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The 43 Best Musical Movies to Get You Singing

All the dance numbers! All the show tunes!

musical movies
Walt Disney / Getty Images / Shutterstock

Although the traditionally frothy romantic comedies are an easy way to chase away the Sunday scaries, there's nothing more warm and fuzzy than a solid musical movie, complete with singalongs and high-energy dance numbers. Who doesn’t like feeling like the world is capable of bursting into song at any moment? Musical movies can sometimes be hit or miss: For as many crazy, joyful, ridiculous-in-the-best-way films like Mamma Mia (don't worry, it's on here) that exist in the world, there's...whatever Cats was (definitely not on the list). But when it's good, it's spectacular. Modern artists have taken the form and played with it, so it doesn't necessarily have to sound and look like a play come to life. Bonus: When musical comedies include sweet rom-com elements—you've basically got the formula for the perfectly entertaining movie.

From the most classic musicals to underrated gems you may not have heard of, this list has just about everything you could want as a musical fan. Here, 43 iconic musicals throughout the decades that are not to miss, featuring the most epic duets, dance sequences, and jazz hands of all time.

1 of 43
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.

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2 of 43
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.

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3 of 43
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.

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Cinderella (1997)

The classic story of Cinderella and her glass slipper has been told countless times throughout pop culture, but it's not a stretch by any means to say that the 1997 musical film is the single most important iteration of the fairytale ever. Starring Brandy as our heroine and Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother, Cinderella features one of the most diverse casts on the silver screen and marked the first time that little black girls everywhere were able to see themselves as princesses too.

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Rocketman (2019)

If you're going to watch one biopic, have it be the glorious celebration of Elton John's ascendancy as global pop phenomenon. It's an honest look at the darker parts of fame, including the singer's struggles with substance abuse. But it's also got all the songs you know and love (as well as the story of how John came to write and perform them).

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6 of 43
Sing Street (2016)

A coming-of-age tale of a boy who forms a band to impress a girl...and then the band ends up being really, really good. It features remakes of classic songs from Sing Street, Hall & Oates, The Cure, and Duran Duran, as well as some gloriously OTT '80s fashion. What's not to love?

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7 of 43
The Muppets (2011)

A retooling of the beloved Henson characters (and an Oscar winner for Best Original Song) this stars Amy Adams and Jason Segal as the human counterparts to their fuzzy costars. Muppet fan (and Muppet himself) Walter must help Kermit & co. from the evil Tex Richman. Will they get the band back together and save Muppet Theater? Obviously, yes, but it's super-fun getting there.

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8 of 43
The Muppet Movie (1979)

But you can't get much better than the classic. There are many good Muppets musicals, including their take on A Christmas Carol, but come on! This one has Kermit the Frog singing the original "Rainbow Connection"! The characters' origin stories! Adventures in Hollywood! It's somehow stuffed with characters, yet perfectly balanced.

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Sunshine on Leith (2013)

A movie, based on a musical, based on a bunch of songs by The Proclaimers. This is the sweet story of two veterans who go home and deal with familial and romantic entanglements. An early vehicle for George Mackay (1917), the film's tender at its core and filled with talented people. Just wait until the characters get to their rendition of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)."

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10 of 43
Fame (1980)

Following students in their time at the High School of Performing Arts in pursuit of—you guessed it—fame, the musical became a smash hit and a cult classic. It didn't shy away from depicting the trials and tribulations of success (and trying to make it in show biz), but the upbeat songs and gorgeous dance sequences are what make this film sing, pun intended.

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8 Women (2002)

Is this film completely ridiculous? Absolutely, but it's also a who's who of iconic French actresses having a ball in a twist on the classic murder mystery. The patriarch of a family is found dead, and one of eight women must have done it. Then it turns into a musical with a bunch of super-catchy songs.

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12 of 43
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.

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13 of 43
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.

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14 of 43
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.

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15 of 43
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.

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16 of 43
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."

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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.

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18 of 43
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.

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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.

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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.

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21 of 43
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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26 of 43
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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