10 Best Musical Movies

Who doesn’t love musicals? They’re one of the most fun genres to watch, and there are so many great ones that it’s hard to pick the best. But today we at BFS tried to do just that, as we talk about the 10 best musical movies.

  1. West Side Story

This is a musical about modern Romeo and Juliet with so many amazing musical numbers. A tragic story, but a visual masterpiece that is an amazing example of a Broadway musical translated into a movie.

2. The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is the most classic musical there is. Starring the beautiful Julie Andrews this is undoubtedly a timeless work of art with so many classic songs like “My Favorite Things” and “So Long, Farewell”.

3. Chicago

This movie stars some bad ass ladies, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger, has so many unforgettable numbers it is almost impossible to pick your favorite song, and showcases some truly dazzling costume design. This movie is so good it even won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2003.

4. Gigi

With a beautiful romance and that Old Hollywood charm, this musical is hard not to love. Not only did this movie win the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1959, but it also broke the record at the time for most Oscar wins by taking home 9 awards that night.

5. La La Land

La La Land is the newest one on the list, yet the magic it brings to the screen makes it feel like a classic. Between the amazing music, stunning cinematography, and all of those nods to Old Hollywood, La La Land is one of the most beautiful musicals to date.

6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

This movie is the original cult classic. It has one of the biggest cultural influences of any of the movies on this list. And between the rocking music, the iconic costumes, and the entrancing story, this is the kind of movie that still has people dressing up and throwing stuff at the screen to this day.

7. An American in Paris

An American in Paris is one of those Old Hollywood classics that you just gotta love. It stars the Hollywood legend himself, Gene Kelly, and won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 1952.

8. Singin’ in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain is a timeless romantic comedy set in Old Hollywood. It brought us so many iconic scenes, including the titular song and rain sequence of “Singin’ in the Rain”. Its undeniable charm is what keeps us loving it over 60 years after it came out.

9. Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is one of those musicals that you just can’t help but dance to. With a star studded cast and its beautiful Greek scenery, this is one of those fun filled movies that you can watch over and over again. It also has a sequel coming out this year, and I don’t know about you, but we at BFS are counting down the days until that comes out!

10. The Wizard of Oz

Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Wizard of OZ is a large part of movie history. It also features so many classic songs like “Over the Rainbow” and has one of those unforgettable stories that everyone knows about.

 

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‘La La Land’: An Homage to Old Hollywood

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

For this week’s Time Warp Tuesday, the film we’ll be talking about isn’t very old, but the references it makes date as far back as 1935.

I’m sure when you hear about the film La La Land you probably think of the truly iconic moment in Academy Award history when La La Land was announced as the Best Picture winner, only for someone to come up and say moments later that Moonlight had actually won Best Picture.

Although I could talk all day about the Oscar drama surrounding this film, today I want to talk about its many references to old Hollywood musicals, why they’re there, and what makes them such a key element of the magic of this film.

La La Land is a love story between Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), two struggling artists with big dreams. Mia dreams of one day becoming an actress, and Sebastian dreams of opening up his own jazz club and reviving the genre. The story is sweet and relatable to any struggling artists out there, but what really sets this film apart is its attempt to make an old Hollywood musical today.

Throughout the film there are several references to old Hollywood musicals, but probably the most prominent reference is to the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain starring Hollywood legends Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Some allusions to the 1952 classic in La La Land include Ryan Gosling swinging on the lamppost during “A Lovely Night” as Gene Kelly does in “Singin’ in the Rain” and large dance scenes in La La Land that mirror some of those in Singin’ in the Rain. In the image below, the top is from La La Land and the bottom is from Singin’ in the Rain.

Singin
Top: Courtesy of Lionsgate, Bottom: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

One of the most memorable scenes in La La Land is during the song A Lovely Night”. Although this scene has references to many old Hollywood films, the general concept is heavily inspired by the 1935 film Top Hat starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Specifically, the song “Isn’t this a Lovely Day (to be Caught in the Rain)” where its concept of a couple whose dialogue tells you they’re bickering, but through the song and dance you see that there is actually love there really inspired director and writer Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), as he describes in his interview with PBS NewsHour. You can see the similarities below, with the top image from La La Land and the bottom image from Top Hat.

A Lovely Night
Top: Courtesy of Lionsgate, Bottom: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

Another classic Hollywood allusion is to the film Broadway Melody of 1940 which starred Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. In that film Astaire and Powell dance on a starry looking stage, and a very similar image appears during the “Epilogue” scene in La La Land. This can be seen below with the top image from La La Land and the bottom image from Broadway Melody of 1940.

Broadway Melody
Top: Courtesy of Lionsgate, Bottom: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Some of the other classic Hollywood films referenced in La La Land include Rebel Without A Cause starring James Dean and Natalie Wood, Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, and Bob Fosse’s film Sweet Charity starring Shirley MacLaine. Below you can see side by side images of La La Land and Rebel Without A CauseFunny Face, and Sweet Charity.

Collage 1
Left: Courtesy of Lionsgate, Right: Courtesy of Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures

 

So why did Chazelle choose to make a film such as La La Land? As he describes in his interview with PBS NewsHour, ever since he fell in love with old Hollywood musicals he really wanted to try and see how you could make one today. He goes on to describe how these musicals had him “reveling in what only movies can do”, and how he loved the idea of telling a story through sound and image, opposed to dialogue, which is something no other medium could do.

The amazing thing about La La Land is it revived the magic of film that we haven’t really felt since the days of old Hollywood. Since then we as a society have gotten used to the tricks, CGI, and typical movie structure that we see today, and lost the magic and wonder film used to bring. By combining stunning cinematography, beautiful music, and of course allusions to old Hollywood classics Chazelle has brought that magic back with La La Land.