's former jailer, the police inspector Javert, continues to pursue him as France begins to split before the Paris Uprising of 1832.

3 of 35
Hairspray (2007)

This feel-good comedy stars John Travolta and Nikki Blonsky in a story about a teen in the 1960s who loves to dance and wins a spot on a local TV show. The new role catapults her to stardom, and she tries to use her spotlight for good to encourage more diverse casting.

4 of 35
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Tim Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter rejoin forces in this musical set in old London. A barber goes on a rampage after being convicted for a crime he says he didn't commit. His victims? Several unlucky customers who fell victim to his blade.

5 of 35
Once (2006)

A street musician and a Czech immigrant make an unlikely pair in this indie-film-that-could, which nabbed several Oscars and launched a Broadway musical run. You won't find any overproduction or jazz hands in this sparse film, but the musical arrangements from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are gorgeous, and worth listening to in surround-sound.

6 of 35
Chicago (2002)

Chicago's Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart are two of the most badass roles for women in Broadway history. Here, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger play the jailhouse rivals in this larger-than-life musical about crime, fame, and revenge.

7 of 35
Moulin Rouge (2001)

This love it or hate it musical from director Baz Luhrmann reimagines popular songs from modern artists like Elton John and The Police, but centers the story in early 19th century bohemian Paris. The most beautiful courtesan at the Moulin Rouge dancehall (played by Nicole Kidman) and a poor writer (Ewan McGregor) fall in love but have to keep their romance a secret or risk shutting down the cabaret.

8 of 35
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

There's never a dull moment in this rock musical about a transgender punk performer. Trouble ensues when, on a tour of the U.S., Hedwig runs into a former flame who stole all of her songs.

9 of 35
Grease (1978)

This classical musical reappeared in the news following some eerie conspiracy theories, but we know and love Grease because of the hand-jivin' melodies, the outstanding cast, and the iconic outfit changes: "Tell me about it, stud."

10 of 35
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The cult musical of all musicals, Rocky Horror Picture Show still inspires live renditions in local theaters that recreate the eerie happenings of Dr. Frankenfurter's mansion. In it, a wayward couple, Brad and Janet, get stranded there for one freaky night.

11 of 35
Cabaret (1972)

Liza Minnelli takes center stage in this musical film that put her on the map (it swept up eight Oscars in its day). She plays a young American cabaret singer performing at the Kit Kat Klub in Nazi-era Berlin who gets caught up in a love triangle with a British academic and a German playboy.

12 of 35
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, this movie tells the iconic story of a father who tries to keep his five daughters in line with Jewish cultural traditions. He meets resistance and realizes how much his eldest daughters want to marry husbands outside the customs of their faith.

13 of 35
Funny Girl (1968)

Ah, Babs. Known for its big hit "Don't Rain on My Parade," this comedic musical sees Barbara Streisand in her element as a budding vaudeville singer who works her way up to the big time on Broadway.

14 of 35
My Fair Lady (1964)

Prepare yourself to be completely charmed by Audrey Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle in this modern-day Cinderella story: a working class Cockney girl learns how to speak like a polished aristocrat and pass as a member of high society.

15 of 35
The Sound of Music (1965)

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know what the hills are alive with (music, duh). The Von Trapp family singers and their idyllic life in the Austrian countryside with their winsome governess (clothes made out of curtains! whiskers on kittens!) captured the hearts of multiple generations. This film remains one of the most iconic musicals to date.

16 of 35
Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Known for its iconic dance scenes with umbrellas, this Gene Kelly film depicts the upheaval in the entertainment industry over the transition from silent films to "talkies" when two silent movie stars join the cast of a musical.

17 of 35
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Yet another umbrella-heavy song-and-dance musical, this bittersweet French film follows a young Catherine Deneuve, who works at a boutique selling umbrellas. She falls in love with a mechanic and gets pregnant, but has to move on without him when he gets drafted into the Algerian War.

18 of 35
Mary Poppins (1964)

The movie where we first learned the practical advice that "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" follows Julie Andrews as a nanny with *magical* powers (umbrellas play another guest role here, too).

19 of 35
West Side Story (1961)

This love story for the ages tells the tale of Romeo and Juliet, but this time the couple is caught between to rival gangs: the Jets and the Sharks. A gang member falls in love with his rival's sister—played by It-girl of the day Natalie Wood—and trouble brews in the form of many elaborate dance scenes.

20 of 35
Funny Face (1957)

This winning Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire combination sees a young librarian in Paris caught up in the throes of the colorful American fashion world when she's scouted by a top magazine editor and a famous fashion photographer.

21 of 35
Guys and Dolls (1955)

An outstanding cast of Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jean Simmons star in this film about a gambler (played by Sinatra) who needs to make some money. He places a bet he thinks is foolproof: That his old acquaintance Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) won't be able to get the saintly Sergeant Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) to go on a date with him.

22 of 35
Oklahoma! (1955)

You're probably familiar with this musical's most famous song, "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," composed by legendary duo Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers. The plot involves a country girl caught in a love triangle between a farm hand and a cowboy, and drew inspiration from the play Green Grow the Lilacs. There's nothing quite like the movie adaptation.

23 of 35
The King and I (1955)

Yul Brynner reprised his Broadway role as the King of Siam in the movie remake of The King and I, a movie for music, fashion, and design lovers alike that's full of sumptuous fabrics and ballroom dance scenes. The story follows the budding romance between the King and his children's governess, Anna.

24 of 35
An American in Paris (1951)

This Gene Kelly classic tells the story of a former American soldier who remains in Paris after the war to become a painter (how romantic, right?) and falls for a local French girl. The duo becomes a love triangle, though, when a rich heiress starts to show interest in the painter on a more than professional level.

25 of 35
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Perhaps the most famous musical ever, it transported audiences to the technicolor land of Oz, filled with flying monkeys and witches and a wizard. Judy Garland plays a wayward girl who's just trying to find her way back home, accompanied by a medley of characters like the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man.

26 of 35
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

It's the musical that made you give your succulents a side eye. Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene star in this hilarious movie about a geeky florist shop worker who finds out his Venus flytrap can speak. If you're afraid of going to the dentist, I'd skip this one. It'll only fuel your fears.

27 of 35
Dreamgirls (2006)

You'll remember this as the movie that launched Jennifer Hudson into international stardom, but it's so much more than that. Dreamgirls takes its inspiration from the history of Motown and The Supremes. The story follows a girl group known as The Dreams and their manipulative record executive. Plus, Beyoncé's in it, and we'll watch anything with Queen Bey.

28 of 35
Mamma Mia! (2008)

ABBA fans, this one's for you! The film boasts a stellar ensemble cast of Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Christine Baranski. The plot follows a young future bride who invites three men to her upcoming wedding, with the hope of finding out which one is her father.

29 of 35
Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again (2018)

If you liked the original Mamma Mia, there's more where that came from! Here We Go Again serves as both a prequel and a sequel, with the plot being set after the events of the first film, but featuring flashbacks to 1979, telling the story of Streep's character's arrival on the island of Kalokairi and the first time she meets her daughter Sophie's three possible fathers. It's the rare sequel that might be better than the original.

30 of 35
The Greatest Showman (2017)

Taking its inspiration from the story of P. T. Barnum's creation of the circus and the lives of its star attractions, The Greatest Showman is truly a work of art. The songs are catchy earworms, enough to look past the artistic licenses they take with Barnum's history. Try not to cry when Keala Settle sings "This Is Me," I dare you.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Culture