Top 5 Movie Musicals You Need to Watch


By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

Today, musicals aren’t as popular as they used to be, but who doesn’t love a good musical? There are catchy songs, and some even contain a lot of dancing. Many people don’t realize that not all musicals are singing and dancing 24/7, as some movies tell a story along with the lyrics of the songs. Even though it’s not the same a being in a theater, you can watch a musical right from the seat of your couch, which is a perfect alternative for right now! Here are my top 5 movie musicals that are a must-watch.

1. Mamma Mia

“Mamma Mia” is a classic, and if you’re looking for a lighthearted movie, here it is. This movie will make you smile, laugh, and even cry within the two hours. “Mamma Mia” is the perfect family movie, and you’ll be jamming out to the ABBA songs within seconds. The film came out in 2008, telling the story of Sophie Sheridan, played by Amanda Seyfried, and her mother, Donna, played by Meryl Streep. Donna is a hotel manager in the Greek Islands, about to host her daughters’ wedding with the help of her two older friends, Tanya, played by Christine Baranski, and Rosia, played by Julie Walters. As she plans Sophie’s wedding, Sophie is on the search for who her real father is. By reading Donna’s journal, she invites her three potential fathers, Sam Carmichael, played by Pierce Brosnan, Harry Bright, played by Colin Firth, and Bill Anderson, played by Stellan Skarsgård. The film is absolutely beautiful in so many ways, showcasing the scenery of Greece, and teaching the lesson that you create your own family; you’re not always born with them. If you really end up loving the movie, in 2018, the sequel, “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again,” was released, and it follows the journey of Donna in 1979 and how she originally meets Harry, Sam, and Bill.

2. Les Misérables

The musical “Les Misérables” came out in 2012 based on Victor Hugo’s novel, which takes place after the historical French Revolution in the early 19th century. It’s definitely more serious than “Mamma Mia,” but if you liked “Rent” or “West Side Story,” it has a similar type of aesthetic. After being imprisoned for 19 years in post-revolution France, the protagonist Jean Valjean is released on parole by Officer Javert. Valjean breaks parole, but after receiving abundant generosity from a French bishop, who played the original stage-Jean Valjean in London and then Broadway, decides he wants to turn his life around and become a good, holy man. He takes on the alias Monsieur Madeleine and becomes the mayor of a small French town. After some years, he fixes a wrong he made by adopting a young woman’s daughter from a crooked family and becomes her father. Years later, he and his daughter, Cosette, are philanthropists and are still on the run from Javert, who hasn’t stopped looking for him since he broke parole. Cosette catches the eye of a young college student, Marius. The movie follows the course that the revolt takes and the other busy plotlines, covering many characters, stories, and great, award-winning singing. In fact, all of the singing was done live while acting, while most musical movies pre-record the songs before filming. The decision resulted in realistic acting and songs full of emotion that bounced off the adrenaline of the other actors’ energies. It’s also a very accurate rendition of the stage production, with very few minor changes.

3. Rock of Ages

When “Rock of Ages” came out, it got really bad reviews, and a lot of people just didn’t like this movie. Personally, even though it isn’t the best movie, I really liked it due to the music. If you like 80-90s music, then it’s definitely for you. Not to mention Tom Cruise is one of the main characters, and who doesn’t like to watch Tom Cruise? The story is about a small-town girl from the midwest, Sherrie Christian, played by Julianne Hough, who comes to LA to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. She meets a city boy, Drew Boley, played by Diego Boneta, who is also trying to pursue his Hollywood dreams. As they fall in love, they deal with a lot of problems and misunderstandings, one of the problems involving rock god, Stacee Jaxx, who’s played by Tom Cruise. It’s a PG-13 movie, but I’d still advise that if you have younger siblings, to not watch it with them.  I really did love this movie a lot: it gave out a lot of grunge and grit vibes. Growing up with a father that’s obsessed with all types of 80’s music made watching it so much fun.

4. The Bodyguard

This older film is about a famous singer, Rachel Marron, played by Whitney Houston, who has a stalker that has sent out disturbing threats. Her managers hire a bodyguard, former secret service agent, Frank Farmer, played by Kevin Costner. The more time that they spend together, the closer they end up being. This classic is one of the most iconic films in the ’90s and still, will forever be a staple movie. It features a majority of Houston’s songs, including “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing,” and “I’m Every Woman.” I absolutely love this movie; the soundtrack is amazing, the chemistry seems so real, and overall I could watch it over and over again and never get bored.

5. A Star is Born

Musician Jackson Maine, played by Bradley Cooper, discovers a struggling artist, Ally, played by Lady Gaga. The famous Jackson Maine ends up falling in love with Ally and helps her career take off. As she becomes a prominent figure in the industry, it highlights the personal problems that she has to deal with on and off stage. As the movie continues, you watch both Ally and Jackson try to make their failing relationship work, while Jackson is trying to fight off problems of his own. Many people consider this movie to be really slow, but I genuinely loved it because it touched upon so many touchy subjects, one of them being mental health. It really advocated on the point that anyone can have mental health issues, and everyone deals with their own demons. It shows a realistic standard of how mental health affects a person and the people around them.

There are so many other iconic movie musicals that are a must-watch, such as “Rent” “West Side Story.” “Grease”, “Hamilton”, “La La Land”, etc. All of these movies should be watched at least once in your lifetime. Plus, since everyone is home quarantined, I’m sure you’ll have more than enough time to watch all five.