Today I thought I would write about my favourite movie musicals as it’s something I have never really discussed before. As I’m sure you have all figured out by now I’m a huge fan of musical theatre, and that includes the film adaptations of musicals too. So here are my five favourite movie musicals…
5. West Side Story
The 1961 film adaptation of the classic musical based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet holds the record for winning more Academy Awards than any other movie musical. With lyrics by the legendary Stephen Sondheim and music by Leonard Bernstein, the songs of West Side Story are as infectious and as relevant today as they were 60 years ago. The incredible choreography of Jerome Robbins expertly establishes the message of two divided halves of the Upper West Side of New York, without the characters having to utter a word to each other. West Side Story has long been a favourite of mine and is considered by many to be the best movie musical ever made.
4. Funny Girl
Barbra Streisand’s acclaimed portrayal of comedienne Fanny Brice earned her the first of her Academy Awards in 1969. The story of Brice’s rise to fame and her tumultuous relationship with her gambler-husband Nicky Arnstein sets Funny Girl apart from most movie musicals. Unlike a lot of romanticised musicals, it exposes the harsh reality of life in the entertainment business. With music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill, the iconic musical numbers including Don’t Rain on My Parade and People have become some of the most loved show tunes of all time.
The 2002 film starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger as murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart is one of the few movie musicals that I prefer to the stage production. The dazzling music of John Kander and lyrics of Fred Ebb paired with the unmistakable choreography style of Bob Fosse create a lovable musical, despite its cynical storyline. Chicago won six Oscars at the 2003 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, making it the first movie musical to win the Best Picture award since Oliver! in 1969. This scintillating, sparkling film is a must-watch for everyone, not just fans of musical theatre.
Whilst Burlesque isn’t one of the most famous or critically acclaimed movie musicals, it’s the first musical I can remember watching and being totally taken in by. Although it was released seven years ago, I still remember seeing it at the cinema with my best friend (who I’m happy to say is still my best friend today) and falling completely in love with the music and the glittering costumes. Starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, Burlesque draws on the music and choreography of Cabaret (but thankfully not its storyline), and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me.
1. The Sound of Music
Upon its release in 1965, The Sound of Music became the highest grossing film of the year. By 1966 it had surpassed Gone with the Wind as the highest grossing film of all time, and to this day (adjusted for inflation) still holds the title of highest grossing movie musical ever. The film’s star, Julie Andrews, received her second Academy Award nomination, having won the Best Actress Oscar the year before for her role in the Disney classic Mary Poppins. The timeless story of the Von Trapp family singers together with the music and lyrics of iconic duo Rogers and Hammerstein and the stunning locations of Salzburg have allowed The Sound of Music to become one of the most (if not the most) beloved musicals of all time. With unforgettable songs such as Do-Re-Mi, My Favourite Things and Edelweiss, The Sound of Music is undoubtedly my favourite movie musical, and probably always will be.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, and I would love it if you’d tell me what your favourite movie musicals are too!