/Response: Your Favorite Movie Musicals Of All Time

(Welcome to /Responses, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)

Earlier this week, the /Film team celebrated the arrival of Beauty and the Beast by writing about our all-time favorite movie musicals. We then opened the floor to our readers: what is your favorite movie musical? And you let us know!

We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week's question: which book (novel or non-fiction) do you want to see adapted into a movie? Who would star in it and who would direct it? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com!

All That Jazz

It's about a choreographer who is as egotistic as they come, but that's because...he's simply the best. He is and he knows it, and Roy Scheider personifies this in every single damn frame. I grew up knowing Scheider as the noble Chief Brody from Jaws and he couldn't be further from that characterization here. Pills, booze, women... Scheider's Joe Gideon is a who guy lives in excess and he pushes his passion for his art to a point where he has to decide between the two loves of his life – his family or his craft? It's the kind of movie where after it ends (in the most jaw dropping smash cut I've seen), I'm still breathing heavily. This all might sound like hyperbole, but the film brings that out of me. It's full of numerous fun, catchy and eye-popping sequences but nothing, and I mean nothing, no really – nothing – beats the last hallucinatory musical scene with Ben Vereen. Only a musical genius like Fosse could pull it off. -Andrew DiDonato

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

When I think of musicals, I instantly think of the undeniably charming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It's an enjoyable genre mash-up of musical and adventure that makes it stand apart from other films in its genre. The first half of the film appears to be a standard musical about a family building a beautiful motorcar out of a pile of scrap. But soon after the film's intermission, it turns into an adventure about a magical flying car. There's a delightful blend of co-writer Roald Dahl's whimsical fun and original novelist Ian Fleming's touch of adventure and quirky gadgets. The title song is easily one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard with its mix of vocals and unusual car noises. The "Toot Sweet" and "Me Ol' Bambo" song and dance numbers are wonderfully choreographed and creatively use props of candy and bamboo poles to enhance the humor and fun. When the credits roll, you will believe a car can fly and you won't get "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" out of your head for a long time. -Ethan Burch

Dancer in the Dark

Musicals are one of the biggest hurdles that I have when it comes to movies. I don't really know why. Maybe it's the suspension of disbelief, because it's hard to believe that people just start to sing during a conversation for no apparent reason. But there is the rare exception where I can overcome this hurdle. That movie is Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark. Maybe it's the subject matter. Maybe it's the style of music. Maybe it's what singing and dancing means for the main charater. I'm really not sure, but I know that this movie transcends what musicals usually are. It would probably be unfair to say that it is by far the best musical out there, because it is its own thing and unlike any other. But for me, it is just that: the best musical. By far. The stand out song is obviously "I've Seen It All" which is just phenomenal. -Stefan Lensa


Though not a full-blown movie musical, Enchanted is one of Disney's best films of the 21st century and contains one of the company's best musical scenes. As Giselle (Amy Adams) bumbles around New York City on the arm of Robert (Patrick Dempsey), he continuously questions her logic as she leans into the tropes of many of Disney's early princess incarnations. Early on, Giselle's aloof nature is met with disdain as New Yorkers continually disregard her fairly tale attitude, but when she breaks into song in Central Park, the park's other denizens join in with her as she explains to Robert the ways in which he should demonstrate his love. "That's How You Know" is the perfect encapsulation of how the film recognizes how silly fairy tales are, but chooses to ignore the ridiculousness, because who cares? They're fun and they make us happy. -Hawkins DuBois

Moulin Rouge

It's got to be Moulin Rouge. I love musicals and it's hard to pass up on the classics of the '40s and '50s, but Moulin Rouge really uses the medium of film best. Baz Luhrmann makes the camera part of the musical numbers. You aren't just in a theater watching a musical on stage, you are on the stage!  Its use of old musical songs as well as popular music mash-ups modernized musicals and brought them to a whole new generation. Luhrmann uses the filmmaking tool box to create an abstract mixed media collage that is both overwhelming but also impossible to look away from. At the end of the day there's really nothing quite like it and therefore the show must certainly go on. -Todd Ruhnau

