There’s just something that seems magical about musicals and they manage to captivate almost everyone who watches them. Although often associated with the stage, many films have brought musicals to life and become some of the best films ever seen on the big screen.
Some of these musicals were Oscar winners and nominees, while others ended up becoming big blockbusters that audiences around the world loved. Anyway, when it comes to the ratings given by Letterboxd users, a handful of musicals stand out from the rest as the greatest ever released.
ten Tick, tick… Boom! (2021) – 3.90
Stream on Netflix
The most recent movie to rank top on Letterboxd is tick, tick… BOOM! The acclaimed film is based on a play of the same name by Jonathan Larson, which tells an autobiographical story. Famous, Larson became the mind behind the Broadway hit Lease.
The talented Andrew Garfield earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Larson and he was aided by a terrific supporting cast. There are so many memorable musical numbers, from expert-edited “Therapy” to cameo-filled “Sunday,” and it was all directed by the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda.
9 The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992) – 3.91
Stream on Disney+
by Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol is one of the stories to have been adapted more than almost any other throughout history. Although trying to find the best version can be a daunting task, many actually believe that The Muppets Christmas Carol is in the conversation.
The movie tells the iconic story but does it with the twist of including the Muppets. While the music is certainly loud here, it’s probably just as loud as every other aspect. It’s heartwarming, legitimately funny, and features a great performance from Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.
8 Hellzapoppin’ (1941) – 3.94
Not currently available to stream
In 1938, Broadway was taken over with the arrival of hellzapoppin’, a musical that was a quick hit. In fact, it only took a few years before a film adaptation was made and was arguably considered as good as the original.
What did hellzapoppin’ truly remarkable was how it bucked tradition, doing things like breaking the fourth wall and including surreal horror. The film follows Olsen and Johnson, two comedians who try to turn their play into a movie.
7 La La Terre (2016) – 3.94
Stream on Hulu
It seemed like everything everyone was talking about in 2016 was The Earth. The film was a pre-awards season favorite and has indeed racked them up. He was nominated for 14 Oscars and won six, while sweeping all seven categories he was up for at the Golden Globes.
Damian Chazelle’s film about an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a struggling musician (Ryan Gosling) falling in love in Hollywood is heartbreaking, visually stunning and emotionally gripping. It will go down as one of the best films of the 2010s, regardless of genre.
6 Cabaret (1972) – 3.96
Rent on Apple TV
There are many reasons why Liza Minnelli is an icon and her outstanding performance in Cabaret is one of the biggest. Set in Berlin in 1931, the film centers on a singer and entertainer having fun in a club as political uncertainty occurs outside.
Loosely based on a 1966 play of the same name, this was widely acclaimed. It won eight Oscars, including Best Director, Best Sound and, of course, Best Actress for Minnelli. Cabaret still stands and is one of the most important musicals ever released.
5 Sing the Street (2016) – 3.98
Stream on Roku Channel, Hoopla, Kanopy, Tubi, Vudu and IMDb TV
Perhaps the least famous film among the top-ranked musicals, street sing definitely worth a visit. The Neglected Movie is a coming-of-age tale set in Ireland in the 80s and tells the story of a boy who escapes his troubles at home by starting a band to impress a girl.
street sing was actually nominated for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes and features a slew of actors who would break out in later years. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor and more round out a stellar cast.
4 The Muppet Movie (1979) – 3.98
Stream on Disney+
The Muppets feel like they’re timeless. They may not be as famous or popular as they once were, but there is something about them that people seem to love. It goes back several decades, including The puppet movie in the late 70’s.
This on-the-road film actually functions as an origin story for the titular characters. Kermit the Frog embarks on a road trip where he meets his soon-to-be-famous friends, singing memorable songs along the way that have stuck with audiences for years.
3 The Sound of Music (1965) – 3.99
Stream on Disney+
It’s hard to find a more legendary musical than The sound of music. It’s literally in the title. The likes of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer deliver great performances to lead the way and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Adapted from a 1959 musical of the same name, The sound of music was a huge success. It became the highest-grossing film of all time shortly before 1967 and won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, cementing its status as something special.
2 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) – 4.00
Stream on Kanopy
It might come as a surprise to some, but the second highest rated musical film on Letterboxd is Hedwig and the Angry Thumb. Although it does not have the status that something like The sound of music a, it received strong reviews and the LGBTQ+ community helped make it a cult classic.
Again a film based on a play of the same name, the story centers on a spurned transgender singer who goes on tour with her band in the United States and tells her life story. John Cameron Mitchell wrote, directed and starred in this film, earning a Golden Globe nomination for their efforts.
1 Singing in the Rain (1952) – 4.26
Stream on HBO Max
If there’s a musical everyone knows better than The sound of musicit is probable Sing in the rain. Any scene involving someone in a costume in the rain with an umbrella is bound to evoke thoughts from this film.
Sing in the rain is set in Hollywood in 1927 and focuses on silent film production struggling to adapt to the new world of sound in movies. Interestingly, although he didn’t win any Oscars, he is regularly mentioned whenever the best films in history are discussed, proving his greatness.
NEXT: Singin’ In The Rain and 9 Other Best Hollywood Movies of the 1950s
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