The Movie Musicals That Made Me

As a child, I grew up watching tons of movies. It was because of movies, I was introduced to musicals. Musicals turned movies get some flack in the theatre world.

However, I think they are really important! Movie musicals give everyone access to famous Broadway musicals. Without these movie musicals, I might not have ever wanted to pursue my career in theatre. Without further ado, here are my top five movie musicals that made me. In order from favorite to absolute most favorite.

5. Annie (1982)

Annie was one of those movies I watched constantly as a child. I had a handful of VHS tapes on rotation in my childhood and Annie was the most used. As soon as the VHS tape ended, I’d hit rewind and watch the film all over again. 

Now, Annie is not the most innovative musical around. However, Annie is a fabulous show and film for people of all ages; plus, “Hard Knock Life” has been my anthem for as long as I can remember, and I know many people that can agree with me!

 

4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Sweeney Todd is a pretty extraordinary musical. I was obsessed with this musical in middle school and even spray-painted a piece of my hair white for the film’s opening! Now, it was composed and by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. Since those two heavy hitters created it, it’s no surprise that the musical won a Tony award in 1979.

In 2007, Tim Burton brought his twist to Sweeney Todd (although that wasn’t very hard to do) with his movie version. It starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. This movie has that unique Tim Burton aesthetic. I don’t know how Tim Burton and Johnny Depp could make a murderous barber even more creepy, but they did, and I loved it.

 

3. Grease (1978)

I can probably quote the entire movie of Grease in my sleep. The movie version of Grease was another movie I watched incessantly as a child. So, you can imagine my disappointment when my high school experience was nothing like Sandy’s. While Grease started as a musical in 1971, it was adapted into a triumphant movie in 1978 that starred the heartthrob, John Travolta, and the lovely Olivia Newton-John. This is one of the rare occurrences where I love all of the songs in this musical. However, I will never understand what they are saying is “We Go Together.”

2. Les Misérables (2012)

Now, Les Mis, the movie musical, has its ups and downs. But I thought it was visually spectacular! I loved seeing this film on the big screens and feeling like I was there. The acting was phenomenal, the costumes were gorgeous, and the set was perfection. However, the signing was not as great as the live performance that I’ve seen. The music was much more toned down in the film than its live performance counterpart. That being said, I still recommend this film to everyone!

 

1. Chicago (2002)

Chicago is the movie musical that stole my heart and made me want to be a part of theatre for the rest of my life. I was only 11 years old when I first watched Chicago, but I knew how much of a masterpiece this film is. For one, I was obsessed with Roxie Hart. I even named my Build-A-Bear Roxie Hart. One of the first monologues that I ever memorized was Velma’s monologue in Cell Block Tango. Fourteen years later, and I am still obsessed with this brilliant musical turned movie. 

Marina Wolfson

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