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Top 50 Musicals

Possibly the only genre where an exclamation mark in the title is definitely a good thing, we've been selecting the best of the movies where show-stopping, foot-tapping, high-kicking, shoulder-shimmying, bottom-wiggling musical numbers are the order the day...

  • Film4 Singin' In The Rain

    Singin' In The Rain (1952) Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly

    A Technicolor spectacular, an irresistible ode to Hollywood and starring Gene Kelly in one of the most iconic scenes in celluloid history, Singin' In The Rain is quite simply the mother of all musicals. The movie's inspired dance routines are all the more impressive given that the choreography was virtually improvised due to the pressures of the production schedule.

    Key Song: 'Singin' In The Rain'

  • Film4 West Side Story

    West Side Story (1961) Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

    Despite having possibly the wettest pair of star-crossed lovers at its core and least threatening tap-dancing gang members, West Side Story more than gets away with it - thanks to Stephen Sondheim's eminently witty lyrics ('Officer Krupke' saw ASBOs coming light-years ahead) and Jerome Robbins outstanding choreography.

    Key Song: 'America'

  • The Wizard Of Oz

    The Wizard Of Oz (1939) Victor Fleming

    Not only one of the finest musicals ever made, but one of the finest films of any type ever made. Dorothy's adventures in Oz are not only crammed with catchy, unforgettable numbers that stir the spirits and tickle the funny-bone, they also boast some of the most enduring characters in film and some of the most quotable dialogue.

    Key song: 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'

  • Film4 Cabaret

    Cabaret (1972) Bob Fosse

    A musical for people who generally can't bear musicals, Cabaret sidesteps the weirdness of normal people suddenly breaking into song by having all the songs occur in the Kit-Kat nightclub as part of the show - apart from a sinister Nazi sing-song by various healthy outdoors-y Hitler Youth-y types, which never fails to send a shiver down the spine.

    Key song: 'Mein Herr'

  • Film4 The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg

    The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (1964) Jacques Demy

    The film that introduced the world to an achingly beautiful 19-year-old Catherine Deneuve. It's a simple story - girl meets boy, boy gets drafted into the army, girl shacks up with rich bloke instead - but it's handled with charming sincerity and elevated by the gloriously vivid manner in which it's performed and shot. It also scores top marks for the fact that every single word is sung - even lines like "you smell of gasoline".

    Key Song: 'I Will Wait For You'

  • Film4

    The Sound Of Music (1965) Robert Wise

    However much it may be ridiculed - its status as a Christmas TV film is legendary - there's no denying that this is one of the best screen musicals ever made. As Maria, the lapsed nun who becomes governess to the von Trapp brood and weds their rather chilly papa before helping them outrun the Nazis, Julie Andrews exudes a vibrancy that's hard to resist. It's a film that delights and repels with the sureness of Marmite.

    Key Song: 'The Sound of Music'

  • Film4

    High Society (1956) Charles Walters

    A delightful romp through the troubled lives of America's super rich and ridiculous sprinkled with a handful of cracking tunes. But please don't ask us to choose between this and its less melodically-inclined model, The Philadelphia Story. We simply refuse.

    Key Song: 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

  • Oliver!

    Oliver! (1968) Carol Reed

    Ok, so the lead kid as Oliver is more reminiscent of Damien from the Omen than strictly necessary (those blond locks aren't fooling anyone), but the Artful Dodger and Fagin save the day with spirited performances that still stand up more than forty years later and Oliver Reed is disturbingly alluring as bad egg Bill Sykes. A triumph.

    Key song: 'Consider Yourself'

  • Film4 Guys and Dolls

    Guys And Dolls (1955) Joseph L. Mankiewicz

    Featuring not just Sinatra and Brando on top form, but the unforgettable mouthful, ''The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York.'' If ever there were a Broadway lyric more refined or poetic, we're yet to hear it. The plot - about Sinatra's efforts to get $1,000 to run his renowned crap game - plays second fiddle to the singing, hoofing and roll call of colourful characters, but with showstoppers this good, who cares?

    Key Song: 'Luck Be A Lady'

  • Film4

    The Jungle Book (1967) Wolfgang Reitherman

    Featuring the likes of George Sanders, Phil Harris and Sterling Holloway, The Jungle Book can still lay claim to one of the all-time great voice casts - and with songs this well-crafted, their characterful vocal stylings are all the more welcome. The Jungles Books xerograph animation and hand painted backdrops have a homemade charm all their own, a million miles from today's smooth CGI creations.

    Key Song: 'The Bare Necessities'

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