From Broadway to the Big Screen: 15 Movie Musicals You Need to See
Sony’s remake of ‘Annie’ is the latest in a long line of hit Broadway musicals adapted into movies. To celebrate the film’s release, here’s a look back at a few modern, and classic, shows to make the transition from stage to screen.
West Side Story (1961)
This modernized take on ‘Romeo & Juliet’ re-imagined the warring Montague and Capulet families as rival street gangs of singing, dancing hoodlums. The film still holds the record for the most Academy Awards won by a musical.
My Fair Lady (1964)
Even though her singing voice was dubbed over, Audrey Hepburn made a big splash in this story of a low-class Cockney girl who learns how to be a lady.
The Sound of Music (1965)
Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer starred in this Rodgers & Hammerstein musical loosely based on the Trapp Family Singers. ‘The Sound of Music’ has gone down in history as one of the most successful films ever made, and now you’ll have “The Hills Are Alive” refrain stuck in your head.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
The Tony Award-winning musical became an Academy Award-winning film in 1971. tells the story of a Russian Jew, Tevye, who struggles with poverty and the need to marry off his five daughters.
In the wake of ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ John Travolta's star rose even higher, appearing opposite Olivia Newton-John in this movie about the rocky romance between a greaser punk and a cheerleader. ‘Greased Lightning’ and ‘Summer Nights’ are just a few of the film’s insanely catchy tunes.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ before it, this film proved that B-movie science fiction elements, comedy, and musicals are a match made in Hollywood heaven. Rick Moranis stars as Skidrow’s most loveable, downtrodden resident, Seymour, struggling to put an end to his talking, singing, man-eating plant.
Madonna's career took a dramatic turn when she starred in this musical about former Argentinian First Lady, Eva Perón. Creators Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber even reunited to write a new song specifically for this film version.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Technically, the stage version of ‘Hedwig’ didn't hit Broadway until well after this film adaptation. Regardless, musical fans owe it to themselves to check out this quirky, emotional look at an East German drag queen struggling to find success and acceptance in America.
This Best Picture winner almost singlehandedly revived the genre, thanks to a lavish, witty adaptation of the enduring stage musical and electrifying performances by Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and her costar, Renee Zellweger.
After a string of disappointing Broadway adaptations, ‘Dreamgirls’ turned things around with a spectacular translation of the play. Jennifer Hudson's star-making performance was rewarded with heaps of praise and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
1988's cult film, ‘Hairspray,’ inspired a 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn led to this memorable film. This charming musical focused on “pleasantly plump” teenager Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) as she struggled to become a TV star in 1960's-era Baltimore.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
In one of their more memorable -- and bloody -- pairings in recent years, director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp teamed up to adapt Stephen Sondheim and Tony Wheeler's award-winning musical. Despite his lack of classical training, Depp nailed the songs required to play the role of the morose, murderous barber.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
The insanely catchy tunes of Swedish pop group ABBA were the driving force behind this adaptation of the hit musical. Critics were divided, but audiences flocked to the film and its saga of a soon-to-be-wed girl struggling to find her real birth father. And it has a singing Meryl Streep, which is never a bad thing.
Les Miserables (2012)
This big-budget adaptation of the massively popular musical (itself based on the classic Victor Hugo novel) brought together some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway – the latter of which winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her turn as Fantine. The film was distinguished by its use of live-recorded songs rather than dubbed performances.