Singin in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

Few musicals are as engaging and story-driven as Singin' in the Rain. Too many musicals have a very average plot connecting a string of songs and musical set pieces. Singin' in the Rain not only manages to tell a great story, but it does so with several memorable musical set pieces. While the story is fiction, it manages to playfully depict what the film industry really went through when this crazy invention called "talking pictures" rocked Hollywood like an bomb  If all great movies require a great bad-guy, then no movie Musical can match the wonderfully scheming bad-guy character of Lina Lamont, played to perfection by the late Jean Hagan. Lina is a diva among divas, scheming at all times and full of self blinding bravado. Add in the uber-talented Donald O'Connor (who else could keep up with the brilliant Gene Kelly?) and a high-spirited Debbie Reynolds, and you have a pitch perfect cast. -Matthew Walsh

West Side Story

West Side Story is a film that functioned for me on two levels. When I was a kid, I loved it for its flamboyant dance numbers, catchy songs, and the spectacular production design with its vivid color palette which seems to jump out at you right from that first shot of Riff snapping with the Jets. But as I grew up, I began to see more and more of what the film really was – a tragedy a la Romeo and Juliet, with heavy themes of race, politics, and the so-called "honor of the street." It's a film I can watch over and over again and still get hit by every beat, from comic to tragic, from the instrumental-driven "Prologue" straight to the final rendition of "Tonight." It is timeless. -Samuel Morales

While I'm tempted to lean on something with more genre movie flare, like Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street or Frank Oz's Little Shop of Horrors, let alone any number of animated Disney musicals, I still have to go with West Side Story. The film won 10 Oscars for good reason, as this a terrific combination of choreography, music, acting and locations. What really sticks out though, aside from the iconic songs and splendid dance numbers, is the use of color. Whether seeing this film on the big screen or watching it at home on its recently remastered Blu-ray, there is a great level of vibrancy that really helps to place emphasis on how grand the production values are. While we hear the footsteps tapping against the concrete and watch these performances take shape, our eyes are always engaged just as well as our ears because of the heavy use of primary colors and how that sings just as loudly as the music played on the soundtrack. -Aaron Neuwirth


I know what you're thinking: Whiplash isn't a musical. But a musical is a film in which songs play an instrumental part in forwarding a narrative and no movie does this in a more creative and thought-provoking way than Damien Chazelle's first film. You feel the struggle, the passion, and the forceful nature in the way drummer Andrew Neiman plays. The way that music is portrayed in this film is unlike any other, with the editing during the musical sequences evoking Neiman's strong sense of determination. If the goal of a musical is to evoke emotion and story beats through song, Whiplash is no exception. Though musicals often express themselves through the instrument of vocals, this film expresses itself through Teller's percussion, managing to display a wide range of emotions, sometimes fueled with rage and aggression, and other times loneliness and confusion. -Rodrigo Mariano

White Christmas

My favorite musical is also my third favorite film of all time: White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. As a former dancer, I find the dance sequences in this musical to be some of the best sequences I have ever seen on screen. My favorite of the lot is "Choreography" – the tap dancing is on a level that I've never witnessed on screen and it's incredible how fast Vera-Ellen can tap her foot. Her overall dance style is top-notch. Additional dance numbers that are impress me include the Minstrel number, "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing," and "Abraham." -Brianne Chandler

The Wizard of Oz

The best movie musicals are the ones that wouldn't be nearly as effective or as memorable without the music. I think one of the best examples of this is The Wizard of Oz. Sure, it was a book before it was a movie, and it's been adapted without music dozens of times before (to varying degrees of success), but the songs in the MGM film are just as important, if not more important, to the overall experience of watching the film as the story itself. It's almost impossible to imagine the film without its iconic music. Would we find the journey to the Emerald City as fun without "We're Off to See the Wizard," for instance? Would we connect to Dorothy as a protagonist as much without "Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" I feel like the film is sometimes overlooked as a musical because of its more fantastical qualities, I think it's hard to argue against its success as a musical and the significance of its music, especially in terms of the film's place in pop culture and our collective consciousness today. -Angelo Thomas