The 30 Best Movie Musicals

The frenetic rise and fall of a '60s-era Motown band, notable mostly for its big name performances. BEST SONG: "You're Gonna Love Me."
The Wizard of Oz
A classic always, though one that rests its legacy largely on being a historic benchmark rather than a qualitative masterpiece. BEST SONG: "Over the Rainbow."
An upbeat musical comedy about child abuse and poverty! BEST SONG: "Food, Glorious Food."
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An American in Paris
Gene Kelly, doing his Gene Kelly thing over in France. One of the most "musical-y" musicals ever made. BEST SONG: "I Got Rhythm."
West Side Story
'Romeo and Juliet,' but with more switchblades and snapping. BEST SONG: "Tonight."
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
Henry Selick and Tim Burton's macabre answer to the saccharine nature of Disney's contemporary output. More dancing skeletons than any other musical on the list. BEST SONG: "What's This?"
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The Wiz
Another re-imagining, but with the challenge of updating a piece of source material that was itself a classic musical. (It works.) BEST SONG: "Ease on Down the Road."
Guys and Dolls
Marlon Brando singing. That's all you need to know. BEST SONG: "Luck Be a Lady."
Mary Poppins
Skip Disney's dreadful 'Saving Mr. Banks' and enjoy the classic upon which it is based. BEST SONG: "Let's Go Fly a Kite."
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The Who's tremendous 1976 symphony, born from a love of rock music and pinball. BEST SONG: "Go to the Mirror."
Though Barbra Streisand might have been a bit old to play a teenage girl, her coming-of-age "Twelfth Night" story is duly charming nonetheless. BEST SONG: "Papa, Can You Hear Me?"
A proverbial battle-of-the-sexes story in a much raunchier late '50s than 'Happy Days' treated us to. BEST SONG: "Summer Nights."
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A Hard Day's Night
A wacky farce about and starring the Beatles, amounting to little more than 87 minutes of poppy, good-natured candy. BEST SONG: "And I Love Her.'
The King and I
We could take a few lessons about international policy from this 1956 gem. BEST SONG: "Something Wonderful."
Bye Bye Birdie
Set the same year as 'Grease,' but made 15 years prior so that the film manages to cling to some of the wholesomeness of the era. BEST SONG: "Telephone Hour."
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Yet another period piece, this one channeling the early '60s to tell a story about racial integration and body image. BEST SONG: "You Can't Stop the Beat."
Little Shop of Horrors
A hilarious, weird, and cameo-heavy cult classic featuring a man-eating alien plant and an evil dentist Steve Martin. BEST SONG: "Somewhere That's Green."
My Fair Lady
Halfway between 'Pygmalion' and 'She's the Man' is easily the best version of the age-old story we've seen on film. BEST SONG: "Just You Wait."
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South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Though it may never escape crass connotations, the 'South Park' movie is, according to Stephen Sondheim, one of the best musicals in decades. BEST SONG: "La Resistance."
Moulin Rouge
Baz Luhrmann's zany, pop music-laden account of the Bohemian Renaissance in turn-of-the-century France. BEST SONG: "Like a Virgin."
The Music Man
Small town naiveté wins (or suffers) a visit from fast-talking cynicism... and neither one ends up quite the same. BEST SONG: "Ya Got Trouble."
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All That Jazz
Bob Fosse's pseudo-autobiography about the claws of the musical biz. BEST SONG: "There'll Be Some Changes Made."
Beauty and the Beast
One of Disney's finest animated films to date, and arguably its greatest use of music. BEST SONG: The title number.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The cult classic to top all cult classics, the midnight movie to top all midnight movies... and quite a snappy musical to boot. BEST SONG: "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me."
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The Sound of Music
In stark contrast to our last entry, we have the most wholesome entry on the list: the story of a nun who teaches an unhappy family about the whimsy of music. BEST SONG: "Do Re Mi."
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
A tragic but empowering story about heartbreak, oppression, gender identity, and music itself. BEST SONG: "The Origin of Love."
Singin' in the Rain
Perhaps the best "showbiz" movie ever made... and some of the best fancy footwork in film history too. BEST SONG: "Make 'em Laugh."
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Fiddler on the Roof
Norman Jewison manages to tell the story of a people's diminishing place in an increasingly hateful world with sincerity and humor alike. BEST SONG: "Tevye's Dream."
Jesus Christ Superstar
Past and present blend in the hip, wily allegory about Jesus Christ's position in the world throughout the centuries. BEST SONG: "Superstar."
Yet another account of an impeding World War, 'Cabaret' might just be the greatest, most biting, and most memorable movie musical ever made. BEST SONG: "Maybe This Time."