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Last update: July 13, 2013

THE BAND WAGON - directed by Vincent Minnelli / 1953

This is my all time favorite musical movie. I saw it several times and it seems I can't get enough of it. I'm in heaven when Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse are "Dancing in the Dark", it's the most magic moment of cinema I ever saw and what can I say of the fabulous "The Girl Hunt Ballet"? It's simply perfect! The film is a succession of showstoppers that made my heart sing.

 

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise / 1991

This is the best-animated musical I ever saw. For me it's Disney best production and it's an unforgettable film. The characters are delicious, the songs are beautiful and the story truly magic. It's a fairy tale came true and "Be Our Guest" is one of the best musical numbers I ever saw in film.

 

CABARET - directed by Bob Fosse / 1972

For me this is Bob Fosse’s best work as a movie director and it’s one of those films that gets better and better with age. As Sally Bowles, Liza Minnelli is pure perfection and this role made her a star. At her side, recreating his Broadway role, Joel Grey is wonderful as Emcee and Michael York as Cliff gives his best performance ever. The musical numbers, a great score by Kander & Ebb, couldn’t be better and I love the decadent and filthy atmosphere of the Kit Katt Club.

 

CHICAGO - directed by Rob Marshall / 2002

The score of this musical by John Kander & Fred Ebb is my all time favorite one. I simply love it! The recent Broadway revival is the best musical I saw live on stage, so it comes as no surprise that I really enjoyed this movie adaptation directed by Rob Marshall. The cast surprised me on the best possible way and the musical numbers are terrific, specially “Cell Block Tango” and “Roxie”. The best musical of this century, until now.

 

GUYS AND DOLLS - directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz / 1955

Although many people didn't like the movie adaptation of this musical I love it. The score is one of the best, the choreography by Michael Kidd is wonderful, the cast a joy to watch and the studio sets are terrific. My favorite number is when Jean Simmons sings "If I Were a Bell", she's a perfect Sarah Brown.

 

GYPSY - directed by Emile Ardolino / 1993

Bette Midler gives all of her as Mama Rose, one of the strongest female characters in the history of the musical. The score by Jule Styne & Stephen Sondheim is one of the best ever written for the stage. Put this two together, add a talented cast and a director at the top of his form, and the result is… well, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”!

 

HELLO, DOLLY! - directed by Gene Kelly / 1969

I first saw this movie on the day of my 11th birthday (back in 1975). By the time the cast was doing "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" I was already telling my mama that I wanted to see it again. Which I did several times. It's one of those films that I never get tired of seeing. For me Streisand, although too young for the part, is a delightful Dolly and the dance numbers are amazing. For more information about this movie visit the Jerry Herman site.

 

LOVE ME TONIGHT - directed by Rouben Mamoulian / 1932

A great director, Rouben Mamoulian, an irresistible movie pair, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, and a delightful score by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart. Put all this together and the result is one of the best musical comedies in the history of the cinema. This story of a tailor who falls in love with a princess is simply delicious and has one of the most cinematographic musical numbers ever made – the way the song “Isn’t It Romantic” travels from Chevalier to MacDonald. A true classic!.

 

MAME - directed by Gene Saks / 1974

Another bigger than life female character turned into a musical queen by Jerry Herman. The Broadway show had Angela Lansbury in the leading role, but for the movie they choose Lucille Ball and, although many people hated her in the role, I think she’s marvelous and funny. Robert Preston is great as her love interest and, recreating her roles from the Broadway production, Beatrice Arthur and Jane Connell are irreplaceable. An uplifting musical that never fails to make me laugh and cry! 

 

MY SISTER EILEEN - directed by Richard Quine / 1955

The other “Wonderful Town” musical. With a score by Jule Styne & Leo Robin, choreography by Bob Fosse and a screenplay by Blake Edwards & Richar Quine, this is one of the funniest musicals ever made to the screen. The cast of Betty Garrett, Janet Leigh, Bob Fosse, Jack Lemmon and Tommy Rall couldn’t be better and they all give their best. One of the best moments is the irresistible “Give Me a Band and My Baby” and I love the musical chaos of the contagious “Conga”.

