Ahhhhh musicals, a genre of movie that I used to love as a kid with Disney classics such as Aladdin, Aristocats, Dumbo & The Jungle Book amongst others as the list of great Disney animations goes on and on. As I entered my teenage years and beyond I stopped watching musicals and really wasn’t interested in them at all and I’m not sure whether it was because I didn’t consider them to be macho enough for me to watch or whether I genuinely lost interest in all the razzmatazz that goes with a big musical production, my guess would probably be the former more than the latter but that all changed when I met my wife. She loves musicals and slowly I began to really enjoy them again as she introduced me to so many movies that I’ve missed over the years and I started to go to the theatre with her to watch musicals live and it’s such an amazing experience. So far to date we’ve seen Les Miserables, Wicked and A Christmas Carol and I loved each and every experience and every time she suggests we watch a musical on Netflix or otherwise I find myself very keen.
There are no doubt a tonne of musicals that I still haven’t seen but I thought I’d compile a short little list of my top 10 favourite musicals so far. I’ve decided to leave out any Disney animation as this list would be largely different had I included them and I wanted to give some other movies a chance to shine in one of these lists. Any recommendations for any musical number that you love and isn’t on the list just leave me a comment. Thanks for reading!
1. The Greatest Showman (2017)
The perfect musical number. It had everything from an amazing story based on truth albeit a distorted truth but an amazing story nevertheless. The cast were all superb in their roles from the top right the way down to the bottom and most importantly the songs were fantastic and memorable.
2. West Side Story (1961)
I saw this a long time ago in school as it was part of my drama/media class and I really enjoyed it. It’s just a classic story which again has some awesome and memorable songs weaved within the good display of acting.
3. Mary Poppins (1964)
One of my favourite childhood movies and I still love it to this day. It’s simply an iconic movie that delivers some of the best songs in musical history. Unfortunately Mary Poppins Returns was absolute garbage which tarnished the legacy of the original amongst a younger audience but it will always be a classic in my eyes.
4. Les Miserables (2012)
Great to watch in the theatre and great to watch in the comfort of your own home. Some tremendous performances, particularly Anne Hathaway, and top quality songs.
5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A strange movie that has become somewhat of a cult classic and it’s not hard to see why. It’s very out there for the 70’s as it pushes the envelope a little for its time period. Tim Curry is fantastic in this movie and deserves all the plaudits he’s received over the years.
6. Oliver! (1968)
Another favourite from my childhood here. There’s been multiple versions of this story told over the years but this one is by far the best.
7. The Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
What a crazy but enjoyable movie. I didn’t know what to expect with Steve Martin and Rick Moranis in a musical but it was just 90 minutes of pure fun.
8. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)
Very rare is a sequel better than its predecessor as I can only think of a small handful of movies where it has happened but Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is one of them. I preferred the younger cast and the story of love and heartbreak being told as the memory of Meryl Streep’s character is kept. I also liked the addition of Cher, she only had a small role but it a mighty role and the less Pierce Brosnan singing and jiving the better.
9. Annie (1982)
My wife and I watched both this version and the 2014 one starring Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx pretty much back to back and although the newer version is a bit more relatable for a modern day audience I preferred the cast from the 80’s flick. Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan was wonderful and the story as a whole felt more authentic to watch.
10. Calamity Jane (1953)
My only encounter with Doris Day as an actress and it was such an easy and enjoyable film to watch. The songs were wonderful and memorable and the story she shared on screen with Howard Keel was nice to watch unfold. An oldie but certainly a goodie.
Honourable mentions: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sweeney Todd, La La Land, Grease & Into the Woods