Added by jaronemo on 23 Dec 2011 10:05
25 Greatest Classic Musicals
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High Society (1956)
A highly entertaining remake of one of the greatest films ever made, The Philadelphia Story. And while High Society is not worthy to be mentioned in the same paragraph, it does have some triumphs of its own. The team of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra (both in their prime) is stunning and the colorful screenplay is endearing. /
Gigi is a unique film achievement, a youthful yet enigmatic movie with mediocre performances and spectacular songs. The film shows some startling potential but never blossoms into anything spectacular. Maurice Chevalier is merely annoying (although celebrated by most critics) and Louis Jourdan's acting and singing fall flat. Still, Gigi is an MGM classic.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
A long, yet entertaining film with catchy songs and good performances from the leads, Fiddler in the Roof is both enchanting and inspiring.
Even though The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King all have better songs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs can truly be called a CLASSIC musical. "Someday, My Prince Will Come" is one of the greatest songs to ever grace cinema. /
State Fair (1945)
An enjoyable, fun film that celebrates everything American and thrusts itself forward with youthful naive, State Fair is an unassuming, entertaining R and H film that deserves to be celebrated.
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
Although one of the more mediocre film musical's, Kiss Me Kate displays MGM's ideal output during the 40's and 50's. Both the dancing and singing are truly wonderful.
One of the most overrated and cliche films in movie history clocks in at over three hours and overstays its reluctant welcome. Still, the R and H songs are undeniably brilliant. /
Carousel has some of the most beautiful music ever scored: "Siloquy(My Boy Bill)," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "When the Children Are Asleep," and especially "If I Loved You." It truly is a shame that it is too overwrought and big-headed to be the spectacular film it is capable of being. Still, this great adaption leaves little to squabble about.
Oliver! is such a fun film, such an enjoyable experience, and has so many lovable, unique qualities - to name a few, the Brilliant performance of Ron Moody as Fagin, Carol Reed's inspired turn as a director of a film musical, and the catchy songs by Lionel Bart. Please, Hollywood, we want more!
The King and I (1956)
Rogers and Hammerstein's greatest achievement is an unassuming, nicely-made story about the healing power of western culture feminism (sorta). Yul Brynner is spectacular as the King of Siam, and slightly more believable than Rex Harrison, who undertook the same role in the original Hollywood film adaption of the story.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Wizard of Oz has one great song, just ONE - the rest are merely mediocre. There is no spectacular dancing, but still this well-established classic carries itself well and has earned a (slightly undeserved) reputation as a great musical film - but everyone knows that its true triumphs lie in other areas.
My Fair Lady (1964)
A reluctant choice given My Fair Lady's overrated-ness, this is still an essential of musical cinema and a classic, well-made film.
Top Hat (1935)
Not as fun as Swing Time (Fred Astaire is more annoying in this one) but still a wonderful Astaire/Rogers film, this is an essential film musical that hits many good notes.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
James Cagney's unique style, alone, makes this a qualified choice for any list of great musicals; but along with great songs, superb acting, and top-notch directing, this is one of the very best.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1945)
The first film on my list to not feature dancing. Meet Me in St. Louis carries itself on classic filmmaking at its finest, with beautiful songs, great acting, insightful direction, and classic American idealism and patriotism. Just a small slice of Americana, right?
Pure classic, hilarious, innocent fun with a clever storyline and catchy musical score. By the way, the dancing is good, too.
A Star Is Born (1954)
Judy Garland's performance in this film may go down in history as the greatest vocal achievement in the history of film musicals - oh, and her acting is pretty good, too. A really, REALLY good film.
West Side Story (1961)
The honest reason that this film is not higher on my list: it's not as good as people think it is. The songs are extraordinary as well as the dancing, but the acting, directing, scripting, singing - especially the lip-syncing - all set new bars for disappointing musical cinema. It is such a shame that so much potential was trashed by mediocre filmmaking. However, you can still get a delicious taste of Leonard Bernstein's original intentions - and it is something to behold!
The Music Man (1962)
The Music Man is one of the most energetic films ever made, yet it lacks a certain amount of maturity and cinematic intelligence. Still, the music in this film is very engaging, and Robert Preston steals the show in a stunning performance as Professor Harold Hill.
The film that is almost Singin' in the Rain but not quite. To be honest, the actors are annoying - all of them. The songs are nice, the choreography better, and, in the midst of hammy comedy, the dramatic content is pretty fluid. However, no one can deny that something about this film WORKS, I don't know what it is, but I know it's there...
On the Town (1949)
Superb energetic force; entertaining performances by Sinatra, Kelly, and Munshin - who make a wonderful musical team - and timeless songs by Leonard Bernstein make this the freshest Hollywood musical to date, next to SITR, of course.
An American in Paris (1951)
Great dancing, inspired set design, brilliant choreography, and memorable tunes by the Gershwin brothers - who could ask for anything more? to borrow the trite expression... And however great this film is as a musical, it is nonetheless that: trite.
Swing Time (1936)
The penultimate Astaire/Rogers musical - you know, the one where Fred Astaire isn't annoying? This is a very funny film with memorable songs, shining performances, and beautiful dancing. An overlooked Hollywood gem.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Mary Poppins might be the most underrated film in movie history. People seem to hate it for various reasons, while in fact the movie is the most cheerful, uplifting, and carefree thing to ever hit cinemy. As a musical, this film has it all, great choreography, inspired songs, and career-defining performances by the two leads. Seriously, what young boy didn't want to have Bert as their best friend?
What can be said about this film that isn't self-evident. Everything about it is flawless... except that, the acting is a bit dated - but in the midst of fantastic dance numbers and songs as well as high-energy entertainment and comedy, nobody really cares! And as great as Gene Kelly is in every aspect of the film, Donald O'Connor truly steals the show as his sidekick, Cosmo Brown.
This is a list of the greatest CLASSIC musicals. This means that anything pre-Fiddler on the Roof will not be mentioned. Also, my criteria for determining which films are greater MUSICALS includes the amount of dancing, singing, and the quality of the musical score. Other qualities are also considered, but that explains why Swing Time (which matches all three criteria) is ranked higher than My Fair Lady (which barely matches two). I hope you enjoy, please feel free to share your opinions!
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