Welcome to Broadway- 5 Best Film Musicals
There’s something about musicals that we can’t quite put our finger on, but whatever it is makes us love them. We don’t know why. If somebody in the real world were to suddenly break into song, we would call the police. Yet, for some reason, we’re able to suspend our disbelief for 3-5 acts and actually enjoy these obnoxious ballads. Live theater is one of the world’s oldest art forms and it’s also one of the most magical. We will never turn down tickets to see a Broadway musical, though we probably can’t afford them ourselves. Luckily, many musicals have inspired movies, which are much more in tune with the majority of our finances. While these films lack the “anything can happen” feel of live theater, they’re still just as catchy, endearing and magical. This is especially true when the subject matter has something to say, which many musicals do. There have been a wide-variety of musicals put to film, but we want to focus on the 5 best ones. No, Cats has not nor ever will be put on this list. Welcome to Broadway, kid. Here’s our take on the 5 Best Musicals on Film.
5) Les Miserables- 2012
Les Miserables is, without question, one of the greatest musicals ever written. People lose their minds over this show and nobody is able to hold back tears during I Dreamed a Dream. Try it. Listen to the song and try not to cry. We’ll wait.
Okay, then. Where were we? Les Miserables tells the story of a criminal named Jean Valjean (coolest name ever). After being a prisoner for 19 years, Valjean is finally freed by Javert, the charging officer of the prison. Once freed, he immediately breaks the law again. He also reinvents himself as a rich man, a mayor in fact. But Javert knows the truth and he is determined to bring Valjean to justice. As if Valjean didn’t have enough problems, he becomes the guardian of Cosette after the death of her mother. It’s a big story that has big musical numbers and the film version of this story does not disappoint. Hugh Jackman, shedding his Wolverine-claws, portrays Jean Valjean and he brings with him as much passion as any Broadway star. He is joined by Russel Crowe as Javert and Anne Hathaway as the mother and singer of the best song in the whole show. As far as film adaptations go, Les Miserables is the one that will make you dream a dream of seeing the live version.
Purchase now on Amazon for $9.99.
4) Phantom of the Opera- 2004
This was the film that made us fall in love with Emmy Rossum. Phantom of the Opera has been one of the most highly-acclaimed musicals since its creation in 1986. It tells the story of Christine, a singer looking to break into the world of opera. She is guided by a mysterious Phantom who has taught her everything he knows about music, but nothing about love. Raoul is the person who teaches Christine about love, but could he ever love her as much as The Phantom does? Unrequited love stories are the best kinds of love stories, and Phantom of the Opera is probably the best of the best. The musical is a masterpiece and the film version, directed by Joel Schumacher, more than does it justice. Emmy Rossum stars as Christine, opposite Patrick Wilson as Raoul and Gerard Butler as the mysterious Phantom. It’s an ensemble cast that takes the material to a whole different level. You’ll find yourself humming the songs as soon as the credits roll and you put the DVD away.
Purchase now on Amazon for $6.99.
3) Chicago- 2002
Come on babe, why don’t we paint the town. And all that jazzzzz. Chicago is, for our money, one of the coolest musicals on the planet. Every guy wants to be like Billy Flynn and every girl wants to be Roxie. Or Velma. Or both. But nobody wants to be their husbands. Chicago is, at its core, about the empowerment of women. Both Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie (Renee Zellweger) have murdered their husbands. But, in their own words, the fellas “had it comin’.” Now, both women are in jail but they have become media darlings, thanks to the fantastic marketing skills of their mutual lawyer, Billy Flynn. While Velma and Roxie may be murderers, they are also celebrities and they will stop at nothing to outdo each other while winning over the court of public opinion. The performances from Zeta-Jones, Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reily and more are over the top, hilarious and absolutely perfect. Chicago is a celebration of women, of celebrity and of doing whatever it takes to be the best.
Watch now on Amazon Prime.
2) Rent- 2005
The story behind Rent is almost more interesting than the actual narrative of the musical. The narrative, though, is extremely interesting, real, personal and important. Focusing on the lives of Mark, Rodger, Mimi, Angel, Collins, and more, Rent tells the story of young people navigating through a world of poverty, AIDS, discrimination and death in 1980’s New York. These characters real. They could be any of us. They are fallible and selfish at times. These characters fight with each other and fight with themselves but, through it all, love remains. Rent is an inspiring story that shows how much we all need love, even when we fight so hard against it.
Purchase now on Amazon for $16.49.
1) The Greatest Showman- 2017
The Greatest Showman should not be looked at as a biopic about PT Barnum. In real life, by all accounts, Barnum was less of a ‘humbug’ and more of a ‘scumbag.’ The real Barnum exploited many of his performers for his own financial gain and though he did create a lot of enjoyment for audiences, he did so at the expense of actual human being. The ‘real’ PT Barnum was a jerk. The PT Barnum played by Hugh Jackman, however, is inspiring. The whole show is inspiring, actually. The Greatest Showman is the only film on our list that wasn’t a Broadway musical first, but we have to assume it won’t be long before it takes its place among its contemporaries on a Broadway stage. The plot of the film tells a condensed version of PT Barnum’s rags to riches story as he created the world’s first circus. The plot is less essential than the fact that watching this movie just makes you feel good! It has catchy songs, intriguing characters and a hell of a lot of heart. We wish we could say the same about Barnum’s actual life, but the Hugh Jackman version is, truly the Greatest Showman.
Watch now on Amazon Prime.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.