Musicals: A Personal & Frequently Indefensible List of My Favorites

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1.
All That Jazz (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer. (123 mins.)
Director: Bob Fosse
 
2.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound. (103 mins.)
 
3.
Pennies from Heaven (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher. (108 mins.)
Director: Herbert Ross
 
4.
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A disfigured composer sells his soul for the woman he loves so that she will perform his music. However, an evil record tycoon betrays him and steals his music to open his rock palace, The Paradise. (92 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
5.
Easter Parade (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A nightclub performer hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star. (107 mins.)
Director: Charles Walters
 
6.
O Lucky Man! (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
This sprawling, surrealist musical serves as an allegory for the pitfalls of capitalism, as it follows the adventures of a young coffee salesman in Europe. Many actors play multiple roles, giving the film a stagy tone. (178 mins.)
 
7.
Summer Stock (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A small-town farmer, down on her luck, finds her homestead invaded by a theatrical troupe invited to stay by her ne'er-do-well sister. (108 mins.)
Director: Charles Walters
 
8.
The Muppet Movie (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Kermit and his newfound friends trek across America to find success in Hollywood, but a frog-legs merchant is after Kermit. (95 mins.)
Director: James Frawley
 
9.
Guys and Dolls (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In New York, a gambler is challenged to take a cold female missionary to Havana, but they fall for each other, and the bet has a hidden motive to finance a crap game. (150 mins.)
 
10.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York. (113 mins.)
 
11.
Cabaret (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them. (124 mins.)
Director: Bob Fosse
 
12.
Once (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story. (85 mins.)
Director: John Carney
 
13.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan. (126 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
14.
Purple Rain (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A young musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home, must contend with a rival singer, a burgeoning romance, and his own dissatisfied band, as his star begins to rise. (111 mins.)
Director: Albert Magnoli
 
15.
The Band Wagon (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition. (112 mins.)
 
16.
Tommy (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the object of a religious cult. (111 mins.)
Director: Ken Russell
 
17.
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A "typical" day in the life of The Beatles, including many of their famous songs. (87 mins.)
Director: Richard Lester
 
18.
Oliver! (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Young Oliver Twist runs away from an orphanage and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor. (153 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
 
19.
A Star Is Born (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A film star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career on a downward spiral. (154 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
20.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/11 X  
Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour. (82 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner