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If you know anything about my family, you know we are very opinionated about our musicals. Growing up we watched a ton of old movies, and many old movies just happen to be musicals. That being said, I’ve spent a lifetime refining my taste in musical movies, and have therefore dubbed myself an expert in the field.
So, without further ado, I present you with:
The Definitive Ranking of Movie Musicals
(in my own humble and accurate opinion.)
I’ll start this list with the obvious because The Sound of Music is hands down the best musical of all time. The story, the songs, the actors, this movie has the whole package, which is why it sits securely in place #1.
This movie has to be the theme movie for homeschoolers everywhere. I’m not totally sure why that is, but I ain’t hating. It’s such a fun musical that is like no other. When people ask for musical recommendations from me (did I mention I’ve dubbed myself a musical expert?) this is always my go to.
Singin’ in the Rain is such a classic in the musical genre for a good reason. The songs are great, the comedy is truly funny, and Debby Reynolds is just precious. I’ve probably seen this movie a dozen times, but it just never gets old.
This is one of the most beautiful and powerful movies ever, and the fact that it’s a musical just deepens its effectiveness in my opinion. It has fun songs, moving songs, classic songs, all the songs. Plus the story is just fantastic. This is another movie I think everyone should watch – even if you’re not usually a musical person, I think this movie has something to offer everyone.
Just to mix things up, Les Mis is my favorite musical from recent years (there have been a few good ones, but nothing can beat the classics.) This is another musical I would recommend even to non-musical lovers. The story is such a beautiful picture of redemption. The music adds depth to that, and the whole film is very well done.
I wasn’t sure if I should include a Christmas movie on a non-Christmas list, but technically speaking, I’m sure I’ve seen this musical more than any other since I watch it every year. It’s also just such a classic musical, who couldn’t love it? So for those reasons, it ranks #6 on this list.
Surprisingly, this is the only Doris Day movie on my list, and that makes me sad because Doris Day is great. But this is by far my favorite movie of hers, and one of the movies I’ve seen the most. I have very fond memories of watching this movie with my mom when I was little and earaches kept me up after everyone else was asleep. I loved this movie when I was little and knew it would make me feel better when I was sick. I assume I was right since I remember that experience so fondly.
This is another movie that I watched on repeat as a small child, so it holds a very special place in my heart and a relatively high ranking on my musical list. It’s such a cute movie, and I still watch it fairly often. My family affectionately refers to this movie as “Patty with a Cake on Her Head” because of the very, um, elaborate hat that the main character wears in the opening scene.
Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore are without a doubt my two favorite actresses of all time, so this movie is practically perfect in every way (see what I did there?) Now that I think of it, maybe I just like women who play opposite of Dick Van Dyke. Anywho, it’s such a fun, fast-paced movie about the roaring twenties and Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore are truly at their best.
1950’s. Romeo and Juliet. Dance fighting. Need I say more? No, no I do not.
I’ve found that almost everyone has heard of this musical, and almost no one has actually watched that, which is such a shame! It’s one of the cutest movies of all time – hello, have you heard the trolley song? Judy Garland is adorable and this is by far my favorite movie she’s in (sorry Wizard of Oz.)
If you’ve ever wondered what Christian Bale would be like if he were a singing cowboy wannabe who sells newspapers and starts a mini-revolution, wonder no more. Newsies has gained a lot of traction in the past few years since being reimagined as a Broadway play, but I’ve been a fan of the movie for years and still prefer this version.
Another oldie, but a goodie. Annie Get Your Gun is such a fun musical with familiar and catchy songs like “There’s no Business like Showbusiness” and “Anything You Can Do.” I think the songs have surpassed the fame of the movie, but the movie is really worth watching.
Grease is one of the most popular movies of all time, so I had to include it on my list. It’s a fun musical, with some super catchy songs, but it’s not quite up to the level of the 50’s and 60’s musicals which I love (#sorrynotsorry.)
The King and I is truly a beautiful movie to watch. The costumes, sets, and dancing are all very well done. Of course, it also has all the hallmarks of a great Rogers and Hammerstein soundtrack with some of the most well known musical songs of all time. The cartoon is also cute, albeit a little weird.
I just had to include some newer musicals on this list, and The Greatest Showman gets a respectable ranking in my opinion. The plot of this movie was really interesting. I love anything based on a true story, and I thought they did a good job translating that into musical form without making it overly cheesy. Ok, so it may be a little cheesy, but in the best way.
Fun fact, I have seen this play more than any other play. Five times to be exact. It is such a fun play, and I highly encourage everyone to go see it if you ever get a chance. But in the meantime, you should watch the movie to hold you over. Almost every song is sung in part by the narrator or Joseph, so those two voices are extremely important and the movie has the best two singers I’ve heard in these roles. And did I mention I’ve seen the play five times? Also, I’ve listened to a few different broadway cast soundtracks and the movie is by far my favorite.
This is another fun recent musical. Like several of the more recent musicals, it was adapted from the Broadway musical, and it definitely has some Broadway elements to it. It’s a sort of a darker retelling of several classic fairy tales and ties them together in a really entertaining way.
I feel like I’ve kind of bunched up several newer musicals here at the end of my list, because I wanted them to make the list, but I couldn’t bring myself to let them outrank the musicals I grew up watching. Sorry about that. Anyways, La La Land is another of my favorite recent musicals. It’s super cute, has several catchy songs, and is definitely worth watching at least once.
So I’m going to cut the list off at 20 because I could literally go on for another 20 or 30 movies and not run out of musicals I’ve seen.
Did I leave out any important musicals? Let me know what your favorites are in the comments!
This post contains affiliate links. This just means I get a small commission if you decide to purchase anything after clicking through one of the links in this article. (Sidenote: Since many of these movies are older, a lot of them are super cheap on Amazon!)