 

THE NIGTHMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS - directed by Henry Selick / 1993

A work of genius, this animated musical is a masterpiece of the genre. With a haunting score by Danny Elfman and with a delirious imagination by Tim Burton and Selick, this is a true musical in spirit, altough it doesn't look like any other musical I saw. One thing is true, this amazing movie is an unforgettable experience.

 

ON THE TOWN - directed by Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly / 1949

This tale of three sailors meeting three girls in New York it's one of the most enjoyable MGM musicals. A perfect cast brings life to the film and with the help of Donen & Kelly's direction/choreography the result is highly entertaining. The title number always made me want to join the cast, but the most unforgettable moment it's called "Prehistoric Man", with Ann Miller doing her best tap dance number ever.

 

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN - directed by Herbert Ross / 1982

Produced in the 80s, this is probably the best musical to be made after the genre's golden age. It's a dark musical, but it has a surreal atmosphere and a magic touch. The casting of Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin is a match made in heaven; they're brilliant miming and dancing through the film. Every time I saw it I feel the urge to applaud its dance numbers.

 

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS - directed by Stanley Donen / 1954

One of the most enjoyable and exciting musicals produced by MGM. The plot, inspired by the legendary “Rape of the Sabine Women”, works perfectly in the context of the musical and the casting of Jane Powell and Howard Keel was a match made in heaven. Of course this movie will always be remembered for the fantastic “Barn Dance” number, with riveting choreography by Michael Kidd; this is one of the best musical numbers ever put on screen.

 

SILK STOCKINGS - directed by Rouben Mamoulian / 1957

Another MGM movie starring Fred Astaire and the fabulous Cyd Charisse. This musical remake of "Ninotchka" is another highly entertaining musical. The score was by Cole Porter, the dance numbers were absolutely fabulous and the supporting cast a joy to watch. Besides Charisse, there was another great dame in this film, Janis Paige. The best numbers are "Stereophonic Sound" and "The Red Blues".

 

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - directed by Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly / 1952

This is probably the best screenplay ever wrote for a musical film. Once again the team of Donnen & Kelly made history. They turn this wonderful script into a terrific funny film with several classic moments. I always wanted to sing in the rain like Kelly did, but my favorite number it's the wonderful "Broadway Melody Ballet", especially when Cyd Charisse appears for the first time. A true classic.

 

THE SOUND OF MUSIC - directed by Robert Wise / 1965

I don’t remember how many times I saw this movie, but every time I see it I always cry at the same scenes: the breathtaking opening number, the first dinner of Maria at the Von Trapp house, the emotional moment the Captain sings for the first time with his sons and the moment Maria returns to the Von Trapp family. This isn’t perfect, I always thought Maria becomes too serious after the marriage, but thanks to the terrific Julie Andrews and director Robert Wise it’s truly unforgettable. 

 

STRICTLY BALLROOM - directed by Baz Luhrman / 1992

The only not American movie in my top list, this Australian musical comedy is a fascinating kitsch party. Directed with lots of imagination and good humor, this is an unique film that does for ballroom dancing what FAME did for modern dance. After the film ends, I left the theatre with a smile on my lips and rhythm on my feet. This is an exciting movie experience that I'll never forget.

 

VICTOR VICTORIA - directed by Blake Edwards / 1982

Another great and funny script, this film proved that musicals could still be successful. Julie Andrews gave us her best performance, at her side Robert Preston was bigger than life and Lesley Ann Warren stole all the scenes where she appeared. The music by Henry Mancini is delightful and Blake Edwards directed it with perfect timing. In the whole this is a terrific musical comedy.

 

THE WIZARD OF OZ - directed by Victor Fleming / 1939

I think this is everyone's favorite musical fantasy. When I talk about movie magic this is one of the titles that came to mind. Judy Garland was unforgettable and her rendition of "Over the Rainbow" is the stuff legends are made off. To help through the fabulous world of Oz she meets a group of wonderful characters. This is so enchanting that I never want to leave Oz.


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