Show tunes… dance numbers… spontaneous singing! What’s not to love?

For most people, a musical theatre film can be their first introduction to the magic of the musicals.

In many families, it’s almost a Christmas tradition to make time for one of the classics. Whether you prefer the older, more established Rogers and Hammerstein titles or the more modern musicals, our list will have you smiling, reminiscing and digging out the DVDs in no time.

Here are our top 10 musical theatre movies you have to see.

10. Grease

Watching this 1978 musical is a rite of passage. The costumes, the cast, the choreography and the love story are the reasons this film is so popular.

9. Chicago

The film version, which came out in 2002 stars Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the two murderess rivals in this lavish production exploring the idea of the criminal celebrity. Richard Gere also stars as their lawyer, iconic Billy Flynn. The three stars received some criticism for their vocal and dance performances but all had trained professionally and all took additional classes to bring them up to speed for filming.
Chicago was the first musical to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since 1968 and marked a turning point for musical theatre and its role on the silver screen.

8. Funny Girl

Released in 1968, this musical film showcases the fabulous Barbara Streisand as a budding vaudeville singer making her way to the big time on Broadway. Streisand’s comic timing and fabulous hits such as ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ will have you totally transfixed.

7. The Slipper And The Rose

A controversial and less well-known choice, but there is something truly magical about this sickly-sweet Cinderella adaptation starring Gemma Craven, Richard Chamberlain and Annette Crosbie. Unbelievably romantic and full of magic, beautiful music and fun, this really is a guilty pleasure. Released in 1976, this is an old-school musical at its best.

6. The Greatest Showman 

Released in 2017, this film is a spectacle in its own right. The Greatest Showman was Hugh Jackman’s passion project and he was born to play the role of Barnum, surrounded by a phenomenal cast. Following the lives of the Barnum Circus characters, albeit with some creative licence, the music and effects are really special and well worth a watch. The choreography in the bar scene is a work of genius.

5. The Sound of Music

I defy you to get through life without seeing this 1965 film starring the beautiful Julie Andrews as Maria. As war edges ever closer, the Von Trapp family and governess, Maria, have their idyllic lives threatened; but will they survive? Capturing the hearts of generations, this classic is a must see.

4. West Side Story

This 1961 release is the musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and features some of the most breath-taking choreographic routines in the history of theatre and film. With some of the most beautiful numbers, including ‘Tonight’ and ‘America’, this musical is one every show fan needs to watch.

3. Rocky Horror Picture Show

This cult musical, released in 1975, is the story of Brad and Janet who get stranded at Dr. Frank N. Furter mansion one unexpected night. Featuring the show-stopping number, ‘The Timewarp’, you must watch this film, even if only to learn the routine to dance in every cheesy nightclub you ever end up in.

2. Oliver!

Differing in quite a few places to the live version, this timeless classic film released in 1968, was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture. The cast is made up of a host of fabulous performers including Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Mark Lester and Jack Wild. Based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, the film’s score includes hits such as ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘As Long as He Needs Me’, ‘You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two’, and ‘Where Is Love?’. Every musical theatre fan must watch this film as part of their MT education.

1. Singin’ In The Rain

This 1952 hit should be watched as a lesson in comedy for the number ‘Make Em Laugh’ alone. What is not to love in this amazing film; an outstanding comedy, a beautiful score and Gene Kelly’s magnificent dance routines, as well as a great plot. You can’t help but love it.

Which are your favourite musical theatre films? Please comment below…

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