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Readers’ Poll: 5 Best Movie Musicals

See where cult classics and critical darlings stack up against one another

Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta

Paramount/Everett Collection

One of film's biggest stories this year is the sweet, acclaimed and heavily Oscar-nominated La La Land. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film pays homage to classic musical films of Hollywood's yesteryear, a movie genre that has continuously evolved over the decades to either adapt Broadway hits or create new stories of their own. So we asked our readers to vote for their favorite movie musical. Here are the results.

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5

‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952)

Starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in their most iconic roles, Singin' in the Rain took a lighthearted look at the transition from silent films to "talkies" and the Hollywood players who are part of it. It's the type of whimsical, classic musical comedy La La Land pays homage to. The film was later adapted into a stage show in 1985. 

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4

‘Grease’ (1978)

Grease set a precedent, and it still ranks as the highest-grossing musical film to date. With John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John leading the film in career-making roles as star-crossed high school lovers, the Fifties-set film is a feat of perfect casting, pop-leaning songs and uproarious humor that has kept it popular through multiple generations. Prior to the film version, it was a stage musical that opened on Broadway in 1972 and was recently revived for a live TV event, and included Vanessa Hudgens, Carly Rae Jepsen and Boyz II Men in pivotal roles.

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3

‘West Side Story’ (1961)

Bringing Romeo and Juliet to Manhattan's Upper West Side, West Side Story follows the tensions between the Jets, a white gang, and the Sharks, who are Puerto Rican, and the couple who found love (and a tragic end) in the middle of it all. Starring Natalie Wood, it remains one of the most acclaimed film adaptations of a stage musical (thanks to the powerhouse team of Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents) and swept up awards at the Oscars, winning 10 of its 11 nominations.

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2

‘Blues Brothers’ (1980)

Based off the popular Saturday Night Live sketch and band of the same name, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi took their Blues Brothers act to the big screen, spawning a cult classic. In the film, "Joliet" Jake Blues (Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Akroyd) set out to save the orphanage they were raised in after Jake is paroled from prison. To raise the money, they host a benefit concert and, along the way, receive help from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles – who all sing in the film as well. 

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1

‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ (1975)

No film – musical, or otherwise – has spawned the cult following Rocky Horror Picture Show has since its release. Fans continue to dress up and attend packed, interactive screenings across the world, singing along to the rock-leaning tunes attached to the deliciously weird sci-fi horror tale. In the film, vanilla couple Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) have a vehicle malfunction on a rainy night. When they happen upon the home of sweet transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry, at his finest), their night, and their lives, begin to go awry. 

In This Article: Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show

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